Help! T-Shirt

Help! T-Shirt

re: group Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2003


For the past several years, the March of Dimes has been focusing on the problem of premature birth. To support that mission, we were asked to create communications to spotlight the plight of premature babies, and to encourage Ann Arbor employers and employees to join in the annual Walk America campaign.

Most people simply don’t know about the hurdles premature babies face, such as blindness, retardation, and breathing problems. Some are born so small—sometimes less than a pound—that even preemie diapers and clothes are huge on them. Their shirts and diapers must be made by companies specializing in such clothing. We thought that showing how tiny these babies really are would bring the message home with impact.

Instead of a typical poster, we had the word “Help” silk screened on the front of these handmade T-shirts, and pinned a tag to each carrying a promotional message for the walk with a blue or pink ribbon. The T-shirts were made for us by a seamstress who had started her company a few years earlier when she could not find clothing to fit her own premature baby. She graciously sold these shirts to us at cost as her way of supporting the March of Dimes.

This promotional effort was very effective in creating awareness. Over 1,000 T-shirts were distributed to businesses in the Ann Arbor area. One large bank requested that all its branches statewide receive T-shirts to promote the walk. More than 4,000 walkers attended the event and over $350,000 was raised in the 2004 Ann Arbor area Walk America campaign—an increase of 10 percent over the previous year. Other March of Dimes regional offices have asked us to provide them with T-shirts for the 2005 walk.

This was a pro bono project. We charged only for printing and materials: $3,500 for 1,000 T-shirts and tags.

Juror Notes

You are really able to feel the helplessness of a premature baby, all conveyed by the tiny size of the t-shirt.

Collections: AIGA 365: 25 (2004)
Discipline: Promotional design and advertising
Format: Promotion, Artifact


Design firm
re: group Inc.
Creative director
Rhonda Huie
Art director
Kellie Bambach
Kellie Bambach
Production director
Susan Matthews
Rhonda Huie
Project manager
Liz Conlin
Stanley Thomas
Printing method
Silkscreen and offset
Flora Webber
Helvetica Bold
March of Dimes of Southeastern Michigan