T-shirt Errors: Urban Outfitters' Proofing Problem Reinforced Its Image

From simple grammar errors to unwitting gang symbols to urging people to repeatedly commit violent crimes, it’s alarming how many mistakes are printed on T-shirts.

The errors run the gamut from silly to downright offensive, but they’re all damaging in some way -- and they all could have been avoided.

We previously looked why the best team in baseball isn't the best team in spelling. Now we're onto ...

Urban decay


Urban Outfitters had to pull its "Vanguard Pitchfork” T-shirt from its shelves in July because the logo imprinted on it too closely resembled the symbol of the Gangster Disciples, a violent Chicago street gang. (It was priced at $32, which might be a bad luck price. The NFL recently had to yank a $32 Carolina Panthers T-shirt emblazoned with the wrong Carolina.)

Urban Outfitters declared it an unwitting mistake. But skepticism arose about the honesty of the denial from a company with a history of provocation that borders on offensiveness. So what went wrong here? From Urban Outfitters’ point of view, probably not much. The fallout was the cost of making shirts the company ultimately couldn’t sell plus the scorn of people who aren’t the 18- to 24-year-olds Urban Outfitters covets -- while the apparel maker reinforced its provocative image. This "mistake” might have been deliberate.

If it actually was a mistake, it was that Urban Outfitters proofing system failed at a task as simple as a Google search, as pointed out by promomarketing.com’s Elise Hacking Carr.
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