Tips for a Successful Product
For a run of garments to be a successful tool – be it for making money, promoting a cause, or advertising a business – people have to want to wear them. We’ll help you avoid common mistakes that keep people from sporting your product in public so that you can optimize your investment.
- The standard viewing distance for a shirt is 5’ to 10’. Very few people are ever going to look at the art any closer than that, so design accordingly.
- T-shirts with large, solid prints can wear uncomfortably. When a large portion of the fabric is covered with ink, it won’t flex or stretch with the rest of the shirt and can heat up in sunlight on hot days making it uncomfortable.
- Half-tones are useful for printing gradients, but not as substitutions for spot colors. It usually doesn’t work as well to use a halftone to cut out the cost of an additional spot color. Use halftones for what they were intended.
- Clean, illustration-style, line art prints best.
- Printing on shirts is not the same as printing on paper. Just because a design looks good when printed on a paper printer does not mean that it will translate effectively to a screenprinted item. A computer printer can create thousands of colors. In screenprinting we can only work with maybe 10-12 at the most, and designs that require that many colors are rare.
- Keep it simple. Simple designs tend to work best.
- If you need to use complex art, putting it on light garments is best.
- Use contrasting colors to make your design pop out on the garment. If you want the art on your shirt to be very noticeable, then use dark ink on light colored shirts and light ink on dark colored shirts.
- Keep art gender, age, and situation appropriate. Make sure your design is something that people will be comfortable wearing around. If you hope to give out or sell a shirt to members of every demographic, make sure that they will all feel comfortable wearing a shirt with your design on it
- Make it clear in the design what the shirt is for. A custom shirt is a chance for effective publicity, so make your garments a useful tool by including important information.
- Be creative with art placement. Your design doesn’t have to be centered on the front and back of the shirt, use the space.
Tips for Getting Your Order on Time
We want nothing more than for each of our customers to receive their order on time, but for that to happen we rely heavily on customer cooperation. We can’t start printing a project until we’ve confirmed all of the details with you, so proofs and invoices must be approved as early as possible. We ask for two weeks to complete most orders.
- Provide your art on time. We can’t print shirts until we know what to print on them. A delay in getting your art to us delays us being able to start on it.
- Approve proofs on time. Your art needs to be completely finished and approved before we can start our setup process, so send proof changes and approvals as early as possible.
- Choose shirt sizes on time. It takes time for your shirts to ship to our facility and we can’t order them until we know exactly how many of each color and size you want.
- Approve your invoice on time. Your invoice approval effectively ends the garment selection process and lets us know that we can officially order your shirts from our vendors for printing.
- Have a plan from the beginning and know what you want.
- Be flexible. Our designers know how to work with the medium, so please be willing to take their advice.
- Be specific when describing proof changes. Vague instructions could lead to more proofs being required, which costs you time and money. So when you make changes, please explain very carefully and specifically exactly what you want changed.
- Avoid tiny or frivolous changes. Yes, we can move the image one eighth of an inch toward the top of the shirt and email you another proof, but it won’t appear any different on the finished product. Screenprinting is an imperfect process and such small changes in print location aren’t even possible to guarantee when your design goes to press.
- Try to meet deadlines. We establish a schedule that is dependent on your participation. We can only ship your order on time if we can start printing it on time. We can only start printing on time if we have proofs and invoices approved on time.
- If you’re pressed for time, ask us about rush orders. If our schedule allows, we’ll even rush your order for free.
Tips on Saving Money
The following tips are to help you understand the kinds of changes you can make to your order to keep the overall price down. Our obligation is as much to quality as it is to affordability, so we want our customers to be as pleased as possible with their finished product. This means we don’t necessarily suggest that anyone try to use most of these tips, but if price is your deciding factor then these are the best ways to make that cut.
- Order white garments. They cost less because mills make more of them than any other color. They’re also the easiest to print on.
- Order as much as you can at one time. Most screenprinting costs are in the setup, so ordering a large run of shirts is much more affordable than multiple small runs.
- Group your orders. Printing in greater quantities saves you money on each shirt.
- Limit your ink colors to one or two. The price per shirt increases with each color. If you don’t think that would look good then let one of our designers have a shot at designing your design. You’ll be surprised how good some simple one or two color designs can look.
- Print on the front only. A front and back print is always more expensive than just a front print. This is especially beneficial if you are giving the tees away. People will be excited to get a free logoed shirt from you, regardless if it has a back print or not.
- Stick to the basic cotton t-shirts. Higher end performance tees, or fashion tees are more expensive. Basic cotton tees are usually the most affordable and they are great for screenprinting and last a long time.
- Don’t worry about art. If you don’t have something to work with, don’t spend a lot of time trying to design something before you come to us. We can do it for you, and we can usually do it for free.
- Use standard ink colors. Color matching and custom pantones are no problem, but they do cost extra.
CEO, TekTegrity, San Luis Obispo, CA