So does everyone else in the world! You may not have realized it until just now, but there are a lot of t-shirts out there in the world today and just about all of them have some kind of print on them – but where did they come from? Obviously we all can get a printed shirt from the mall or a department store, but where do the department stores get their printed shirts from, and where can someone like me get shirts printed for an event, activity, club or organization? All the information you need on how to get your shirt printed is right here! We’ll step you through conception of an idea, design, placement on the shirt, and selecting a screen printer.
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Conception of a T-Shirt Printing Idea
Before you do anything you must decide on what you need the shirts for. This may sound foolish because you obviously have an idea of what you need t-shirts for or you wouldn’t be reading this article! Nonetheless this decision may effect whether or not you are able to skip some steps in the process. For example: If you are a leader of a Cub Scouts pack and need shirts to hand out to the members and are not making any profit on the shirts, you’ll need to come up with at least an idea of a design for the shirts you need printed. However, if you’re a softball coach seeking to make money to pay for your teams uniforms, maybe you’ll opt for a screen printers apparel fundraising programs (which many screen printers do offer).
Fundraising programs allow the customer (you) to give the screen printer a general idea of what you’d like to see in the design of a print (or prints) and what types of garment you’d like to see offered. This type of program puts the burden of design on the screen printer and keeps you from getting too involved in the details. In many cases the screen printers provide the flyers and order forms needed for the salespeople so all you have to do is pass them out and make a profit! Be sure to ask the printer you select about these programs as they may not specifically advertise it.
Now that we know what we’re printing the t-shirts for, we’re ready to design the print for the shirts. There are two options when considering your t-shirt design:
The screen printer can design your artwork.
You can design your artwork.
While you may choose the first option, it is still important to be informed on the design of you shirt for a couple of reasons:
-Screen Printers may charge you for designing the artwork.
-Not just anything can be printed, there are a few limitations.
-You need to decide what design elements you’d like your artwork to have (destroyed look, contemporary, traditional/conservative, classic).
-You need to decide where you’d like the design(s) printed on the shirt.
First of all when designing the artwork for your shirts, you are going to want to decide on the basics:
-What’s the primary message that I want to get across with my shirts?
Do I want to simply put a logo on my t-shirts to identify members of a group with my organization or am I not looking to advertise a business, organization, etc.?
-Do I need to include specifics?
Do I need to include a date for the event, a phone number of a business, a number of a troop or pack.
This is an important one – as a screen printer I constantly have to ask businesses if they want their phone number and address included on their shirts – some businesses do not include this information but they almost always do.
-What type design elements or theme do you want to use?
-You should know whether your shirts need a more conservative look (for businesses usually), a contemporary look (for bands, youth organizations), a classic look (high schools and universities usually fall in this category) – just to name a few.
-You should decide on a graphic to use for your shirts (if any). It’s often wise to see what your screen printer has to offer as they can more easily provide a higher quality image. Many screen printers either have talented graphic designers in-house, or have a membership to an artwork club where they can download graphics from the internet for a discounted rate.
-Where do I want my design printed on the shirts?
In some circles there are only a few known print locations on t-shirt: left chest print, full back, and full front prints. However, as people have become more experimental, more print locations are now offered by many screen printers. While the t-shirt printer should work with you and print wherever you like on the shirt, here are a few interesting print locations I’ve seen: