The t-shirt is a quintessential part of any wardrobe. Our favourite tees can be full of holes, stained and worn, but we still refuse to throw them out, wearing them down into tatters. They hold heaps of sentimental value, each one reminding us of a time or event in our lives that still tug at heartstrings.
What Is T-Shirt Printing?
There are several techniques for creating a printed t-shirt. The perfect method for you will often depend on the type of artwork, type of fabric, quantity required and budget.
Screen Printing – The most popular method for printing larger quantities of t-shirts, screen printing is a method of using a silk screen mesh stencil to transfer ink onto the t-shirts. Since the printer makes original screens of your t-shirt design, this method works best when you have a large enough order of say, 100 or more with up to 3 colours. Adding more colours can end up being less economical.
Direct To Garment (DTG) – DTG printing is a newer, most modern method of garment printing that utilizes inkjet printing. This sprays ink onto the garment similar to an inkjet printing on paper, with a higher colour vibrancy that allows for intricate details and more colour choices. It is suitable for smaller quantities and can get expensive when the quantities are increased.
Vinyl Flex – A versatile technique that is usually used for single colour lettering or logos, a cutting plotter cuts letters or logos from a vinyl material known as flex. This heat sensitive material is then bonded to the t-shirt using a heat press. Vinyl is considered more durable than ink and works best on brightly-coloured designs with a wide range of spot colours. In addition to that, the versatility of vinyl flex allows the use of specialty colours such as Day Glo, fluorescent, luminescent and sparkling holographic.
Full Colour Digital Transfers – Modern digital presses make digital transfer printing a viable method for small to medium quantities on white or lightly-coloured t-shirts. A digital press prints an image onto a special transfer sheet, which is then transferred onto the t-shirt with high heat and pressure. This method works best when you have a full-colour design such as a photographic image, or any shading or gradient effects.
Plastisol Transfers – Also known as an “indirect screenprint”, this method varies the heat and pressure and gives the t-shirt a softer feel. The design is printed onto heat transfer paper and transferred onto the t-shirt with a hot iron. Plastisol requires less set up than screen printing and is suited to small quantities or one-time orders.
Dye Sublimation – Working best on synthetic fabrics like polyester, dye is vaporized and absorbed into the material. The end result is similar to DTG yet softer and more durable. Ideal for designs that cover the whole t-shirt, it is suitable for both small and large quantities.
Why Custom Print T-Shirts?
How exciting is it to design your own t-shirt! Whatever the reason, creating a t-shirt that you, your friends or business partners will wear and cherish for years to come is the ultimate satisfaction. Now let’s look at the various reasons we all need to create our own tees!
Giving company t-shirts away to customers, clients and employees instantly turns them into walking billboards for your business! Having an attention-grabbing design, a funny line of text or the company slogan draws attention to your logo or business name, giving excellent exposure to your brand and turning your customers into brand ambassadors.
When employees choose to wear the company t-shirts, they are making a statement that they are proud to be part of a team, and they are wearing a show of unity. Studies have shown that uniforms can increase employee confidence and job satisfaction, making company t-shirts a great morale booster.
Revenue From Merchandise
Let your creative juices flow and create a t-shirt with a killer design, and people will buy it! People love cool designs, printed on quality material and there are plenty of dollars to be made in the sale of unique t-shirts. Selling t-shirts also allows for more quantities to be printed and leads to more economies of scale.
Whether it’s for a 5k fun run or a marathon, most people love to have a souvenir of their participation and achievement. Make participants be walking advertisements of your event for years to come!
Friends and Family
What better way to bind friends and family together than to have t-shirts printed with a quirky, unique design and a family slogan?
Bachelor night coming up? Or maybe the yearly gathering of your favourite social club? A customized t-shirt is the perfect keepsake to those cherished memories.
How To Design And Print Your Custom T-Shirt
Step One – Brainstorm On Design
First, decide on the type of garment that will reflect your message. Should it be a tank top, round neck, v-neck, or hoodie? Short sleeve or long? Once you have determined the type of garment to use, you can tailor a design around it.
A great t-shirt design will attract attention, fit your brand and reflect your company values. Plus it’ll just look really cool! Start by asking the message you want your t-shirt to convey. Who do you want the t-shirt to appeal to? What does your company stand for? What do you want to include in the design – an illustration, logo, slogan, or combination of all?
Start sketching some design ideas and make sure it translates to scale. A realistically-sized drawing makes it easier to physically place the design on the shirt later.
Consider how the design will look on the smallest and the largest sizes. Remember that t-shirts won’t fit perfectly flat over bodies and will drape over curves, potentially skewing the images. Detailed imagery, small font and intricate lines might be lost on curvy bodies.
Pick your font well to suit your brand and keep readability and size in mind. Small fonts get lost in intricate illustrations and contribute too much illegible detail to the design.
Always use your choice of fabric colour as the actual canvas (or paper) background in your sketches to see how the design fits on the fabric.
Not much of an artist? Flick the job off to a freelance professional or check if your printing company offers graphic design services.
Step Two – Quantity
As a general rule of thumb, the more you print, the less the cost per unit. If you are printing for merchandising, keep in mind some sizes are more popular but keep an inclusive range. Choosing the printing method will also depend on the quantity required, some methods are more suited to smaller quantities and the most popular method, screen printing, is more suited for bulk orders.
Step Three – Find A Printer
The job of a printer is to get your fabulous design to an actual t-shirt, and the success of the finished product depends on that. Request plenty of samples, check up on reviews, and choose reputable printers that have excellent customer service, years of experience and a solid track record. If you’re in a rush, check on their delivery timelines.
Tip: Printers with in-house art departments and graphic design teams usually are successful and will do good work.
Step Four – Submit Your Proofs
Once you’ve picked your printing partner, you can now submit your design. Communicate directly with your printer to determine the specific file type, colour requirements and file sizes they need. If you are working with a designer, the designer will be able to adhere to the printer’s requirements.
Step Five – Check Your Proofs
The printer should always send you a proof before pulling the trigger and starting to print. This can be a digital proof, or a test print of the shirt itself. It’s your last chance to change anything so check everything carefully!
That’s it! Depending on your printer’s delivery service, your t-shirts should be on the way to you. Check the finished product carefully and enjoy your new tees!
Why Crescent Print Edinburgh?
We have over 60 years of experience in printing, constantly adapting to new technologies for our loyal client base that have been with us years.
We take pride in the quality of our work and believe in the high quality of all our printing products. We offer last minute print services and specialize in same day deliveries to the venue of your choice after submission and approval of proofs.
In addition to t-shirts, we offer much more printing services such as leaflets, flyers, PVC banners, outdoor signs, digital vinyl printing and mugs to name a fraction of them. These are all produced at our print shop in Edinburgh, flawlessly and often at extremely short notice. We offer in-store collection, same day local courier or next day nationwide delivery.
Our print shop is centrally located at 301-303 Cowgate Street. The Cowgate Road runs parallel to Royal Mile and is a 5 minute walk away from Waverley Train Station. Please drop in to say hi and chat with us about your printing needs. We would love to show you our past work and look forward to meeting you!