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T-Shirt Printing - what needs to be considered by Innes Donaldson

T-Shirt Printing - what needs to be considered by
Article Posted: 04/29/2013
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T-Shirt Printing - what needs to be considered

Ordering Custom printed t-shirts can seem like a monumental task when all the details that need to be addressed come to the surface in the ordering process. With a little preparation and knowledge of what your printer will need ahead of time your order will be processed much quicker and the final results will have a far better chance of meeting your expectations. Following are some tips that will increase your odds of having a good custom t-shirt ordering experience.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the first decision to be made is the type of shirt that you will want the printing to be on. The landscape is broad when it comes to t-shirt selection but aside from the color there are just a few things you will need to decide on. The First thing to consider is do you want a standard t-shirt, or are you looking for a fashion t-shirt? I do not think a standard t-shirt needs much explanation as they are the basic shirt that we have known and loved for years for dressing informally and comfortably. I am sure that you have several of them in your dresser drawer right now. Fashion t-shirts on the other hand are typically more of a tailored variety with closer fitting cuts and variations in neck line. The second choice to be made is do I want short sleeves, or long sleeves? And finally, do I want a pocket on my shirts or not? It all seems rather basic, but none the less it pays to have thought these things over before making the trip to your local printer, as these things will narrow your search and save time in the final selection process.

Aside from heat transfers and sublimation, there are basically two different types of t-shirts printing available, Silk Screen Printing and Digital Printing. It pays to be educated on this, even if just a little in order to make an informed decision. Digital Printing is done on a printing machine very much like the paper printer you have connected to your home or office computer, the only difference is that you load shirts in it and not paper. From a set up stand point this is a better choice for low number orders as screens do not need to be made for every color in the design, and all that is needed is a quality image. This can make it a more economical alternative if fewer than 12 shirts or so are being ordered. Screen Printing on the other hand becomes a better option on larger orders, even though the set up is more labor intensive it becomes cheaper as quantities increase. So here are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of printing, From a cost stand point Digital Printing may be better for smaller orders, Screen Printing may be better for larger orders.

Digital Printing works best on white or light colored shirts, Screen Printing works best on Black or dark colored shirts. If the possibility exists that the order may need to be added to in just a few days, Digital Printing is most definitely the better alternative as Screen Printing would require another set up charge making the extra shirts cost prohibitive. Armed with this knowledge the picture starts to become more clear which method of printing makes more sense for your situation.

One final thing to consider before actually placing your order is the condition of your artwork, if you have artwork. The old saying garbage in, garbage out is most certainly true when it comes to your custom t-shirts printing. Your Printer will want the best possible artwork they can get their hands on, and in most cases this means Vector Artwork. Generally speaking artwork falls into two different categories, Raster Images and Vector Images. Without getting technical the main difference that affects your printer is that Raster Images degrade as they are re sized and Vector Images maintain their integrity even if they are blown up. Raster Images in a higher resolution will work great for Digital Printing, but can be difficult to work with for Screen Printing.

Think of a Raster Image as the picture you take with your digital camera and a Vector Image as computer generated artwork. Unless you are planning on printing an actual photograph on your shirts the safer bet would always be Vector Artwork. Unfortunately, not everybody has a Vector format of their artwork and may not have the ability to create one. In such cases, and particularly for Screen Printing, you can expect to absorb an art charge before production of your shirts can continue. The good news is that once you have the Vector format you will have it the next time when you reorder.

Ordering custom printed t-shirts can involve a lot of little details, but hopefully this resource has enabled you to make more informed decisions ahead of time and avoid the additional charges and time delays that can be associated with ordering t-shirts printing.

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