Custom T-Shirt Printing Guide

There are many possibilities when it comes to getting custom t-shirts printed. People are no longer limited by having to choose between either a low-quality or premium quality fabric, and there are styles, sizes, and colors to suit all tastes and preferences. So, whether you want to promote your brand, order t-shirts for your staff, or print custom t-shirts for an important event, t-shirt printing has never been easier.

In this guide, we answer your most pressing questions about t-shirt printing and explain the most important things to know.

Things to Consider Before
You Order Custom Printed T-Shirts

The Design

The first step in the process is to get a great design. It should be fit for purpose and needs to reflect your business or brand in the best possible light. Will it have your logo, a custom design, an illustration, text, or a mixture of all?

Consider the color of the design versus the color of the t-shirt fabric. A darker sheet needs lighter colors in the design, and a lighter t-shirt will need darker colors. Many t-shirt printing companies will be able to provide you with software, a design-service, or should be able to recommend a t-shirt designer whom they trust.

A professional graphic designer is a great way to get the right style, colors, and typography for your chosen purpose and style.

Inkwell Printing Best Custom Designs Shirts

The Budget and Order Specifics

Before you get too distracted by the printing options, it’s important to understand the numbers. Establish how many t-shirts you need printed, and what your maximum budget is for the project. As you would expect, the more you order, you will usually get a lower per-unit price. However, the size of the order can also impact some of the other options you will be given as well.

Aside from this, you’ll also need to have a breakdown of the sizes of t-shirts you need to be printed as well. Depending on the t-shirt manufacturer, some of the larger sizes might cost a little more.

When you have all of this data, you can work with your chosen t-shirt printing company to establish the best printing method to use for the project. Some of the methods are ideal for bulk orders, whereas others could be best for smaller runs.

Select the Best
T-Shirt Printing Method

This is an essential step and one which you should always discuss with your t-shirt printing company. The appearance of the shirt, the design, the colors, the cost, the production time, and the materials you choose will all factor into this decision.

Here is a quick summary of three of the most popular printing methods

Vinyl Graphics

T-shirts printed with vinyl graphics are created through a process known as transfer printing. It is a different texture and appearance to screen printing, and it is thought to be more dimensional and bolder. Vinyl is considered to be slightly more durable compared to ink; as such, they are ideal for those looking to get a design that stands out. Similarly to screen printing, each extra color you use will add money to the overall cost. This is because every graphic needs to be transferred on a shirt-by-shirt basis.

Vinyl graphics are best suited to t-shirt printing with simple graphics, fewer colors, and orders with a low quantity requirement.

Screen Printing

T-shirts that use the screen printing method can either be made with a machine or by hand. This is considered to be the highest grade of quality when it comes to t-shirt printing. Essentially, the printer will create original screens of your t-shirt, and this makes it easier and more affordable to print in bulk. It is an affordable, reliable, and high-quality t-shirt printing method that suits those looking to place a bulk t-shirt printing order. However, because a new screen will need to be made for each color or variation of design, it means that multi-colored designs can cost more compared to vinyl t-shirt printing.

Screen printing is great for larger orders and those which are to be printed onto darker-colored shirts with bright colors.

Direct to Garment

DTG printing is a more modern t-shirt printing solution that uses an inkjet printing style. It will spray the ink onto the garment in the same way an inkjet does onto paper. The direct-to-garment printing method is great for those designs which may have intricate detailing and lots of color options and works best with t-shirt printing in smaller batch runs. It is not suitable for darker-colored fabrics. 

Direct-to-Garment t-shirt printing is ideal for smaller orders, and for designs that have lots of color, and intricate elements to consider.

Sublimation Printing

The sublimation printing process results in a full-color, near-permanent image that will not peel, crack, or wash away. In a situation where a design is defined by its intricate details, this provides a highly effective, quick digital print method.

It is also referred to as ‘all over printing’, because it has the ability to print a design that literally goes from seam to seam.

Sublimation
Printing Process

The sublimation printing process results in a full-color, near-permanent image that will not peel, crack, or wash away. In a situation where a design is defined by its intricate details, this provides a highly effective, quick digital print method.

It is also referred to as ‘all over printing’, because it has the ability to print a design that literally goes from seam to seam.

Select the Best Materials and the Type of T-Shirt

Whatever else needs to be considered, you should make sure that the t-shirts you choose are comfy. After all, you want people to enjoy wearing them. While cost is going to play a major factor in this decision, you should always keep comfort at the forefront of your mind.

Cotton is a popular choice, along with polyester/cotton blends. They are versatile, easy to wash, and comfortable to wear. A polyester blend is a great solution for those looking at cost and comfort combined. Talk to your printing shop about all of the above-mentioned factors and let them present you with the best options for your individual needs and demands.

Aside from the fabric, you will need to choose the right style of t-shirt, too. A default option for most is the short-sleeve crew neck. However, you need to consider your target audience and think about the right style and cut for them.

Prepare Your Artwork and Send the Files

Once all of the above options have been worked through, and the price has been approved, it’s time to get your files ready to send to the printer. Make sure you know their guidelines for the design files as they may have specific color requirements, file types, and sizes to consider.

Most will ask to receive the files in vector format, which is typically an EPS, PDF, or AI file. At Inkwell Printing, we will also accept a high-quality PSD file as well.

Always Double Check the Proof

A printer will always send a proof of the t-shirt printing design for you to review and sign off on. Regardless of whether you are placing a small order for t-shirts to be printed or a bulk order, this is your FINAL opportunity to review what will be printed. Check everything over at least twice before confirming you are happy to proceed. If you can, get a second person to have a quick look as well.

Receive Your Order

After all of the work you have done in getting this far, actually getting your shirts delivered in the mail is a momentous occasion. Make sure you check them as soon as they arrive, and always check that the quality is what you expected, and the design is correctly placed across all of your items.

If they’ve done a good job and you’ve been happy with their service, it’s always nice to leave a quick review or send an email of thanks for their efforts!

In Summary

Getting t-shirts printed can be a lot of fun, and you’ll be surprised at just how many options and choices you have. The key to getting the best type of t-shirt printing service is to make sure you follow all of the steps outlined in this guide. Regardless of whether you are placing a small order or a larger order, you should try to enjoy the process and feel proud of the t-shirts when they arrive.

We’re Here
To Help.

No matter what you’re looking for, or what stage you’re at, we’re here to help. Call (918) 508-3634 for immediate solutions!