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Custom Tee Design: Choosing Between Screen Printing And Digital Printi

Custom Tee Design: Choosing Between Screen Printing And Digital Printing Techniques
Custom Tee Design: Choosing Between Screen Printing And Digital Printing Techniques

If you’re looking to brand your company or event, your best choice for promotional material might be a classic: custom designed tee shirts. Market research regarding promotional items showed that in 2012, wearables (including tee shirts, golf shirts, hats and jackets) comprised the biggest share of sales at 28.9%. It appears that your customers will actually wear them, too: 95% of people in the United States say that they wear tee shirts, and 70% of American men and 54% of American women own more than 10 tees.

When it comes to custom print services for your tees, you can choose from two basic options, each with their pros and cons:

Screen printing is an art technique in which special inks are forced through mesh stencils (screens) onto a substrate (in this case, the fabric of a tee shirt). One color is used at a time with various screens to create multi-colored images. The technique allows for a very thick application of ink, producing vibrant colors even on black or dark shirts. Screen printing artists can use various kinds of inks to create matte, shimmer, glossy and even metallic results.

Since custom screens must be created for each design, most screen printers have a minimum quantity you must order. However, the cost per unit goes down the more of a design you need printed, making this a good choice for large events.

The other option is digital print tee shirts. This is a more affordable process that uses a direct-to-garment printer. Heat and inks are used to transfer a digital graphic onto the tee shirt. Digital print tee shirts aren’t as vibrant as screen printed ones, but they’re softer to the touch. Digital printing is a good process to consider if you want a photo on your tee shirts. Keep in mind that unlike screen printing, which can be used on dark materials, digital printing generally must be performed on white or very light material.

There is often no minimum order for digitally printed products, making them ideal for small businesses.

If you’re not sure which method is right for you, your best option is to simply ask the experts at your printing company or look at samples. If you’re working with an online company, you can probably email them your preferred design and they’ll be able to help you make a determination.

Once you’ve gotten your tee shirts printed, you might consider adding a little more promotional flair by having them compressed. Compressed tees are matched with custom cards and compressed into one of a variety of shapes, such as a pint glass, basketball or flame. What shape would you choose? Share your ideas in the comments.

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