Screen Printing: Five Things You Need to Know

Family Shirts

In life, there are a lot of T-shirts. You probably have enough to fill an extra closet at home, but somehow, you’ll still acquire more. This is because they’re a popular form of advertising. Really, really comfortable advertising. A high quality T-shirt with a great design can be a wonderful way to represent your business, organization or brand. On the flip side, a T-shirt that fits poorly and displays a big, cracked design can be a very negative representation of whatever you’re advertising.

Nobody wants to end up with a bad shirt, but how do you avoid it? Most screen printing companies say they can get you high quality shirts for a low price, but how can you tell if your shirt is high quality? Additionally, how can you ensure that you’re getting the most for your money and not paying unexpected extra fees? To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together five tips you can use to make sure you’re receiving a high quality product at a reasonable price.

Tip #1: Shirt Quality Matters

When it comes to T-shirts, like many other things in life, you get what you pay for. If you purchase the most inexpensive option available to you, be prepared for it to feel and fit like a cardboard box. Unfortunately, no amount of fabric softener can help some T-shirts.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to spend a little more money, you can get a shirt that will fit and feel amazing for years. Always ask about your options and get quotes for more than one brand of shirt. You may find that the price of good quality isn’t that high after all.

Tip #2: Shirt Quantity Matters

In the world of custom T-shirts, the more you order, the less you pay per shirt. This is true for all brands and styles. Most companies give price breaks based on quantity, so the pricing structure would look something like this:

Sample Pricing Chart

**Note: This is a sample quantity price break chart and does not depict Cornerstone Impressions’ actual prices.

If there’s a chance you’ll need to order more shirts later, it may be more cost effective for you to place a larger original order. Be sure to ask about the pricing structure before you place your order.

Tip #3: More Colors, More Money

Screen printing is exactly what it sounds like, the process of transferring an image from a screen to a printing surface (T-shirt). In the screen printing process, ink colors are printed one at a time using separate screens. So, when creating a shirt design, the first thing you need to know is that each ink color = 1 screen.

The more screens a design requires, the more it costs to print. Because of this, we suggest keeping ink colors to  a minimum if you’re on a tight budget.

Tip #4: Use Samples to Assess Quality

Being able to see and compare product options is one benefit of working with a screen printing company in-person rather than ordering online. When you aren’t sure which brand/style you want to order, ask to see some examples of recently printed shirts. You’ll be able to feel the fabric, see the shape of the shirt, and examine the quality of the screen print. A good screen print should not feel too thick, and when you pull the shirt tight, the print should not separate or crack.

Tip #5: Artwork Fees & File Prep

When you order screen printed items, you’ll generally have design/artwork options. Usually, it’s best for the company’s in-house artists to create a design for you. This means you’ll be charged an artwork fee. Although artwork fees are typically reasonable, every company has it’s own policies and prices, so it’s important to inquire about these ahead of time.

Most screen printing companies also allow clients to bring in their own artwork to print. While this is an appealing way to save on artwork fees, it’s important to ask about design format up-front. It’s likely they require vector graphic files, and unless you’re trained in graphic design, it’s unlikely you’re familiar with vector artwork. Because of this, client submitted artwork is not usually in the correct format. This means the artists must convert and edit the design, resulting in an artwork fee. Asking ahead of time about required file types can help you prep your files accordingly and avoid paying extra artwork fees. To find more information about how to prep your files for print, visit our support page here.

We hope these five tips help you get the most out of your next T-shirt order. For more information from Cornerstone Impressions, check out our website or shoot us an email. To see examples of our work, visit our Instagram and Facebook pages!

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