Hoot’s 50th Birthday T-Shirts
We recently had a customer contact us with a query. She was after approximately 250 white tee shirts, with only one colour print, for an upcoming 50th birthday. She asked us if we could provide her with an affordable solution to her inquiry.
Screen Printing vs. DTG
For such a large quantity, we use Screen Printing, if the client had wanted a smaller amount we would have suggested DTG printing. DTG stands for Direct To Garment and the printing process is very similar to the standard inkjet printers. The garment is placed onto a tray which is then loaded into the printing machine. The design is then printed onto the shirt just like a piece of paper in your common printer. The advantage of this method is that it has very little set up cost and can print the whole gamut of colour in one application. It is especially good for designs that incorporate photos or colourful detailed artworks. However it stops being cost effective when large quantities are required due to the manual labour involved: loading and unloading the garments onto the trays then loading and unloading the trays into the printing machine. The actual printing can also be quite slow, with large colour designs taking up to several minutes from start to finish. In comparison, Screen Printing one single colour could take as little as a few seconds. This is when Screen Printing can become more cost effective. Each colour used in the design is separated and an individual screen of that colour is made up. The less colours the design has the less set up cost is. Each screen is placed into the garment and ink is applied with a squeegee. Each subsequent colour will require its own screen and application. Since the design we were asked to print required only one colour and because of the quantity required, Screen Printing was the best choice.
Reworking an image
The artwork we were provided consisted of a drawing of a face with the words ‘Hoot’s 50th’ underneath.
The artwork was of poor quality being only 72dpi (dot per square inch). In the printing industry, 300 dpi is usually the norm. A 300dpi design is considered to be a High Resolution file and will guarantee a good quality print. This particular image was also slightly blurry and had very poor contrast, the whites were not white and the blacks were not black. There were also areas which were obviously meant to be white which clearly were not.
Using PhotoShop we managed to bring the artwork to a more appealing design, using filters and many other tools such as the Dodge tool, the Lasso Tool, Magic Wand Tool, Brightness & Contrast.
Another area that we can sometimes help out our customers with is the layout and the font used in their design. In this case, we felt the font didn’t really reflect the image. Because we have access to a very large library of fonts we are usually able to offer our customers a more visually pleasing alternative. However we never want to feel like we are pressuring our customers into using our suggestions and on a few occasions the client has decided to keep their original design.
Proofing the Design
Next, we use one of our many garment templates, in this case a White T-Shirt, and position the design. The proof is meant to be an approximation of the finished product and we take care to make them as accurate as possible. We usually base our template on a size Large T-shirt, which means that a smaller T-shirt will seem to have a larger print and vice versa.
In this particular case, we offered our customer an alternative design and layout as well as her original design. She was happy to go with our more cartoony font.
When a design is approved for printing our PhotoShop files is then converted into a screen ready to be screen printed. Keep an eye out for future blogs a we will be posting the finish product.