If you're shopping around for a good deal on cheap t-shirt printing, it's important to have a little bit of “insider knowledge”, as this can make all the difference between getting an okay deal or an absolute bargain. Having worked in the industry for many years, I've been approached countless times by many different types of customer who all have one thing in common, which is that they don't have a huge budget to spend, but still need a decent quality product and usually in a reasonable quantity.
Many of these great people are managers of unsigned bands, who are looking to get some t-shirts made that they can sell at gigs or on their website, in order to bring in an additional stream of revenue (or in some cases their only source of income). They usually send me a sample of their artwork, which is nearly always pretty complex, involving a lot of colours and detail. I then end up having to explain that it's quite expensive to reproduce this kind of design, and when I tell them how much, they are completely put off the idea and they give up completely. So instead, what I've been doing lately is offering a range of alternatives which are much more affordable, so that these bands can afford to get some shirts printed and sell to their fans at a profit. This is basically a few ideas I came up with that apply to anybody (not just bands) who is looking to get as many t-shirts printed as possible with a small amount of money.
1. Reduce the number of colours in your design – And if you can get it down to just one colour, even better. In short, the more colours in your artwork, the more materials are involved in the printing process, and also it takes longer to print. This all adds up in cost. If you need colour, consider using a coloured t-shirt. You can get t-shirts in almost any colour and shade you can think of, and a single colour design can be just as effective as a multicoloured one.
2. Reduce the number of print positions – Were you thinking of having your garments printed on the front and back? And with sleeve prints as well? This is going to cost more than printing on the front only. So if you can get your message across in a single print, instead of all over the t-shirt, go for it – it will be cheaper, and also quicker to print (so you may even get your items delivered earlier!).
3. Lose any complex detail – Fine lines, gradients, small lettering – these are the enemy! Not only are they tricky to print (therefore time consuming), they often don't look too great when printed onto fabric, and small letters can't be read from any distance. It's best to keep your wording loud and proud, at a size where it can be seen and easily read – particularly if you are trying to spread a message.
4. Plan ahead – Left it til the last minute? You might struggle to negotiate the best deal if you are putting pressure on the t-shirt printing company to rush your order. Many printers charge a premium for express turnaround (although some don't). Which leads us nicely onto the final tip in this article…
5. Shop around. There are a LOT of businesses out there who offer cheap t-shirt printing. If you spend a little time researching what's available in your area, you could end up saving a lot of money. Be sure to contact at least two or three firms for a price quote. If you follow all of the information and tips in this guide, you're bound to be able to get a good price on quality custom printed t-shirts. Good luck, and have fun!