Whether you’re ordering custom screen printed tees for your school’s athletic team, fundraiser, or a family reunion, you want to pay the lowest price possible, right? Of course you do. Keep these 10 best money-saving tips in mind to get the lowest price on your next screen print t shirt order.
1. Plan Your Screen Print T Shirt Order Well In Advance of Your Deadline
A little planning ahead can save you a lot of money and frustration. Check with both your graphic designer and screen printer to find out their turn-around time when planning a t-shirt printing project. Last minute orders can add rush fees—or cause missed deadlines!
2. Large Quantities = Best Price Per Item
Avoid placing small orders when possible. You’ll pay more for press set-up time to print small quantities, which can double the per item cost of your screen print t shirt order. So, order larger quantities and you’ll see your cost per t-shirt go down dramatically. This also explains why the next tip is so important…
3. Avoid Re-Orders – Plan For More Than You Think You Will Need
Customers tend to under order, thinking they’ll save money and just place a re-order for more t-shirts if they run out. But this common misconception ends up costing MORE in the long run due to press set-up costs. So, order about 10% more screen print t shirts than you originally think you should need. Inevitably, once people see the new t-shirt designs, you will get additional requests for them!
4. Order White or Light Colored Screen Print T Shirts
White or light colored screen print t shirts are always the cheapest. Avoid dark colored t-shirts. They will cost more from the mill and can also be more costly to print. Dark t-shirts often require printing an extra, white “underlay” to prevent the dark shirt color from showing through. This requires additional screens, ink, and time, which can significantly add to the cost of your project.
5. Limit the Number of Printing Locations on Your Shirts
Choose to print on either the full front or full back of t-shirts to get the most for your money. Keep this in mind when creating your screen print designs or working with your graphic designer. Printing a small left chest design on the front and a full back design is very popular, but keep in mind that each screen print design location requires additional screens and set-up, costing you more.
6. Limit the Number of Colors in Screen Print Designs
Fewer colors require fewer screen set-ups and less time. Try to limit your screen print designs to 1-2 colors. You’d be surprised how an experienced t-shirt designer can make even a 1-color screen print t shirt design appear multi-color using special techniques!
7. Use Standard Ink Colors For Your Screen Print T Shirt
There are standard ink colors that every screen printer keeps on hand and uses regularly. Requesting special order colors for your screen print t shirt order will definitely increase your cost.
8. Make Sure Your T Shirt Design is in Vector Format
Great screen printing starts with great screen print designs. A screen printer cannot create screens from a photo or bitmap file. High quality, clear, t shirt vector artwork is needed. So, simply sending your printer a JPG file of your logo or a printout of a design you saw online will not be usable artwork. Most printers have graphic designers on staff who can recreate the images in vector format, but that will cost extra. Vector artwork can be resized (as large or small as you want) without losing any quality. That leads to our next tip…
9. Provide Your Screen Printer with Camera-Ready Design Files
As the name suggests, camera-ready artwork is the final screen print designs (in vector format), ready to print and make screen(s). No matter what color(s) of ink will be used, camera-ready artwork must be high-density, black laser prints at the exact size of your finished design – one for each color used in the design. For multi-color screen print designs these are called color separations that include registration marks for alignment during the printing process. It is best to email the tshirt artwork file to your printer, who has special software to color separate and print the artwork out to size on a large format printer.
10. Hire a Graphic Designer Who Specializes in Screen Print T Shirt Designs…This Tip ALONE Will Save You Hundreds!
Finally, keep in mind that screen printing is an art which requires special care in artwork creation and setup to ensure a finished product you will love. Not all graphic designers know the special needs of screen printers when it comes to tshirt artwork setup. It’s something that is learned by working with screen printers and tweaking artwork settings until they are “just right” for many years. Trust me, a printer will give you better prices if they know the artwork is going to make the job quick and painless for them!
Now you know the important factors to consider when planning your next custom screen print t shirt design project. Save time and money (and headaches) by hiring an experienced t shirt graphic designer (like me 🙂 who can assist with every phase of your project, from initial t shirt design ideas and color proofs, to delivery of camera-ready, vector artwork file(s). Hint: Any of the vector t shirt templates that are available for download on this site are ready to customize and deliver camera-ready to your printer.
Use these tips the next time you’re faced with a screen print t shirt design project to save time, money, and receive VIP treatment at your local screen print shop!
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