Home – New Forums Find the help you need Quality (printed) TShirts

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  • #969919
    Anonymous
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    I am not happy with the quality offered by Vistaprint in re their printed TShirts (they start to fade after two washes!!). I also feel that a Vistaprint shirt reflects wrongly on my business (I’m too cheap to invest in good quality TShirt).

    Thus I am “on the hunt” for an inexpensive TShirt printer. I am doing an order of less than 10 TShirts thus they must be able to cater to micro/small businesses.

    I would also prefer someone who will allow me one free sample (not necessarily my shirt/design – however can readily “show” me the quality of their work)… thus if you are Gold Coast based so I can “visit you” (or vice versa – that would be a huge plus) it would be great.

    I am not looking to buy today or tomorrow. I’m doing my research now for a purchase in a couple of months time (making room in my budget).

    Please email me if you’d like to to be of help :D

    [email protected]

    #1041555
    sixx
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    Hi Vanessa,

    Your request is a contradiction in terms. :)

    You’ve tried the inexpensive route and found it only gets you two washes. I’m surprised you want to attempt it again.
    You need to try the quality avenue now which of course will come at a cost but because you will get many more washes before fade, it will work out cheaper in the long run. Buy cheap, or invest in quality.

    In my experience with getting screen printing done, there is usually a setup fee involved ($75.00 or more) so straight away your tshirts will cost $7.50 ea before you purchase the tshirt and get the printing done. If you purchased more shirts, the setup fee may be excluded from your invoice but because you only want 10 shirts (100 shirts = $0.75 ea), you’ll probably need to pay the setup fee.

    Look at quality business’ offering a quality product and compare prices from there. Seeking inexpensive and you’re back to square one.

    #1041556
    Serena Star Leonard
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    OK I am not in the printing industry but this is what my experience has been.

    If you are wanting screen printing the set up cost is fixed whether you do 1 shirt or 5000 and you pay per colour (also allow an extra colour for a white base if your tshirt is dark and the print light).

    I have a contact who has done this kind of print for one of my clients for only 15 shirts and was able to reduce the screen set up price a lot. But I don’t know if that is on offer generally. If you want more details I can give you a phone number.

    The cheapest option if you are printing under 20 shirts is generally digital print. I have worked with Rick at Pro Print in Sydney and they do a beautiful quality digital print that stretches with the T-shirt which is a bonus.

    It just depends on the design and the quality you are willing to pay for.

    Also remember that as well as the print, it is important to get a good cut and quality of T-shirt.

    #1041557
    marketingweb
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    I think this is a classic case of you get what you pay for unfortunately.

    The other replies are correct, but I’d like to see if I can add a little more to the discussion. It may be a bit technical, but it’s worth noting in your case since you have been burned and probably need to know what you are buying so you don’t get burned again. The biggest problem though is you are buying VERY small quantities, and anyone selling for vista print prices on small quantities will probably be also selling rubbish that will be just as bad. If you want quality you need to go up in price OR up in quantity.

    There are five ways a t-shirt can be printed.
    1) Screenprint
    2) Direct to Garment Digital Print
    3) Digital Transfer
    4) Offset printed transfer
    5) Screenprinted transfer.
    6) Vinyl Cut Lettering.

    Of these, 4 and 5 aren’t relevant to your situation as both are only used for large quantities with highly detailed art. Vinyl cut lettering is really only used for sports numbers and names on basketball singlets and the like, so probably not what you want.

    Screenprint is the most traditional way of doing print on garments, and still has the most longevity of print for a number of reasons including the fact that there is a really good thickness of ink on the garment. If you want the print to last and not have any hassles in this area, it’s the method you want. Only two issues are that you pay per colour, and the price scales a LOT on quantity. So if you are doing big quantities with not many colours, it’s unbeatable. For small quantities (under 25) or lots of colours, no good.

    Skipping 2) for a minute, digital transfer’s are basically inkjet printed and then heat pressed onto the garment. Economical for small quantities, but a bit of a “cheap” way of doing things as it looks a bit like a “sticker” on the front of the shirt. Longevity is better than the old home made iron on transfers, will last much more than the 2 washes, but not as good as screenprint. Can be done in small quantities, and full colour. Quality also varies depending on the quality of the printing equipment used – whether it’s someone with a professional setup, or someone with basically a home printer having a go at transfers.

    Direct to garment digital printing is what Vistaprint use. It involves a special kind of inkjet printer that prints directly onto the garment. Based on a full colour process print (CMYK), some can print a white base behind for dark garments, some can’t. Being the equipment is quite expensive ($20,000 – $250,000) and good quality machines are pretty new, there aren’t a lot out there who do it yet. Most importantly, there is a LOT of a difference in quality based on the equipment used and the ink system, how well it’s calibrated and the skill and care of the operator. Without having seen the work, I expect this is where vista print are falling down. Not sure if their machine is cheap or expensive, but I bet it’s based on which ever one has the cheapest cost per print based on the cheapest ink, rather than which one does a good job. And it would then be operated as quickly as possible without due care. I wouldn’t be surprised if they even had some “economy” mode on the printer which they used – the whole vistaprint model is based on literally unbeatable prices based on cutting every corner possible, and then not worrying about the quality.

    As to who is best to use for such small quantities in the Gold Coast i’m not sure. One company you can try is as follows, but I can’t vouch for them.
    http://www.psionline.com.au/ . I also know that Proprint someone else mentioned is definately good, but not sure if they will deal with your small quantities, and they are located in Sydney. Their website is at http://www.proprintgroup.com.au/

    Hope this helps.
    Matt

    #1041558
    Past-Member
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    Have you considered embroidering your logo on the shirts? There is likely to be an embroidery business in your area. From past experience the conversion of the logo to embroidery stitching mode is about $100 depending on the complexity and output size required, and then it’s per ’embroidery print’ plus the cost of the shirt. ie once you have the embroidery logo pattern prepared by them, you can have just one made or a number made at a time. And you can choose your own styles of shirts and provide it to them if you wish. Overall, this would probably be a better option for you.

    #1041559
    Leisa D
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    Printing, including general offset printing like business cards, and promotional printing like tshirts – is one area where you really do get what you pay for. I’ve seen Vistaprint business cards and they look like a home made inkjet job, so I imagine their tshirts are similar quality. I’d suggest going to an old fashioned screen printer or signwriter for the tshirts – they’ll make them properly. If you can’t find someone I can arrange it with my local signwriter. She does tshirts, polos, windcheaters, etc. for the local kinder, sport clubs, etc. and offers printing or embroidery.

    #1041560
    marketingweb
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    KarenC, post: 50680 wrote:
    Have you considered embroidering your logo on the shirts? There is likely to be an embroidery business in your area. From past experience the conversion of the logo to embroidery stitching mode is about $100 depending on the complexity and output size required, and then it’s per ’embroidery print’ plus the cost of the shirt. ie once you have the embroidery logo pattern prepared by them, you can have just one made or a number made at a time. And you can choose your own styles of shirts and provide it to them if you wish. Overall, this would probably be a better option for you.

    This may be excellent advice from Karen, depending on if your design is suitable for the process or not – ie small pocket sized logos are ideal for embroidery, larger sized designs are defiantly not or the fabric will all bunch up.
    You should generally be able to get the logo “digitized” for $40-$100 which is what Leisa was referring to, and then each embroidery around the $5 mark – as it doesn’t scale as much on small quantities as print.

    Best for small jobs if you go this way to find a place that does embroidery on premises, as someone like a signwriter who will usually have to send the product away will end up not being economical due to factoring of freight.

    Matt

    #1041561
    Thrive Promotional
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    I agree with all comments …. I just thought I would throw my thoughts in, particularly as this is my field of expertise … branded promotional products (including apparel – hats, tshirts etc).

    Printing onto a product e.g. mug, pen etc or item of clothing, is quite different from a business card or letterhead. There is usually a screen needed for each colour for screen printing (pad printing needs a block and embroidery is determined by the number of stitches). Often, the application of your decoration (e.g. logo) is done manually.

    Because of the manual application and the effort needed to get the logo set for decoration, the quantity you order become a factor (this also applies to other forms of printing) … the higher the quantity the more attractive the costing.

    Quality is the other issue mentioned .. like everyone else has advised, pricing usually is based on quality (not to say you shouldn’t ask the questions you have raised about what you are getting for your investment, as it is your investment after all).

    Always discuss with a supplier, how you plan to use the apparel (a t-shirt for a one off event is probably not going to require the same quality and durability as an apparel item for a uniform.

    Hint: … always ask your graphic designer to provide logo options that will suit a range of applications e.g. screen printing, pad printing etc for promotional items. As a general rule ..
    1) the fewer the colours the most cost effective
    2) ask for a few layout formats e.g. a horizontal layout (this layout usually works better on items such as pens).

    Hope this helps.

    #1041562
    IASOnline
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    I just used http://www.teejunction.com.au and was happy with the results.

    #1041563
    Brett Marketing Guy
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    If you want quality you have to pay for it, I use a local gold coast company called action print, have got a year out of them now, however in the past i have tried vista print and got a year out of those also, i choose my shirts from a retail shop and then take them in to have printed, I find this is the best way to get a nice shirt you will be happy with but also get your artwork sown in, not printed, it just wont last… later skaters.

    #1041564
    marketingweb
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    Brett Marketing Guy, post: 160289 wrote:
    If you want quality you have to pay for it, I use a local gold coast company called action print, have got a year out of them now, however in the past i have tried vista print and got a year out of those also, i choose my shirts from a retail shop and then take them in to have printed, I find this is the best way to get a nice shirt you will be happy with but also get your artwork sown in, not printed, it just wont last… later skaters.

    Hi Brett, thanks for your post, just wanted to add my further thoughts to the above.

    Re buying t-shirts from a shop and taking to be decorated – yes you can do this, but I don’t generally recommend it. If you are doing it because you want a certain shirt this can be fine, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you will save money by “getting the shirts yourself” – it will generally end up costing you more, simply because most printers buy clothing much cheaper than you ever can, and tend to put on less margin than your average retail brand.

    Now you mention “stitching”, which I guess you mean embroidery, vs print, saying print won’t last.

    For a polo shirt (eg casual shirt with a collar), absolutely, embroidery in most cases looks more stylish and lasts well. It also looks good because most polo shirt fabric (eg pique knit – textured fabric) is well suited to this. Main advantages are that you don’t pay per colour, that setup (aka digitising) is a once off process, and that it’s economical for small quantities. Main disadvantage is that you are pretty limited in terms of size – pocket size logos only. Anything big is going to be not only expensive but ruin the shirt by bunching it up.

    For a t-shirt (ie without a collar), the options listed in my prior post are pretty much where it’s at. Embroidery looks really bad on t-shirts most of the time, and is rarely done – as (smooth) jersey t-shirt fabric doesn’t have enough “guts” about it. While it’s common to see print on a polo shirt, it’s very uncommon to have embroidery on a t-shirt!

    Where it gets confusing is that some people call polo shirts t-shirts, or even “polo t-shirts”, which isn’t really right. If it has a collar and buttons it’s a polo shirt. No collar – t-shirt. Of course there are exceptions, but you know what I mean. Important to note as otherwise advice can turn out not to be good if people are talking about different things. Obviously a collar is just a collar, it’s the fabric that makes most difference, plus what people out there are comfortable with.

    Matt

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