How to Order Custom Band Shirts
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
There’s few things that feel as good as seeing your bands name on a shirt.
When you’ve got great artwork and nice T-shirts fans can’t help but scoop them up from shows, facebook promotion and even through your website. They’re buying a shirt to express their love for music – your music – and we think that’s a beautiful thing.
THE EPIC-NESS vs. AFFORDABILITY PROBLEM:
HOW IT EFFECTS PRINT SPECS
- Do you want an EPIC Shirt design a lot of flash / colors / + BIG print locations? Pricey but EPIC
- Or, do you want an AFFORDABLE Shirt design with fewer colors that’s a bit more basic, but ultimately less expensive for fans
HOW IT EFFECTS PRODUCT SPECS
- Do you want a jersey style, soft fitting shirt that’ll quickly become you and your fans’ favorite thing to wear? Again, more expensive, but for some, comfort is king
- Or, do you want an AFFORDABLE Shirt oriented toward value? Never go with paper thin junk, but there are economy shirts that do make sense.
As a Shirt printer, a lot of musicians come to us with visions of artwork with lots of colors slapped on both front and backs of shirts in small order sizes. There’s a lot to be said for correct color use and nice artwork, but you need to realize:
Colors = higher cost per shirt
Additional Print Locations = higher cost per shirt
Small Volume Orders = higher cost per shirt
Truth be told, after processing 1000’s of orders, there’s a reality that most musicians (but not all) should be looking for a quality printed shirt at a great price so they can get it into the hands of the fans at the lowest price possible.
It’s great to do top shelf artwork with all those colors, over-sized prints, multiple locations etc, think back to those “Grateful Dead” T-shirts – still worn today and very popular – but it’s a passion project more than a money maker – in our experience.
WITH ALL THAT SAID, WHAT’S THE BEAT THEN:
Here’s some industry advice for musicians that are looking to get great shirts done but are focused on making a good purchase and getting exposure. These are quality tips and tricks which the result of decades of industry experience so ignore them at your own risk!
A typical screen printer is pricing based on colors and volume. This means that print size is usually not a factor in price unless we’re talking artwork larger than 11×17 inches. A great way to get some extra attention on your shirt is to make good use of your print area.
Two-sided printing, (or 2-3-4 location printing if you’re considering sleeve prints) will double or triple your printing costs. I’m a huge fan of sleeve prints myself and there are times when 2-3 location printing defines the shirt and makes the sale, but think hard about whether the extra locations are worth it in the end.
Many printers work set-up costs into unit cost so setting up colors will add to your price. Think about getting creative with colors to save money. Can the shirt color be outlined to act as a color within the design? Maybe there’s colors you don’t need in our artwork and can replace them with colors we’re using already to save on costs.
Halftones are a great way to add interest and depth to an image without breaking the bank. Many black and white photographs can be produced using just 1 screen which can mean a shirt with high perceived value for a low price tag. Be aware that half-tone images will never turn out just like the photo but can have artistic and powerful results if the right image is chosen.
A great way to save money on production runs is to order in volume. Once a job is running on press it takes very little time to throw another 24, 48 or even 100 more shirts through in the grand scheme of things. Your printer will be able to cut you a good deal when you order in bulk and your unit cost could easily be half price on 10 for what you’d pay on 100.
Consider the shirt itself. Do you want the latest fashion fit American Apparel Tee at a premium or something more economical. Are you going to be ordering different styles? Mens, womens, tank tops, hoodies? Your printer should be able to put different products toward volume discounts if your artwork stays the same so why not have some variety and see what sells best to your fans. Ask about your options.
Another consideration is shirt color – as long as the ink color stays the same different colored shirts can be part of an order at no extra cost. If you want to change ink colors during a run most printers will charge a small service fee but in certain circumstances it’s well worth it to create a range of different colors your fans can pick from.
The last consideration here is sizes. Your audience is different depending on your style of music, location, if your fans are women or men and so on. Everyone has a different audience. Size 2XL and above are typically billed at a premium by screen printers because they cost more to purchase. If you don’t need them and it’s your first order of product, consider saving some money by testing the waters. After your first round of sales you’ll be more informed about what sizing is your top seller and which ones are slow to move.
BOTTOM LINE ON ORDERING CUSTOM BAND SHIRTS:
YOU KNOW YOUR FANS THE BEST! You know their interests, tastes, size, gender and how much they’ll pay for shirts more than anyone, so cater to them and you’ll have success.