Saturday, August 15, 2009

Custom T-Shirt Printing

I had a couple of t-shirt designs I wanted to have printed. They were simple, logo style with three or less colors. After some research online I found a printing company called Spreadshirt which I settled on because of their unique printing process. Instead of jetting ink onto the shirt, which can result in a blurry image and jagged edges, this company had a process where the shapes are cut out of a vinyl sheet with a CNC style plotter and applied to the shirt. According the the marketing material on their website their process will not fade and supposedly will last longer than the shirt itself.

The image to be printed is required to be in vector graphic form. A great program I found to do this for free was Inkscape, a great companion to the Gimp. With these two programs the amateur image editor doesn't need Photoshop. My two designs had to do with the Valve game Portal. Aperture Labs is the company who invented the portal gun and built GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System), the sadistic artificial intelligence from whose clutches you must escape. My final designs were as follows:

With my vector designs in hand the images must be submitted for review for manufacturability. After passing the review process the images appear in your control panel where you select the vinyl color for each section, the shirt or product for it to appear on, and its size and location on the product. They have about 70 different colors and textures of vinyl and a large selection of shirts, including some high quality american apparel shirts which I used. Your designs show up in the control panel, looking something like below, where you can select the color for each region, the size and location of the design on the shirt or product. I ended up changing the order of the colors in my GLaDOS design in the control panel from their original order in my vector graphics file.

After finalizing my designs I submitted them for manufacturing at a cost of ~$24 a peice including shipping. About a week later I received them in a fedex softpack. A few pics and closeups of them are below.

Overall I was very satisfied with the quality of the print and the sharpness of the edges of the designs. No real flaws to speak of. If you are looking to design a logo style T-shirt, I highly recommend If you are interested in buying my designs, you can get them here.


  1. Tshirts and printing stuff is really becoming popular for all the people..custom tshirt is very impressive.Thanks for the information..

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  2. Of course incredible custom tshrit printing is funky and hence they design as they want..Its become popular to done a great job.

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  3. Nice to read your article! I am looking forward to sharing your adventures and experiences.
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  4. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with extra information? It is extremely helpful for me. custom t-shirts

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