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The Fine Print: Let's talk about tees!

The Simplicity Effect


When creating a new t-shirt design, your first thought is to go ALL OUT, right? You’ve seen advertisements from custom t-shirt printers that state you can use unlimited colors in your artwork, multiple screens, add names and numbers, and even have your design printed on numerous locations of the garment. Letting your creative side out during your design process can be an entertaining experience, but it’s also very easy to get carried away. As appealing as all the different options available may be, keeping your design simple can be extremely easy on the eyes and on the wallet. At the end of the day, you want people to remember your logo. You want to create something that is not only impressive, but impactful. Using too many variables can jeopardize that. Like you have been told all your life, less truly is more.

Color Count -Managing the Number of Colors in your Artwork

Let’s start with an example. Both t-shirts below read similar messages. Though Image A may have more color and complexity, you’ll have to agree that Image B is more legible.

color count

Image A is a 5-color design. Not only do the amount of colors in your artwork determine your cost per shirt, it also determines how busy your design will look. If the designer went with a 1-color design as in Image B, the outcome of the shirt would have been easier to read, therefore creating a greater impact on those viewing the shirt. By no means do we intend to say too much color in a design is a bad thing. It is the actual location of where the color is being printed that could turn out to be a problem. For example, the rainbow splatter colors on the front of Image A would look much better on the back of the shirt by itself, instead of covering up the text on the front side.

Location Limitation -Managing the Number of Designs on Each Shirt

The shirt below is a great example of how too many design locations can cause a negative effect.

location limitation

There is nothing wrong with having a front and a back logo. Sometimes you will want each side of the shirt to say different things, or have totally different designs. It isn’t until you start to become repetitive, that the shirt becomes distracting. If you look at the image above, you will notice the same logo is printed twice in two different locations. Not only is this an unnecessary cost, but it takes away from the meaning of the logo itself, not to mention the design on the upper back, which doesn't seem to have a place. A better suggestion may be to include only the crossed bats at the upper back in a small print with the current year/season dates.

Font Legibility -Choosing the Smartest Fonts for your Design

The shirts below show the difference between legible, and illegible fonts.

font overload

Sometimes you will create a design that includes excessive verbiage. There are thousands of different fonts right at your fingertips and you can still be creative without your design becoming too busy. For example, the “Stay Weird” font above is fashionable and fun, without looking confusing. Using multiple font styles can add a visually appealing effect, but only if the words remain legible. The logo on the shirt on the right, consists of numerous words, all in separate fonts. Had the designer stuck with one or two fonts, the message of the artwork might not have turned unclear. The text in a design is usually an important detail, so you want to make sure people can read it clearly!

Same Screen, Different Ink -Mix it Up
varied ink

Say you only have one logo but you’re wanting to have some variety in your printed order for you to sell them online. Instead of paying to have more screens burned with additional logos, you can use the same screen and change the colors of the ink. Another great idea would be to order different colors of the shirts you’re using, to produce different color combinations. This will give your website some variety with only using one design, one color, and one style of shirt.

Save Some Details -Don’t Give it all Away

Providing some educational insight into your design is beneficial to your branding. However, it’s also a smart idea to keep a little information for the world to investigate for themselves. Providing too much detail about what your logo represents, can take away from the logo itself. You want your logo to be appealing and interesting on the eyes but you don’t want people reading your shirt like a book. If the design is intriguing enough, people will do their own research to understand your logo a little better. The more simple the design, the better!

Simple Logos with Big Personality -A Little Goes a Long Way
simple logos

There is no better payoff than being clever. People appreciate a serious design with a little added humor or creative twist. Instead of taking time to think of a drawn out and elaborate logo, use that time to think of how you can give your brand a smart and catchy look to it. Not only will your design become more unique, but it will become easier for people to relate to and recognize.

Logo Familiarity -Knowing the Brand by the Logo
familiar logos

Most companies have a “type” logo and a graphic logo, or image. When the title of your brand is recognized just by looking at your logo, you’ve made it big time. Keeping your logo separate from the actual name of your company or brand, is genius. Not only does having the logo separate from the text make it easier to read, but it gives the audience another detail to familiarize themselves with. For example, by looking at the three logos above, you will automatically recognize the names of their corresponding brands. Not only do they represent extremely successful companies, but notice how simple the logos are. This is a very powerful effect and extremely beneficial.

Use Halftones -The 2-Color Illusion

Say you want to have a multiple color design printed but it just won’t be possible with your budget. This could be a time to use halftones. Printing in halftones is a technique where shading takes place through the use of dots, creating a gradient looking effect. These dots can be of all shapes and sizes. Using this technique will allow the ink shade to appear lighter than if it were printed normally. You can also layer halftones on top of each other to change the shade or tone. Printing in halftones will give your design that 2-color look, with only the use of one single color of ink.

Utilizing the Garment Color -Ink Illusion
garment color

Another smart way to give your shirt the appearance of having more colors than it is actually printed in, is to use the color of the shirt in your design. For example, the shirt above is only a 1-color design, yet it looks like a 2-color design because the color of the shirt has been used as the text in the logo. This is a smart trick to remember when you don’t have the budget to go crazy with different colors.

Maintain your Font Count -Avoiding the Ransom Note Effect
too many fonts

Including multiple font styles in your logo is perfectly fine, as long as the design remains legible and not too crowded. Try to pick fonts that still compliment each other while being different and fun. Adding too many types of text could turn your once impressive design into a crazy looking ransom note. The key is to stick to only 2-3 fonts in order to avoid the dreaded word jumble.

The Envelope Effect -Enhance the Main Text Element
envelope effect

There is an effect in the design world called Envelope which distorts and reshapes a specific object or text in a design. Giving a warped look to one of the main elements in your design, can draw the eye to that piece of information first. It makes the selected element appear more visually appealing and interesting. Your best bet is to use the Envelope function on the name of your brand. This technique will make sure the name stands out amongst the rest of the design while giving it an an edge.

Make it Convertible-Alterations for Media
social icons

An extremely important part of designing your logo is to make sure it can be easily altered for different media purposes such as web, embroidery, business cards, banners, and stamps. In today's world, we are all about social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the most popular networks to advertise your new brand’s logo. Say you create a complex design that looks awesome on your shirts, but what happens to that logo when you try to upload it to the web? It will most likely become illegible and compact, making it impossible to make out and recognize. Creating a simple design will appear visually perfect no matter what type of media it is on. Avoiding major changes to your design is key.

The 7-Step Order Checklist for the Team Mom

seven order checklist

Right about now, you are trying to convince yourself that signing up to be Team Mom wasn’t the worst mistake of your life. Collecting the necessary information to place a team t-shirt or jersey order sounds simple, but there are imperative details you need to acquire in order to guarantee a smooth process. Say you’re looking to place an order for your son’s baseball team. The coach suggested some new game jerseys, pants, and socks would make the team look extra sharp for the big tournament coming up. The team colors are red and black, so red jerseys, white baseball pants, and black socks. Done deal, right? Unfortunately, not so much. You would be amazed at just how many different options for apparel are out there. From vest jerseys, button down jerseys, two-button jerseys, full length pants, knicker style pants, tube socks, stirrup socks… the list goes on and on. Doing a little research and collecting opinions from the team before you start your order process with a custom apparel printer, can eliminate a future headache. Take a deep breath, pour yourself some coffee, and open up your trusty friend, Google. It’s going to be okay, and we’ll provide the important steps to make sure of it.

1.) Budget

With the countless amount of apparel options involved in team ordering, it’s not hard to rack up your bill. Before you reach out to any athletic screen printer, a good idea would be to hold a meeting with the team, coaches, and parents to determine how much each party is willing to spend. From there, you will be able to come up with a set price that everyone can agree on. A budget will limit the options we’ll suggest. You wouldn’t want the team to fall in love with a specific product only to find out it’s not something the team can afford.

2.) Deadline

It is crucial to have an exact date of when you will need your order completed by. You may have an upcoming tournament out of town or you may just want to eliminate the daily calls from other parents who are excited to receive their goodies, but either way you’ll rest easier knowing exactly when your team’s custom order will be on your doorstep. There are numerous variables that can interfere with a deadline, so choosing an expert printer is one step to ensuring your success. One factor to consider is that not all products are immediately available for ordering. The products we display on the website are located very close to (or within) our print facilities to guarantee it will be printed, shipped, and delivered in time. With standard products, we offer free 10 calendar day delivery, and have options to choose faster delivery options if needed. Custom orders for specialty products may take a little longer, but knowing your deadline in advance will help everyone plan accordingly to find products that will work for your team and deadline.

3.) Styles

As you probably know by now, there are a lot of different styles of apparel available. We have several sports and performance products online, but sometimes you need something custom, and we can assist in that search for something unique. Having an idea of exactly what type of clothing products you want will not only ensure you receive exactly what you’re asking for, but will also speed up the fulfillment time. For example, say your team wants jerseys with different color trim or panels. As you can see in the picture above, there are many variations of this style. If you know of a specific brand name, style code, or color combination needed, that may help narrow down our search.

4.) Sizes

It is important to communicate whether you need youth, adult, ladies, or a mix of everything when it comes to your sizes. Let’s say you only need youth shirts, but you neglected to relay that information. We might send you an option of a shirt that you’re interested in, only to find out later that particular style isn’t available in a youth size. In a perfect world, every piece of apparel would be true to size. Unfortunately, this is hardly ever the case. Luckily, there are charts available for your convenience, to determine the perfect size for the athletes you will be ordering for. If you have a little extra time, contact us in advance to order a blank sample for your team to try on prior to ordering.

5.) Artwork

Having your artwork prepared is very important. If your team already has a standard logo that you want to use and it’s saved in the correct file format, all you would need to do is email it to us or upload the file to our design studio. The best file types are AI, EPS, CDR, or a vector PDF. From there, our artists will take over. Every artist is trained to make sure your design will look great, and will make any minor adjustments necessary, or send you a proof if bigger changes are required. If your sports team is brand new and doesn’t have a logo, or the team is wanting something fresh, the following topics will lead you to your perfect design.


An important detail to get squared away is to figure out the type of font(s) you want to include in your design. There are more fonts available than you could even imagine. Let’s say you want your logos to say “All Star” and you tell your artist you want it in a cool looking font. Well, turns out you and the artist probably have different opinions of what a “cool” font looks like. Searching online through different font websites like DaFont or Font Squirrel will allow you to find the exact name of a font you wish to use in your design and relay that to your artist. If you’re designing it yourself in our design studio, we offer a wide variety of fonts too.


The more descriptive you are with what you want your logo to look like, the better the design will turn out. If you’re vague on what you have in mind, you most likely won’t be thrilled with the outcome. There is no such thing as being too specific with how you want your design to appear. The details you provide in your art request will help us choose the best artist on our team to work with you, as they each have different styles. Shown above are two prime examples of a basic logo and an elaborate logo. If you gave limited detail to an artist and simply gave the team colors and what you want the logo to say, you may receive a mockup of something like the logo on the left. However, if you told the artist that you want something that includes wings, a skull, and a banner ribbon, you might be lucky enough to receive something like the logo on the right.


Once you have the layout of your design figured out, you’ll need to choose what color ink(s) that your team logo will be printed in. Just how there are different types of apparel and fonts, there are even more types of colors. For starters, of course you have your basic colors. If your team socks are a basic shade of red, chances are the red ink you suggest will match just fine. But what happens when the socks are a shade of blue that you just can’t describe? This is where the Pantone Matching System (PMS) comes into play. PMS colors provide a “recipe” for screen printers. Each PMS color has a set value of different colors needed to produce the color on the chart. For example, the image to the right shows just a few different PMS shades of blue. If the “bluish” socks happened to match one of the shades, all you would need to do is tell the artist that specific number.

6.) Transfers

Say you have an order in the works for some team jerseys. They are all the same style and color but each jersey gets a different name and number on the back. In production terms, these are called vinyl transfers. It is important to have a list of all correctly spelled names and numbers to upload. Transfers affect the pricing of the order, so it is critical that you relay this information from the very beginning. Withholding or changing your transfer details will also delay the production process which could end up effecting the given deadline.

7.) Payment

We advise that you don’t wait until your order is ready to start collecting payment from the team! The last thing you want to do is end up chasing money. Before the order is even started, you will be required to remit payment. Divide the total between each customer to find out how much each party owes you. Try to keep the payment method simple. If each party gives you a personal check, deposit them into your account or the team account, then pay with a credit card online.

Hopefully by using these steps, you feel more confident about getting the job done.

Being Team Mom isn’t always easy, but it’s ALWAYS worth it.

How to Design your own Game of Thrones Style Family Reunion T-Shirt

game of thrones

Game of Thrones is a wildly popular series on HBO and while it would not be described as family friendly, the prevailing theme throughout is allegiance to family or houses. The different houses feature mottos or “words” they use to describe their ideals and these extend to those under their protection.

Each house adopts heraldry or insignia to differentiate families. Obviously Game of Thrones is fiction but these devices are real and historically were used as a means to identify your allies on a field of battle.

You may already have a family motto or slogan that has been passed down through generations or maybe you need to do some research on the subject. Even if you’re family name isn’t steeped in deep history, you can adopt a family crest that you’ve designed yourself. Here are some common heraldric symbols available in our design studio found using keyword: heraldry. Other keywords to use in your clip art search are crest, banner, crowns, badge, coat of arms, and specific animal names. The traditional meaning behind them is explained below so you can incorporate what is meaningful to your family.

The Anchor
anchor clipart
Symbolizes hope in the form of religion; unyielding
The Anvil
anvil clipart
Symbolizes honor
The Apple
Symbolizes well-being, bounty
The Arrow
Symbolizes martial readiness or a willing to fight
The Barrel
Symbol of brewers
The Bear
bear clipart
Symbolizes the protector of family, strength, ferociousness
The Bee
Symbolizes hard and industrious work
The Book
Symbolizes learning and knowledge, if open; manifestation
The Castle
Symbolizes safety and protection
The Cat
Symbolizes freedom, watchfulness, precognition, and stoutheartedness
The Cross
Dependant on the type of cross but generally Christianity
The Crown
Symbolizes authority and importance
The Dragon
Symbol of the defender, gallantry
The Eagle
Symbolizes a noble protector, bravery, watchfulness
fleur de lis
Symbolizes purity and light
The Griffin
Symbolizes the protector, guardian of riches
The Hand
Symbolizes truth and justice
The Helmet
Symbolizes knowledge of defense; unbeatable, strong
The Horse
Symbolizes swiftness, readiness, and masculinity
The Lion
Symbolizes bravery, valor, and ferociousness
The Moon
Serene power over ordinary actions
The Pegasus
Symbolizes messenger from God, fame, and great activity
The Ram
Symbol for authority
The Scales of Justice
scale of justice
Symbolizes justice
The Snake
Symbolizes wisdom
The Stag
Symbolizes peace and harmony unless provoked
The Sword
Symbolizes justice and honor in battle

Below are a few t-shirt mockups to showcase how easy it is to design your very own Game of Thrones style t-shirt for family reunions or events.

family reunion tee with bees
dragon family reunion tshirt
tee with snake

Family mottos are either something you have or something you can author yourself. Researching family genealogy sites can reveal general motto’s attached to well-known surnames. But in the spirit of creating a Game of Thrones themed family reunion shirt, here are some slogans you can use or combine parts of many for something original.

  • Boldness and Devotion
  • We Live in Faith
  • By Sea and By Land
  • By Faith and Toil
  • Mindful of God, Faithful to Friends
  • By Virtue and Oaths
  • Loyalty Keeps Me
  • Let us Pursue Higher Things
  • Generous and Forgiving
  • Patriotism Guides Me
  • Fortune Favors the Brave
  • After Clouds, Light
  • Bravely Go
  • Always Faithful
  • Always Thriving
  • Never Backwards

Customer Spotlight: Going Full Throttle with Joey’s Garage DIY and Product Review Videos

customer's t-shirt

Being curious who our customers are and what motivates them is part of our culture. We’ve learned over time that behind every t-shirt order there is a story. Sometimes it’s a story of a family or a fundraiser or an event. But frequently, it’s a story of branding. We love interacting with our community via social channels so when we got multiple shout outs from the creator of Joey's Garage we had to do some investigation. Joey is self-admittedly not an online social networking person by nature but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from the following he has on Twitter and his You Tube Channel which focuses on DIY mechanical instruction and product reviews.

Building a personal brand is a concept that is becoming more commonplace and we’re astounded at how quickly his brand has grown and the steps taken to develop it. We asked him some questions about his background and the driving force of Joey’s Garage as a personal project.

What is the motivation behind launching Joey’s Garage YouTube Channel?

"There are several factors that inspired me to launch a YouTube channel.

I love helping others, and I love the satisfaction of fixing something broken. I'm the type of guy that people come to when they are having mechanical problems. On numerous occasions I have had friends and neighbors knock on my door saying something was wrong with their vehicle. Just like a commercial mechanic, I would tell them to roll it in my garage, and start fixing the problem. Numerous times after helping those friends and neighbors they said I should be a mechanic as a part-time job. But that isn't possible with my full time job, wife, and kid.

I am also a member of online motorbike forums. Members ask for help and others reply with answers. I found with the more complicated answers, a video is easier to understand than typed words on a screen. The concept of helping others with instructional videos started increasing my interest.

Sometimes when I need help fixing something I check YouTube to see if others have had the same problem and what the solution was. I understand I don't know everything. And there are several YouTube channels that I watch regularly that deal with project cars and bikes, typical mechanic car work, and scientific answers of why cars/bikes do what they do and the physics behind them.

So combining all those factors, the concept of "Joey's Garage" was born."

What is the history behind your passion for motorbike restoration and repair?

"My latest project, a motorcycle restoration, started because I wanted to adventure outside my comfort zone. The smaller engines, ATVs and scooters I feel I've mastered, so to expand my knowledge and appeal on YouTube, a motorcycle restoration was an obvious progression."

What is your favorite type of DIY project?

"My favorite type of project is product testing and review. So far everything for my channel has been self-financed, so if I am able to buy a product to test the claims of the manufacturer, I will continue. That way another person can make an informed decision on what automotive products to use. And I also love developing and testing a review process, and I try to make it as scientific as possible."

Which has been your favorite video to make so far?

"I do get a lot of positive feedback for my instructional videos and product reviews. I also get some constructive criticism which I listen to in order to improve. The materials and concepts of each video are also dependent upon how much can be budgeted for the video. As the brand, business model, and budget evolves over time, more detailed tests and instructional videos can be done."

What do you like most about the motorbike community?

"The one thing I like the most about the motorbike community is the overwhelming acceptance of others. Whether it's a small engine scooter or a large engine motorcycle, the entire community looks out for each other since we all understand the vulnerability motorbike riders face upon the road."

Why did you order custom t-shirts for Joey’s Garage?

"The main reason I decided to order custom t-shirts was to continue to develop and establish a brand for myself. When I first started the channel, I had several DIY Network shirts that I had previously won from the TV network’s contest. I usually didn't wear them day to day, but thought they were a perfect fit for the concept of my channel since I want to empower others to fix things for themselves. The shirts started wearing out, so instead of continuing to advertise someone else's brand I decided to establish my own. Models have shown that branding is essential for any business or YouTube channel to maintain the whole image of an adventure."

joey's garage tools