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The Fine Print: Let's talk about tees!

Rush Order T-Shirts - How did it come to This?

At some point in your life you may have need to buy something in a rush for various reasons. Normally, going to a store and purchasing ready-made merchandise is no biggie; it’s designed to be an off-the-shelf purchase. However if you need anything custom made-to-order, requiring production in a rush situation will cost more than it normally would. Here’s why. When you order rush t-shirts or any other personalized product, it doesn’t just require a rush shipping charge.

together we create

Prioritizing orders and making a production schedule is how t-shirt companies are able to make deadlines consistently. A disruption in that order requires careful evaluation of the orders on the schedule to make sure the balance can be maintained to fulfill all orders as promised. When rush orders require t-shirt companies to bump other orders, production has to over compensate to make up time. It may require screen printers to switch orders to other screen presses which involve more labor and possibly paying overtime compensation to employees.

Product availability is another factor that impacts rush t-shirt printing prices. To allow for a wide range of product choices, these apparel products will not be stored in-house. Rather the apparel product is ordered from the supplier in the amount needed, colors needed, and sizes needed specific to each and every order. Pulling these items from a warehouse shelf in front of other standard orders causes an upset in the supplier’s workday. Shipping the items sometimes same day or even within hours will incur charges that are passed onto the screen printer.

Of course the actual shipping costs do come into factoring rush order t-shirt pricing. If a customer needs shirts in 3 days, making that happen often requires overnight shipping which can be a substantial cost. Adding up all of the things that can impact the cost of rush order t-shirts certainly makes a good argument for avoiding postponement when ordering t-shirts. However, sometimes life gets in the way and it becomes a necessity. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons we see customers needing to order t-shirts using our rush option.

Qualifying Athletes for Nationals
qualifying athletes

Sometimes a short turnaround time is unavoidable. One instance we see is when an athlete qualifies for a national athletic competition and that competition is less than 10-days away. The customer won’t know the quantity or sizes needed until the qualifying athletes place high enough to move onto the next round. In this scenario, the customer may already have a general design in mind but will also need to add names and numbers of the athlete to complete the team aesthetic.

Birthday Party Procrastination
birthday party

Coming up with party favors everyone will appreciate can seem like an easy task with so many options to choose from. But a truly customized experience may be at the top of the wish list for the host and the guest of honor. You might get last minute inspiration or suggestions from birthday party invitees to use a funny picture of the birthday boy or girl. Popular birthday party t-shirt themes can also relate to milestone ages like sweet sixteen, legal twenty-one, dirty thirty, and fierce at forty. Eleventh hour sparks of imagination can make the difference between bland and unforgettable when it comes to birthday bashes.

Ordering the Wrong Size

We’ve all misjudged our size from time to time. Sizing can vary from product to product. We’ve seen this issue mostly when it comes to junior and youth sizes. A junior XL can fit more like a ladies medium in some cases. If the printed shirt arrives and the fit feels like a sausage casing, you might want to reconsider the product type and size for the reprint. At times there is simply a lack of communication when ordering for a group and the wrong size may be relayed to you and ordered. It’s times like these when a rush order t-shirt printer comes in very handy.

Not Ordering Enough Shirts

If you’ve ever been tasked to order personalized clothing for a team, company, or an event, you know how easy it is to let someone fall through the cracks. Let’s say you’re ordering for a company and the new guy started after the call for t-shirt sizes went out to all the employees, now you need one shirt for the upcoming annual company picnic. While it’s not ideal to pay full price for a digitally printed shirt instead of a bulk screen print order, at least there is that option.

Totally Forgetting to Order Shirts

You’ve got your checklist, the venue’s been booked, the caterer has confirmed, the band has sent you their playlist, what else is there to be concerned about? You wake up in the middle of the night with a jolt because you just realized you didn’t order the event t-shirts! What to do? We’ve experienced this scenario many times not just for events, but for all types of occasions. The first step is to make sure all of the information required is communicated to make this quick turnaround time happen and you have your shirts in hand for the event. We’ll need the design, the apparel product choice, the number of shirts required, and the sizes. That’s it. With our lightning shipping time, we can get your shirts to you in as little as 3 business days to avoid disaster.

save the day

Whatever your reason is for requiring rush order t-shirt printing, we’ve seen it all and will do our best to accommodate your needs to save the day. Luckily our customer service team has extensive knowledge on products, pricing, printing techniques, and shipment capabilities to roll with the punches no matter how fast they come.

Best Places to Play Soccer in the Phoenix Valley

Soccer has been slowly gaining popularity in the U.S. and will certainly take over traditionally dominant sports as the younger generation embraces this thrilling game. There’s been a lot of debate as to why soccer didn’t catch on fire in the U.S. when national sports were forming in the late 19th and early 20th century.

soccer field

It’s been said there is only so much capacity to adopt a sport on a countrywide level and of course the ability to unite behind teams on a communal level will impact its ability to thrive. So what’s changed recently in the U.S. that no longer inhibits the development of passion behind this game?

There are a couple schools of thought on this. Most would agree that David Beckham made a huge impact on how soccer is viewed as whole. Not only is he a phenomenal player, but his sex appeal certainly caught and held the attention span of the notoriously fickle U.S. audience. All of sudden young boys were looking at his fame, the money that always follows, and his ability to attract the attention of one of the members of the super-hot all girl groups of the 90’s, The Spice Girls.

His move to LA Galaxy further bolstered U.S. attention as we felt that it was a significant win to lure him here even at legendary costs and unprecedented perks. Of course LA Galaxy understood what the deal would mean for them and as ticket sales soared, so did purchases of Galaxy jerseys, even before Beckham officially claimed number 23 for his personal soccer jersey.

Cristiano Ronaldo is another player that garners attention on a massive level because of his sex appeal. But there have always been attractive looking players in the sport in peak physical condition. So what else might have changed the way people view the sport?

Social media has changed the way we consume information. Previously we relied on the news and our local community of friends and friends to influence how we thought about current events in the world. Now, ideas, concepts, trends, fashion, and just about everything else can be communicated and shared within seconds.

soccer goal

What happens across the world can immediately be experienced and commented upon to further the story. We are certainly more of a global community than ever before. Friends we meet from South America and Europe while attending college are not reduced to distant memories after graduation. We keep up with them every day on Facebook and Instagram and they share significant happenings in their lives. As with Americans consuming and sharing their passion for football, basketball, and baseball, foreign influencers are likewise sharing their passion for soccer. So the interest grows.

soccer player

As soccer is wildly popular in South America and the population of Hispanic-American’s continues to develop, it’s natural that the most loved sport would expand outside of this population segment and envelop the interests of their friends and acquaintances.

Soccer has recently become more popular with the elementary and high school age athletes which will have a far reaching impact on the future. As these children mature, they will most likely maintain an interest in the sport which commands access to watch professional teams play. As the demand for the ability to watch professional teams grows, the money follows hard behind with advertisers vying for slots and spaces to share their message with this growing fan base.

soccer field closeup

Playing locally in the Phoenix Valley has never been more appealing with lots of opportunities for amateur players that simply love the sport. One of the more competitive local leagues is Scottsdale United Amateur Soccer League. They play in fields across North and South Scottsdale. You can register as team or enlist as a Free Agent to be connected with other local competitive players looking to recruit team members and be challenged.

Arizona Sports League offers adult soccer leagues that play throughout the week but also leagues that play over the weekend, perfect for working professionals. Since it’s a venue for intramural sports, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to meet other athletes beyond just soccer players including lacrosse, volleyball, kickball, dodgeball, flag football, and even sloshball, if you’re looking to combine fun with other athletic minded individuals who like to drink.

Small Goal Soccer is very good for skilled or amateur players as there are different levels of competition. From D1 down to Coed which has a good mix of younger, older, good, bad, in shape, and out of shape players. It’s a pretty welcoming community.

While the Phoenix Valley is ideal most of the year for outdoor sports, summertime can be pretty brutal. While some soccer facilities do early morning and night games, obviously indoor soccer becomes quite popular as temperatures soar into the 100’s.

Indoor soccer is viewed as being more on the competitive side. A lot of people say it's harder than outdoor soccer because it's basically like hockey. Fast paced with all the same dynamics so you have to be able to sprint a lot and pass well since you’re bounded by walls. Indoor soccer venues are located throughout the Valley, but we have a few favorites as some of our staff and family members play there.

Phoenix Sports Centre offers the only full-regulation size indoor soccer field in the Valley which says a lot. It’s quite popular with ambitious players seeking to keep the competition fierce. Another perk is that its family owned and it’s always a nice feeling to support local businesses.

Last, but certainly not least is Big League Dreams in Gilbert, AZ. They have a great facility and offer three standings for adult soccer leagues, bronze, silver, and gold. It’s a family friendly park with a playground and after the game you can enjoy a tasty meal in the Stadium Club restaurant.

Of course we offer performance wear choices for custom soccer jerseys and uniforms that will make your league look outstanding wherever you play in the Phoenix Valley. If you can't find what you're looking for on the website, we have access to thousands of products that are not listed on the website so give us a call. Even super casual players can appreciate a custom t-shirt with the league’s logo or name to bolster team spirit.

The Insiders Guide to Fonts

Design A Shirt offers a wide variety of fonts to choose from. With multiple choices of fonts in 12 different categories, you are sure to find one or several that will make your design outstanding. However, even with all of the options, choosing your font and using it to its full potential can be challenging, which is why we created this helpful guide to answer commonly asked questions.

font categories
Is the Font Legible?

When deciding what kind of font to use, it is important to make sure that the text will remain legible once it’s screen printed or embroidered if legibility is your goal.

If you’re only concerned about creating an artistic feel, legibility may not be your main priority. Most people are including text in a design for one reason, for others to read. In this case, your goal is to avoid people asking you what the text says, and eliminate the need for people to stare at your design to try and make sense of it. You also want to make sure that the text remains easy to read at a distance. You don’t want the wording on your design to only be legible when you are directly in front of it. Legibility depends on details such as the complexity of the font, (think scripts and hand written styles,) the sizing, and the color.


is the font too thin

While thin fonts may look decent and easy to read on the computer or on different types of print such as postcards, pins, and banners, you need to imagine what it will look like once it’s printed in ink on a shirt or piece of apparel. If you just plan on having one word printed fairly big across a shirt, a thin font might work for you. However, if your design includes small text, it is best to avoid using thin fonts in most cases. A better choice would be a thicker, bolder font so the message is easier to understand and read for those who view it.

NOTE: During the printing process on darker colored apparel, there is an underbase color (usually white or a light color) that is printed before the color of the font is printed on top. The reason for the underbase is to give the top color a brighter look. The underbase color is flashed, or dried directly after it is printed. That underbase color then acts as a block between the shirt color and the color of the top layer. This process introduces a risk when using very thin fonts. If you choose a thin font, it will be more challenging to print it without any underbase color showing.

Does the font fit the theme of your design/brand?

Your design has personality. Fonts have them too! Some fonts are generic and plain, some are cute and friendly, and others are intense and loud. It is important to choose fonts based on the personality of your brand or messaging. For example, if you opened a bakery and you are in the middle of creating a design for the company, choosing a soft, happy font (Example A) over a staccato font (Example B) can help to express your business. The look of your design reflects the vibe of your brand, therefore you want them to relate to one another. The type of font(s) incorporated into your message and logo give people an idea of your vision.

puffy v stacatto
Are script fonts being used correctly?

Script or cursive fonts are great when used appropriately. Just like how thin fonts look best on paper, the same goes for script fonts. The width and complexity of the script font are the two aspects you need to keep in mind when it comes to screen printing or digital printing. Remember, the text will be printed in ink which has the tendency to bleed or expand a little bit. Choosing a script font where the letters are extremely close together could introduce problems with legibility, therefore making it a challenge to make out what the text says. A big industry no-no is using a script font in all caps. It’s like nails down a chalkboard in the design world. Script fonts can work in your favor, but we do recommend that you choose carefully to ensure that the printed outcome meets your expectations.

If using multiple fonts, do they visually work together?

Including numerous types of fonts in your design can either work nicely, or not work at all. Some fonts share similarities in the sense that they are simple, easy to read, and have similar appearances. However, if you are going to intermix fonts, your best bet is to make them significantly different from one another. If you have two kinds of similar fonts next to each other, it becomes visually confusing and misleading. However, there are many wacky fonts that just won’t pair nicely with certain fonts without changing the meaning or look of the message completely. A great way to add a slight yet beneficial difference is to use the same font but have some words in bold or bigger than the others. This will switch up the look.


serif v sans serif

Serif fonts have decorative details at the ends of some of the strokes that make up a letter or symbol. These details look like tiny lines coming off of certain ends. Serif fonts seem to be easier to read because the letters are more distinctive and more recognisable. Therefore, they make great font options for the use of screen printing. Sans Serif fonts do not have these details and are typically well suited for text on the web. However, Sans Serif fonts can be used very creatively in many designs. It all depends on the style you're looking to achieve.


font color

Legibility and ink color go hand-in-hand. It all depends on the look you are going for on your printed shirt. If legibility is your priority, it is best to choose an ink color that contrasts well with your shirt color. This will allow the words to POP and be easily read when worn. If you are going for a tonal look, choosing an ink in a similar tone to your shirt color could render a desirable outcome.

With digital print, the ink absorbs more into the fibers of the shirts. If an ink color is too close to a fabric color, it could get lost in the shirt fibers and may not really be seen. With screen print, we have more of an opportunity to make the ink/fabric color combo work together.

Are you sizing your font(s) correctly?

While designing your logo on the computer, keep in mind that the end result will be significantly larger once it is burned on a screen and printed on a garment. Imagine the front of a t-shirt as your canvas instead of a blank page on your screen. Our design studio allows you to upload your artwork, resize the logo, and place it where you want it to be printed on the shirt. If you have very specific requirements, you can add design notes detailing the exact size you want the logo to be printed and precise placement from the hem or collar if warranted.

A great tip is to print out your finished logo, cut it out, and tape it to the a piece of apparel similar to what you’re intending to have printed.. This way, you are able to get a better visible idea of what the sizing will look like printed on the finished product.


font moods

With so many different font categories, we offer the ability to sense the mood or emotion from different types. Some are dainty and subtle, some have crazy detail to add a decorative effect, and some are bold and demanding. Choosing a type of font depends on what kind of mood you are trying to convey. It is also important to choose a font that will connect with the audience associated with your logo or brand. Is it a fun group? A serious/professional group? A group of a specific age range? Think about what will be the most fitting look for the type of people who will be interested in your designs. Always keep your audience in mind.

What fonts work best for both Screen Printing and Embroidery?

Some designers will want to use the same exact font for their screen printed and embroidery goods. Normally there will not be a problem with this unless the font you want to use is extremely detailed. Accomplishing detailed, clean work is easier with ink than with thread. Adding too much detail in the embroidery can affect the quality of the finished product. Your best bet is to keep it simple with embroidery.

go for it
Don’t be afraid to be different.

Don’t let the fear of design complications steer you away from creating something unique. The best way to find the perfect font is by trial and error. Choose a bunch of different options, type out what your text will say, then line them all up and let your creative eye choose which one looks the best. Depending on the design, sometimes it’s smart to play it safe and keep things simple, but if you are excited about your design and want to make a powerful impact, go beyond the safe zone! Being unique is the first step to being remembered, and when it comes to t-shirt design, that’s the one thing you want to be.

One significant feature of Design A Shirt is the free to use studio where you can experiment with a t-shirt mockup and save different iterations of your work to compare the results. If need be, you are able to take a break and come back to it once you think of some new inspiration!

shirt picture

How to Create and Manage your Custom Apparel Retail Website

Congratulations! You've come up with outstanding designs and started your clothing line, you want to sell your shirts online, but aren’t quite sure what’s next. We’ve worked with some phenomenal clothing lines, from fledglings in the industry to well established professionals so we have a lot of shared experience in the custom apparel for retail arena. We want to offer our expertise to help you reach your goals so here are your steps to create and manage your custom apparel retail website.

WEBSITE PLATFORMS AND BUILDERS

These are few recommendations to start with. Really think through every function you’re looking to provide to your customers and review if the solution can handle it. If one service does not offer it all, be prepared to seek custom alternatives, but be aware that web developers and programmers can be quite pricey.

Squarespace is relatively easy to use and offers an all-in-one solution to handle inventory, packing slips, coupons, order processing, and secure checkout. We’ve personally used this platform and think it’s pretty solid, plus they offer a slew of templates. Shopify is well-known and comes with 1st class support and is super easy to work with. WordPress (with ecommerce plugins) is a highly customizable option, but be ready for a higher learning curve and more maintenance requirements. Wix is a really affordable option and it’s easy to use but we’d say it’s probably the least sophisticated of the options here. If you offer custom apparel for organizations, Tilt is highly recommended for order detail documentation.

retail website template
LAYOUT

You want your website to be appealing, yet simple and easy to navigate. If you’re using a template, you may not be able to customize very much, and alternatively, customization may require some web developing skills. If you have too much going on such as images, text, and links, it can become overwhelming which may scare away a potential customer. Make your brand the focal point. Whether it’s your brand’s logo at the top of the page, or the brand name with a little background information on the company, make it the first thing your customers see when they land on your site.

Another great idea is to have some kind of intro page that pops up with an offer or a featured product. You can also create a short slideshow or video of people wearing certain products from the brand, including the brand name. This not only creates interest, it shows that the brand is legitimate, creative, organized, and professional. Your goal is to make your customers fall in love with your website before they are able to fall in love with what you have to offer them.

NAVIGATION & ORGANIZATION

When it comes to the navigation on your website, don’t make it too complicated. It’s one thing to have unique ways of accessing links, such as a drop down box of options, but you don’t want the options to be completely hidden. When setting up your website, using direct links for categories will help keep your items organized and manageable. As a customer, having direct links at their convenience will allow them to shop easier and focus on the product by limiting the results. For example, if a visitor is looking to buy a tank top and the website has all the merchandise combined on a single page, it can make it hard to find a specific product. Creating links that list the specific types of apparel will solve this problem and make it easier on the customer to sort through what they wish to view.

retail website navigation
INCENTIVES

A great way to draw your customer's attention is to create some kind of urgency. Whether it’s a deal that will only last a certain amount of time, limited edition products, a popular products page, or a clearance section, incentives will attract customers and give them more of a reason to purchase from your company.

retail incentives

GARMENT SPECIFICATION

As the supplier, you know what types of apparel you are selling. You know the look, material, and feel to each of your products, however your customers do not. Giving specific details for each item will allow the customer to have a better understanding of what they are potentially going to buy. If you just list a picture of a t-shirt without any description of the material, they might move along to another source because it wasn’t clear what they would be getting.

product specifications

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!

SIZE CHARTS
clothing size charts

Apparel sizes differ wherever you go. Whether it be because of the fabric type, or the way a manufacturer designs their apparel, you will never be the same size in absolutely everything you buy and wear. With this being said, a helpful idea would be to add a size chart for each product as a guide for your customers. This way, your customers will know for sure that they have ordered the correct size and feel confident in what they purchased. Not only does adding a size chart help with the overall experience, it will avoid potential order exchanges and returns due to sizing issues.

STOCK MANAGEMENT
inventory

No matter where you receive your blank product from, keeping track of your stock quantities and colors is imperative. Checking with the manufacturer of the apparel weekly and updating the quantities available per item on your site will eliminate the hassle of customers requesting refunds or exchanges because the product they purchased was not available. Managing this will keep you on top of things, while providing the best service and consideration for your online shoppers. Remember, from the second your customers place their order, they are excited to receive their goods. You don’t want anything to interfere with the happiness of your customers!

COLOR ACCURACY
color accuracy

An important detail to remember is that your customers are expecting to receive exactly what the product looks like on your website. It is important to showcase your product colors appropriately. If someone orders what looks like a pink shirt and receives something closer to purple, chances are they won’t be happy. The best way to avoid color confusion is to post a picture of the actual garment, in addition to color swatches available to each product. However, colors swatches on a computer screen can be misleading and look different from the color of an actual garment so it’s important to add a disclaimer stating this.

PRODUCT VISUALIZATION
familiar logos

A helpful addition to your website would be a way for your customers to filter through your products when they know exactly what they are looking for. For example, if they were looking for a 100% cotton material shirt, they could look for that link under the fabrication tab, and it will sort through all merchandise and only show options in that type of material. This eliminates having customers search through multiple pages to find what they’re wanting.

UNDERSTANDABLE PRICING
apparel pricing

When a customer comes to your site and gets excited to make a purchase, the last thing you want is to scare them away with confusing prices. Two things to keep in mind are prices per size and the cost of shipping. Sometimes not all shirt sizes will be the same price. One example of this would be if a size has more fabric content, such as a plus size shirt, but that is not always the only case.

Product manufacturers will use supply and demand principles to generate pricing, and if a size such as a children’s extra small is not in high demand, they will reduce supply and/or charge a premium price for manufacturing in smaller batches. As long as you are up front with the price per size, your customers won’t feel blindsided. Additionally, shipping costs can sometimes deter a potential customer from completing their checkout. Make sure your shipping prices are fair and reasonable, and if possible, offer a flat-rate fee. Many retail operations offer a set price, such as $10, to ship any amount of product, and list that clearly on homepages or product pages. Some e-commerce platforms allow you to set up several tiers of pricing, including offering free shipping if a customer spends a certain amount on products.

DESIGNS

It is important to have a clear representation of exactly what kind of embellishment is included on your products. Along with having a picture of the embellished garment on a real person, a great way to show it in detail would be to have a second picture of the design zoomed in so it is clear to see. This will give your customer a much better view of what their purchase will look like. Stating the dimensions of the design would also be helpful so the customer knows what to expect when they receive their products. The more detail, the better understanding your customers will have.

ORDER CONFIRMATION

When your customer is finished ordering and is ready to proceed to the web cart, it is extremely important that their confirmation is accurate and easy to understand. Your customer will most likely look at the confirmation and sort through each and every detail to make sure they ordered the correct sizes, quantities, and colors. The payment is the final step of the order, you wouldn’t want anything to become confusing at the very last step of the shopping experience and they abandon the purchase. You want your customers to feel assured that their orders are complete, correct, and headed their way so providing the customer the ability to track their orders helpful. Everyone wants to know when to expect their order!

WEBSITE CHECKUPS
envelope effect

Even if you think you have mastered online retail and don’t believe any changes could be made to improve your website, viewing your online store frequently will help ensure that it is up and running properly. A beneficial tip as a site designer would be to go through each step of the order process as if you were a customer. By doing that, you can personally experience what your buyers go through while visiting your site. This will help to identify issues and spark new ideas to update and improve certain aspects of your store. Reviewing your competition is another great resource for inspiration and understanding what doesn’t work. Lastly, check your website on different browsers as well as on mobile devices like phones and tablets, to ensure customers have a good experience at all times.

MANAGING AN ONLINE RETAIL STORE CAN BE A LOT OF TEDIOUS WORK, BUT IF YOU DO IT RIGHT, THE OUTCOME WILL BE WELL WORTH IT. SHOP ON.