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The Fine Print: Let's talk about tees!

Dressing up the Humble T-Shirt

We’ve all seen the crazy runway trends of 2016, the boob belt, dried flowers in place of lipstick, and patterns that resemble a 1970’s explosion. Plenty of times fashion goes too far. But even when fashion is trying to be serious, who has the body to pull it off and bank account to finance it?

Top fashion designers are pushing the high end graphic tee with price tags ranging from $400 to $1000 plus dollars. The Kylie Jenners’ and Kim Kardashians’ of the world propel fashion trends and somehow get people to follow their style even if it looks bad on them. We love a good t-shirt, but that oversized t-shirt dress look has got to go!

Instead, we want to feature some classy looks that require very little other than some creativity, a few well-chosen accessories, and an open mind on ideas for dressing up the humble t-shirt. It could save you a boatload of money and keep your dignity in check. Here are some looks we aggregated via Instagram.

Add a scarf

A photo posted by Andrezza Cruz (@dezzacruz) on

Scarves have become a fashion staple for both men and women. Scarves come in many different materials like silk, cotton, wool, and linen. The infinity style scarf is probably the easiest to fashion with a t-shirt since it doesn’t even require a knot or fancy wrapping.

Wear a bold necklace

Graphic tees are still pretty hot but you’ll often see them accessorized in fashion shoots with bold statement necklaces. The right piece of jewelry can dress up an otherwise plain outfit, particularly if combined with a high heel.

Wear a t-shirt with a blazer

A photo posted by CRISP T-SHIRT CLUB (@crisp.la) on

A blazer can class up almost anything, including jeans and a t-shirt. There are really only a few rules such as keep it a close fit and avoid twill weaves since it is too similar to blue jean material.

Wear a t-shirt with a pencil skirt

You might remember when only geeks wore t-shirts with skirts but it has really become quite a thing. It’s fashionable right now tucked into a high waist.

Wear a t-shirt with a flouncy skirt

A photo posted by Tracy V. (@ruffles.to.roe) on

The total opposite of pencil is the flouncy look but you can see it looks really lovely on a curvy figure. The hat is an added touch that brings the look together and the pockets are so fun!

6 T-Shirt Designers for Social Good

Selling what you support is easier than selling who you are. Asking for support for causes that you feel passionate about is usually easier when you’re able to involve the donor emotionally. People like to feel good about themselves as it involves their identity. Even if they sympathize with the cause, getting people to part from their money is often easier done when it’s more of an exchange. We’ve found a list of 6 t-shirt designers for social good that are doing just that and very well. Here’s some information about their causes and how they are successfully elevating worthy causes in conjunction with marketing their talents, ideologies and brands.

The artist only identified as Olivia is probably the most grass roots style supporter in this post. She heard about the story of Malala and used her artistic abilities to design and hand print t-shirts to help the Malala Fund. Learning how to print with the labor intensive method called linocut printing, she was able to raise over $700 to help spread the inspirational movement Malala ignited. Malala’s story is an amazing one. The young Pakistani girl was targeted for death by the Taliban after it was revealed she was the author of a blog defending the rights of Pakistani girls to receive an education. She was shot in the head but survived and went on to be an global advocate for girls that are denied access to education because of political, religious, or social factors. Olivia, the artist and designer of the t-shirt was featured on the Malala Fund Blog for her efforts. #YesAllGirls

Arm the Animals was established following the death of the founder’s sister, a lifetime pet rescuer and advocate for animals. When initially forming, the company developed relationships with organizations by attending all sorts of animal advocacy events. With the intention of making the most significant impact possible, the company focusses on donating part of their revenue to smaller animal rescue organizations.

The t-shirt designs that Arm the Animals develop are intended to be thought provoking without being politically motivated since the people that care about animals are highly diverse.

Through the magic of social media and the power of word of mouth, they attracted star followers like Jessica Alba and Taylor Kinney. Their designs may appear provocative to many but the intention is raise awareness. A cat with a grenade or wolf behind the site of a rifle makes a powerful and memorable statement. #armtheanimals

The Parative Project was started so it could provide dignified work as an alternative for people trapped, tricked, and sold by their family into the sex trade. Human trafficking and poverty devastates the lives of millions. The project tells a story backwards as their designs are meant to fortify and empower the makers of the tees while helping them to develop work skills and grow their business through the freedom of employment. #theparativeproject

#enditmovement photo: @abigaildriscoll

A photo posted by Drew Oxley (@parative) on

The Word Changes is based out of Boston and uses single printed words on their t-shirts to convey positive action, thought, and motivation. Words have different meanings to people so the impact can be vary on the person who wears the design and the person who reads it. The line features power words like success, courage, and fearless. Two-thirds of the profits go towards supporting children and young adults with issues like hunger and the pursuit of higher education. The founder of The Word Changes, Antoinette Rodney, is passionate about motivating change in her local community and also features uplifting stories from all over on the company’s blog. #thewordchanges #oneWord

You can do it! #VICTORY✌

A photo posted by oneWORD at a time! (@thewordchanges) on

Vivid Roots was started by four best friends from Idaho to address the lack of access to clean drinking water for nearly 1 billion people in the world. Children are the most vulnerable to sickness and death caused by dirty water they ingest. Currently Vivid Roots works to provide clean water through the development of wells and distribution systems in Guatemala and Ecuador. They’ve partnered with Rotary clubs that match every donation sourced from their t-shirt sales by x7! Beyond providing lifesaving access to clean water, they work with local contractors to implement these systems which boost the local economies. #WaterForLife #LiveVividly

Cotopaxi is all about sustainable poverty alleviation. They’ve identified issues that need to be addressed to make change happen but more importantly sustain the recovery including health, education and the ability to make a living. The groups, communities, and partners they work with must exhibit the ability to scale, report, and most importantly, make a positive impact with the support they receive. A minimum of 10% of their profit goes to its nonprofit partners. Their products are high quality and affordable which allows people with varying budgets to do something for others while purchasing a cool piece of gear. #GearForGood #Cotopaxi

Helpful Ideas to Organize and Promote Successful Events

Planning an event whether big or small can result in a lot of pressure. There are so many details to remember and plan for like ordering food, choosing engaging activities, organizing vendors, ordering promotional and event schwag, and of course managing guest invitations and communication. Many of the customers that come to us to order custom shirts are doing so because they are planning an event. So here is a list of helpful ideas to assist and inspire you in your event planning journey.

event planning

Use event management software like Odoo – There is a free and premium version. For free event management software, Odoo offers robust functionality and is suitable for conferences, festivals, charity, and exhibition events. Users are able to sell tickets online and even customize ticket prices. Of course there is a fee to process payments. If you’re willing to spend a little money, Planning Pod includes a ton of incredible planning and management options. You’ll find a to-do’s manager that helps keep track of event tasks and even offers templated lists, plus floorplans, seating charts, lists, itineraries, time tracking, and even a custom event website! Pretty impressive for $9.99 a month if you’re planning a single event!

Compare and choose the best local caterer with Thumbtack - This website guides you through a series of questions to determine which caterers in their database would be the best to help with your specific needs. Once you define your requirements, a list of possible matches will reach out to you. Its then up to you to continue discussions with the candidates you are most interested in. Depending on how long the caterer has been offering their services on Thumbtack, reviews for previous work may be available to help you make your decision.

event caterer

Choosing engaging activities for your event will of course greatly depend upon the type of event you’re organizing. If you’re not sure exactly what will interest your event attendees, you can always consider introducing some experimental that will at least give your guests something to talk about. If you’re looking to incentivize social buzz, Photoboxx gives guests a reason to talk about your event. In exchange for a social post with your event’s designated hashtag, attendees get an instant download of the picture they posted, plus you can brand the pics with your logo or any image you want to include on the print out.

Schwag Bag - You are reading a blog about event planning on DesignAShirt.com so of course we’re going to say that custom t-shirts are the best possible schwag to offer your event attendees. But you don’t have to limit party goodies to t-shirts. Promotional items can be related to the purpose, the theme, or even the location of your event. Consider alternative products like stickers, branded toys like Frisbees or water guns, and immediately useful items such as reusable water bottles. Even though they are not featured on our website, we can source and deliver thousands of personalized promotional items. Remember to order any custom items well in advance of your event to avoid additional costs for expedited orders.

schwag tshirt

If you need tables and chairs, depending on the type of event, you may be able to borrow from your local school or church. If renting is in order, it’s important to examine the rented items upon arrival and review the paperwork closely so you don’t incur additional fees.

If you find yourself shorthanded on warm bodies to get the party set up, consider posting a notice at the local university or community college. In exchange for their help, they can attend the party and hey, free food and drinks!

If you’re artistically challenged, check out Canva to make professional looking designs and documents. Canva’s entire platform is built around its user’s ability to make beautiful, shareable designs for the web and print with zero design capabilities. However experiences graphic designers will also appreciate the flexibility in pinch.

canva example

Promoting your event on the usual social channels is expected. A Facebook event requires a snappy and descriptive name with a thorough description. Remember to use a great looking photo at the recommended dimensions of 1920x1080 pixels or 16:9 aspect ratio. Never underestimate the power of proper tagging so Facebook can recommend your event to those with similar interests.

If you do have sponsors, you can co-host the event on Facebook and hopefully your sponsor will co-promote the event as well with a boost or at least pin the event to the top of their business page.

Instagram is invaluable if your event is targeted towards a younger crowd. With this channel again, the visual element is key to the success of the promotion. Since Instagram doesn’t support links in the post descriptions, be sure to include a link to your event website in your profile and consider making up an event specific hashtag to spice it up.

Also consider industry specific channels that may allow for event announcement, particularly if you’re selling tickets. If you have sponsors for your event, ask them to co-promote the event on their social channels and newsletters.

Custom T Shirts Cheap

The cost of printing custom t shirts is often the number one factor in deciding whether to go with one t-shirt printer over the other. To answer the question of where to get t shirts made for cheap without sacrificing quality presents a challenge if you’re not familiar with t-shirt printers. Making the right decision can impact how your judgement is perceived by family, teammates, or even your boss, so it’s no wonder that choosing can cause some anxiety.

quality printers

What factors into making custom t shirts cheap or expensive? There are two major aspects that influence the cost per piece of custom decorated apparel. The number of colors used in the design and the product the design is going to be printed on.

Some very cheap t-shirt printers do not disclose the type or brand name of the t-shirt that will be used in the price per item, or they only offer unfamiliar products. If you’re unfamiliar with t-shirt products, you may not understand that a really poor quality t-shirt will affect the likelihood that the shirt will make it through the wash a few times. T-shirt printers are rarely t-shirt manufacturers but a reputable printer will have a deep knowledge of quality products. If you receive custom printed shirts and the hems are sewn crooked or they are unraveling, alarm bells should be ringing.

washing clothes

If you’re planning on placing a large order or if a lot is riding on the outcome of the printed t-shirts, a test print is the best way to evaluate a printer. However these do no come free. It’s also important to understand that most t-shirt printers will default to digital printing if you order just one t-shirt or even a few. This is the most cost effective way to print a small batch t-shirt order. If your end goal is to have screen printed shirts, communicate to the printer that you are running a test and need to see the quality of their workmanship before placing a larger order. You’ll then put them on notice to price your test print for screen printing which can be quite expensive but will afford you the best “proof” prior to placing a large order. You can evaluate their print quality and the apparel product at the same time.

The second biggest influence to price is the number of colors in the design. Screen printing requires that different screens be burned. There’s no actual fire involved though. It’s more the fabrication of a stencil. Each color requires a screen of its own and here is where a lot of cost is incurred. It’s a photographic process and the screens are coated with a light sensitive emulsion. The art is sized and taped to the screen in the size required for the t-shirt design and print and then burned onto the screen with use of halogen light.

screen print colors

These steps need to be reproduced for each color in the design. The time spent separating and setting up the screens for each color will factor into the price per unit as well. To keep costs down, stick with a simple, one color design. However, if you need a design that is more complicated, getting custom t shirts cheap can be achieved with the quantity of your order. The price per shirt ordinarily goes down per item when there is an opportunity to produce in volume.

burned screened

A final point to assess when making a decision about a cheap t-shirt printer is the level of customer service and reliability. Check to see if they have customer reviews and the longevity of their business. There is little recourse if you order from a custom t-shirt printer in another country and are displeased with the results. Also consider the longevity of the company. A custom apparel printer that’s been established for a period of time has a reputation to protect. Quality, inexpensive t-shirt printing is no myth if you find middle ground with an experienced t-shirt printer.