Skip to main content

The Fine Print: Let's talk about tees!

Learn How to Design a Vintage Style Tee with Design A Shirt

It's hard to say vintage style t-shirts are making a comeback since the design style has never really gone away. Trends come and go but none has stood the test of time quite like vintage styling along with the distressed look. We happily buy expensive jeans with tears and distress already added because it's the look we're after; relaxed and unassuming yet fashionable.

Why is the vintage look so appealing?

Blame on the hippies in the 60's. Prior to that era, wearing used, poor looking clothing was not something people aspired to do. Those that survived the turmoil of the Great Depression were not keen to continue living the Spartan lifestyle that was forced upon them during harder times. People wearing worn or used clothing were deemed tragic because it meant they could not afford to dress in new apparel.

However, the mindset of hippies in the 60's was to be unusual and original. This meant combing the secondhand stores and combining styles from different era's to create a wholly unique look. Rejecting the modern aesthetic, they looked for throwbacks from bygone days particularly Edwardian fashion.

As with most trends, the popularity of being different made the accessibility of true vintage pieces increasingly scarce and it was necessary for niche apparel makers to make new clothes look old and period correct. This is known as "repro" fashion and it’s the focus of this tutorial.

Defining vintage or retro is typically done by either the condition of the garment or the design. It can also be defined by the color of the garment that the design is printed on. A lot of manufactures identify these colors as “heather” or simply “vintage.”

Adjusting the fiber’s texture is a big part of the vintage movement. To make the look realistic, you can either buy the repro version or do it yourself with some common household tools like sandpaper, scissors and common ingredients like salt and bleach. Here is video that details how to achieve the look on any t-shirt:

Colors in a vintage or retro palette will range from dark browns, oranges, tangerines, soft to electric blues, and mellow reds. Here are some examples of retro color palettes in some of the most desirable eras:

Fifties Color Palette
fifties palette
Sixties Color Palette
sixties palette
Seventies Color Palette
seventies palette

Vintage shirt styles include the Ringer tee, the baseball tee, the crop top, and of course the basic tee. For women only, there’s the spaghetti strap tank top.

ringer tee
baseball tee
crop top
spaghetti strap

There are certain design styles that are more authentic to the vintage look like variegated stripes. Here are a few examples of vintage graphic tees designs:

graphic tee designs

Vintage style fonts are an important aspect to incorporate if you’re intent is to design a shirt that remains true to the era. Here are some examples available for use in our custom tee shirt design studio:

vintage fonts

And additional retro and vintage style font resources if you’re making your t-shirt design in a program like Photoshop, Illustrator, or Corel Draw. Be sure to check terms of use on these, some are free for personal use only, so if you intend to sell your design, look for commercial use approved.

CSS Author
Retro Vectors

And finally here are some of our very own designs for repro wear:

fifties design
sixties design
seventies design

Custom Hats – How to use them for Business and Pleasure

Custom hats are a huge deal for a lot of men. They’re as attached to a man’s identity as they are to their heads, or if you’re not a hat guy for pleasure, you might be wearing them for business purposes.

embroidered hats

If your hat is a daily fixture, you might be wearing it because it identifies your favorite team with a logo or maybe your favorite designer’s logo. While these hats are available in a lot of colors and styles through licensed resellers, some guys that wear hats for style purposes might be more interested in a custom look that describes the more intimate details of their psyche. In these cases it’s popular to resell these customized hats in a retail environment or to give as gifts to friends and family. That’s where getting a custom hat printed comes into play.

Custom embroidery on hats can be applied to literally tons of different styles of hats which we have access to beyond the products listed on our custom print website. We have access to snapback, fitted caps, 5 panel, 6 panel, structured, unstructured, low profile, trucker, mesh trucker...pretty much anything a customer needs we can get and in all the colors!

We'd recommend embroidery for anything 6 panel or structured, otherwise the ink can bunch at the seam running down the middle and may not lay consistently on structured hats since they're difficult to bend against our hat boards. It's possible, but embroidery would have a much cleaner outcome on this style of hat.

The other option to personalize hats is screen print. It’s highly wearable and durable, and in some cases more cost effective depending on the purpose of the cap. With either option, simplicity is recommended since the available real estate is limited.

But why do men love these types of hats so much and are there any rules that should be adhered to? Functionality has turned into fashion. The original baseball cap style was simply a means to keep the sun out of the player’s eyes. Some men still use it for just this purpose or to keep longer hair contained in the wind. But many men will agree that it’s also a fashion statement which has been propelled not-only by sports, but also by genres of music including hip-hop, and country & western.

up-close hat

To attract the ladies, there are certain fashion faux paus that should not be made. For instance, never, ever, wear a hat on a first date, especially if you’re taking her to a nice restaurant. The exceptions would be if your first date is an outdoor sporting event, or fishing, or hiking. If you asked her on one of these dates and she accepted, well-done, you’ve found yourself a keeper. Additionally, never is a shabby, dirty hat appropriate. Even if it’s your favorite, time to customize a new piece of headwear. Don’t hold onto a style for too long either. If you haven’t seen the style of cap you’re wearing on anyone else for a really long time, maybe check out what the male fashion blogs are saying about the latest and greatest.

The baseball cap is one of American’s most identifiable fashion exports along with jeans, t-shirts, and tennis shoes. Can anyone say Forrest Gump? In fact, some estimate that at least 80% of hats sold are of the baseball variety or its close cousin, the snapback.

We love them for their promotional product appeal. That’s why logoed caps are the go to for many businesses as a means of providing a functional (and therefore appreciated,) promotional giveaway. Another trend in corporate giveaway and promotional hats are performance wear. This type of hat is ideal for activity related promotions like charity walks, runs, and outdoor team-building exercises. But most important of all, if you personalize a hat that people love, they’ll wear it frequently if not every day. This isn’t going to be the case with t-shirts or polos unless it’s part of a uniform. To increase perceived value of a giveaway, you can combine a custom t-shirt and cap, now that’s the gold standard of promotional giveaways and it’s a unique selling point of the highly versatile custom cap.

Alternatives for Traditionally Custom Branded Business Apparel

Using logos on custom apparel is a time honored tradition and a good strategy to increase brand awareness for your business. Many companies have uniforms for their employees that feature the businesses logos and slogans or they use branded apparel as a marketing tool for customer giveaways. A lot of corporate designs simply feature the logo in corporate colors on the left or right chest and while highly functional, this placement in plain print doesn’t elicit a lot of excitement. Providing professional business wear printing services is a large portion of our business and we’ve been doing it since 2003. But we believe promoting your business with custom apparel doesn’t have to be boring.

There are alternatives to traditional logo placement and decorated apparel print methods you may have not considered. Before you think these examples are too edgy or too fashion forward for your business, consider the shift in business culture and how little things like an exciting uniform can impact the growth of your company. Attracting millennial employees has become a goal of lots for employers. Unconventional work environments and perks including stand up desks, options for remote work, free energy drinks, and ping pong tables are becoming common tactics to attract and retain this coveted segment of employees. But never underestimate the power of self-perception.

Everyone wants to feel good about their appearance and that includes work uniforms. Even if your business does not require work uniforms, simply having logoed business apparel that’s attractive and fashionable may encourage your employees to want to wear these promotional products simply from a pride stand point.

Check out these alternative ideas for logo placement and decoration methods for custom business apparel:

embroidery sample

Embroidery may not sound drastically alternative but if you’ve never considered it before and are looking for an elegant, expensive look it’s an attractive option. Embroidery is typically a time intensive project (meaning it will take longer than our typical 10-day turnaround.) The cost of embroidered shirts can vary dramatically and always require a custom quote depending on the following factors: the type of shirt desired, the quantity, the stich count, and the complexity of the design.

The norm for embroidered products is the polo shirt. Assuming you want it to last a while, we recommend a medium to high end polo. Cheaper polos are typically thin and will curl at the collar after brief wear, but can be perfectly acceptable if you’re looking to get them made for a one-time event or convention. The cost can also vary depending on the feature of the shirt like long sleeve versus short sleeve, color blocking, pocket, and trim stripes.

Most people only think of polos when considering embroidery but you can also embroider sweaters, sweatshirts, and even tees although we would recommend a very thick tee.

The complexity and size of the design as well as the setup required are super important. Pricing basically comes down to the time we need to spend digitizing the artwork and the stitch count to make sure the end product turns out beautifully. Oversized designs are possible and would definitely be eye catching, but due to the stitch count, larger means more pricey. As with anything custom made that can be produced easily in volume, the more you order, the lower the cost will be for each individual garment.

diagonal print sample

Printing Diagonally
This is an interesting prospect especially if you have a logo that is horizontally inclined. A horizontal logo when printed traditionally will usually have to be smaller to fit within the parameters of the shirt. But if we print it at a quirky slant, suddenly there is a lot more of the garment that can be utilized to broadcast your message and the overall presentation suddenly has a modern and edgy feel.

hem print sample

Hem Prints
This is a novel concept for the screen print world. Printing over an actual hem is not typically recommended because the slight peaks and valleys introduced into the material by the stitching will interfere with a clean print. But you can have a similar impact by featuring the logo flush to the hem. It will result in a very unexpected but noteworthy look.

oversized print sample

Supersize It!
Businesses don’t have to be bashful about promoting who they are and what they are about. Say it loud and say it proud with an oversized print. No more squinting to see this branded shirt!

glitter print sample

Glam it up with Glitter!
We know not everyone thinks glitter belongs on business apparel but the possibilities are fun. Glitter doesn’t have to be feminine either. Consider crystalline ink over your screen printed logo on a black shirt. The effects can be stunning if you’re willing to try something new. Of course glitter prints can be very feminine which may open up a new channel for your business if you’re looking to attract a specific segment of people. Obviously some business types scream for glitter like hair and nail salons, a woman’s apparel store, and yoga and Pilates studios.

glow in the dark print sample

Make it Glow
Glow in the dark is of course going to be most beneficial for nighttime activities or low light environments like bars and pubs. Glow in the dark ink needs to be exposed to light for it to glow when it’s in the dark and the length of time the ink glows will depend on the ink used. If it’s heavily deposited on the design, the more vibrant you can expect it to be. If you’re going to be hosting a big nighttime event for your business or employees, this option will add a lot of interest and definitely cause people to talk about your event. It’s also a great motivator to get people to take pictures at your event and share on social media.

repeating pattern print sample

Turn it into a Pattern
Here’s another unusual and modern instance of using your company’s logo on custom business apparel. Instead of just a single humdrum print, we can arrange your logo into a repeating pattern across the printable area. Alternating the color of your logo in the design can add more visual appeal.

vertical back print sample

Print it vertically on the Back
This could require some flexibility from your company’s branding department. If you don’t have rigid branding policies changing a logo to print vertically will add an unusual element to your staff’s uniforms or customer appreciation gifts.

sleeve print sample

Print down the Sleeve
This is usually associated with sports team wear but what’s wrong with cross associating your logoed business apparel with sports. People love sports teams because sports are something everyone can get behind and support. Borrowing from the energy, vitality, and enthusiasm that sports convey and associating the same mentality with your business is a pretty cool game plan. Keep your team excited and motivated to wear your personalized business wear and the “squad goals” mindsight thriving at work.

The Best T-shirt Printing Company Attributes

Most people are not looking for adequate or sufficient when searching for custom t-shirt printing services. If you are a purchasing agent or business owner, you want the best result for your investment. Even if you’re buying custom shirts for personal reasons, quality, service, and price are all valuable. Companies that consistently excel in business often share similar attributes and service styles. But what are the markers of successful shirt printing companies?

Outstanding Customer Service

Cost is really important to a great many people but we’ve found that without outstanding customer service, screen printing companies cannot sustain a customer base overtime. Consumer expectation is at an all-time high and when it comes to custom deliverables it can be a challenge to consistently meet these high standards. We believe outstanding customer service should consist of attention to detail, applied expertise, timeliness, and communication.

customer service

We listen carefully to our customer’s needs and concerns to determine the best course of action that will result in customer delight. Our extensive experience in the decorated apparel business allows our staff to draw from a deep well of knowledge and provide fitting recommendations. Striking a balance between cost of services and an exceptional end product is a challenge we enthusiastically tackle every day.

Honesty and Integrity

An honest approach to doing business not only builds consumer confidence, it helps tremendously with referrals. Everyone makes mistakes, whether on the business or customer side. Our customer service team is not driven by sheer numbers, they are driven to make sure our customers have the best possible experience so they return again and again and tell others. Our staff is trained to recognize when a customer places an order that incurs needless costs due to consumer ignorance of alternative options and contact the customer to discuss solutions.

Additionally, we are not in the business just to accept orders we know will fail because of poor artwork. There are plenty of t-shirt printers that will accept whatever is uploaded without question, that’s not us. We do understand that in some cases as in a gag gift, poor resolution is acceptable, but it’s our mission to make sure you’re aware when improperly formatted artwork submissions will result in a poor print.

Being able to say no to certain jobs is not only something a consumer should value but we believe it also shows business acumen. Accepting jobs that we know are not in our strong suit helps no one. Setting your expectations as a customer through communication and education is our goal so you understand what our limitations are and what to expect with the budget you give us.


A passion for educating customers in what to expect from varied printing techniques is part of building our successful relationships. Detailing the pros and cons of choosing plastisol versus water based screen printing techniques or explaining why vinyl transfers are the best option to achieve your particular goal is all part of the exploration process.


Creativity and Vision

The ability to apply creativity to come up with solutions to complex problems is a critical talent in the custom apparel printing services. In so many cases, time and cost are huge factors. Possessing the collective aptitude to provide creative solutions that consider both is one of our strongest talents as professional screen printers.



Working with a company that has longevity in the t-shirt printing industry by default puts the consumer in a better position. Long standing relationships with apparel manufacturers can yield quick access to the latest and greatest new apparel options. Having printed millions of pieces of customized clothing for all types of people, businesses, and organizations since 2003, we’re highly confident in what we do.

Access to a wide variety of apparel options is particularly important if you’re a brand trying to grow your business. Having a printer with dependable access to assortments of long-sleeves, tank tops, sweats, caps, bags, as well as t-shirts will be important.


Turnaround times in the industry vary greatly but pay attention to how long it takes from time you place your order to the time you receive it when looking for the best custom t-shirt printer. We offer free 10-day delivery which means in 10-calendar days, you will have your order in your hands. In some cases, you may need an order expedited quicker in which case we offer 3 and 5 delivery at an increased price.

Online Custom T-Shirt Printer Reviews

A substantial history of customer testimonials and satisfaction is one the most obvious markers of a trustworthy partner for your custom apparel printing needs. We have thousands of reviews for custom t-shirt printing from delighted consumers stretching back 14 years.

customer reviews

Social Proof

Beyond testimonials, pay attention to a t-shirt printer’s activity on social media. It’s normal for a business to get some negative feedback, in some cases through no fault of their own. Be wary if there is a pattern of unanswered customer posts, their customer service will likely be lackluster or worse. Also take notice of hidden comments; if it looks like all of the responses to complaints are deleted and there are a lot of them or angry emoticons with no commentary, they may be trying to hide something bigger than the occasional disgruntled customer.