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The Fine Print: Let's talk about tees!

How to get Sponsors for your Event

Event sponsorship

Getting event sponsors is an important aspect of planning a successful event. When approaching a possible sponsor come prepared with information they will want to know for consideration. Recognize that your sponsor is likely to be inundated with sponsorship request throughout the year and it’s difficult for businesses to contribute to everyone that comes knocking on their door.

First, consider if the sponsor would be a good fit for your event because that is what they are going to do when evaluating whether they wish to contribute. Does your event align with their goals and vision for their company? Are the attendees of your event the kind of audience that will resonate with your sponsor’s message? Most sponsors get involved because they want to impress your attendees by aligning with common goals whether that is sales, branding, or goodwill.

However sponsors can get burnt out with requests for event organizers that don’t deliver as promised as far as attendance and demographic. What sponsors are really looking for is value and esteem in exchange for their money, goods, or services.

Have a solid message when it comes to selling the event sponsorship because that is what you’re doing. You’re selling an idea. What is the purpose of the event and do you have a mission statement? How is your audience valuable to the sponsor? Is your event unique in any way so it stands out from similarly aligned events? Who is expected to come to the event?

To come up with a strategy for this, it can help to develop a persona of the expected attendee. This persona should not be who you wish would attend, it needs to be a realistic description of the type of person that would be interested in the event with consideration to what your event offers, the cost to attend, the location, and the time of year. Finally, create a story how their involvement will benefit the sponsor. Eyeballs on their logo or a mention on a website probably isn’t going to be enough to entice sponsors so it’s really helpful to provide a compelling presentation with every statistic you can manage.

Develop a persona

A quick email introduction to a potential sponsor could look something like this:

"The team that I coach competed in the State tournament this past weekend and placed second. We are now off to the World Finals at [State Name] University in May. At World Finals, over 800 teams (8,000+ team members and parents) compete in a four-day-long tournament. Almost all of these teams create custom-made shirts each year, just like we did. Imagine the business if they all used DesignAShirt!

The cost to attend World Finals is about $1000/person, and in an effort to defer some costs, we are looking for team sponsorships. I thought this might be a great advertising opportunity for you. I was imagining a shirt that said something like "[Event Name] World Finalist" along with the DesignAShirt logo/url on the front and "Like Our Shirt? Order Yours from DesignAShirt.com!" on the back (or whatever we would decide upon). Then the team members and parents would wear the shirts all over World Finals. We also would be happy to pass out flyers when our kids trade [Event Name] pins with kids from across the US. If you want the international business, we can hand out flyers to the teams from other countries too."

Oftentimes you will be approaching a business that you have no prior relationship to so put yourself in their shoes concerning your image. If you we’re asked to give money to a charity for example but had never heard of them before, you’d likely do a little research to ascertain their legitimacy. A business will want to research your event, and maybe even you personally to see if the event is authentic. Be sure to have a professional looking image for them to find. That means some kind of web presence. Make sure that the information they find on your web page is the same information you are relaying in your conversations or emails to them. That image should align with the businesses image of the sponsorship you’re seeking.

Define offerings for your sponsors like event announcements, banner advertisements, social media shout outs, call outs in emails about the event, their logos on your custom event t-shirts, and other promotional items that would be given away or sold at the event. You may consider different levels of sponsorships like silver, gold, and platinum level sponsorships with bundled offerings depending on the tier they choose to go with. If it makes sense, offering sponsors VIP passes or tickets to the event can be presented in such a way that the sponsor could provide these passes to employees as a perk. There’s an example of an additional value added approach and thought process to your message. If you find your different levels of sponsorship are not enticing engagement for your event, be prepared to be flexible.

Sponsorship t-shirt

Start with your own network of contacts. Prior relationships are a great resource since they already know you. Have you given a lot of your business to a local company? They might be an excellent candidate to contact. Include details about your familiarity with the company and why you’re so familiar but be cognizant to the possibility you might be considered a minor customer depending on the company. Ask your friends to be a referral source for you. Do they have relationships with any business that might be a good fit? If so, send them your solicitation message and asked to be introduced.

If you get shot down by one company you had in mind that would be a good fit for your event, search for similar types of businesses by looking on a search engine for “business like [company name].” You may have to do some extra work but if you find an up-and-comer that needs more advertising exposure, you might hit the jackpot.

Business owners

Business owners and their employees are typically very busy people so while an onsite visit or a phone call seems personable, people may be less receptive and it can be a time waster for you too. One of the easiest ways to reach out to possible sponsors is through social media. If it’s a smaller business you just might get the attention of the actual owner. If it’s a larger business, you’re likely going to be communicating with an employee or worse, their advertising company. Don’t give up if you don’t hear back after an initial reach out. At that point, a follow up email would be appropriate but if you hear nothing back again, it’s better to put your effort into other opportunities.

When you do make contact, do make it personal and craft each message in a personal way, nobody wants to hear a blanket one-size-fits-all proposal. Explain how their sponsorship to your event could make a positive impact and describe what you’re expecting from them. Do you want money, services, or products? Here again be flexible. In our specific case, it is sometimes far easier and palatable to donate t-shirts rather than money if the goal of the event aligns with our values as a t-shirt printing business.

Present your entire value proposition upfront because it’s rare that you’ll get a 2nd chance. Document that you’re planning on sending X number of email blasts to X size list and that you have X number reach on social. Will you be doing flyers, radio, or TV advertising? Any paid search engine marketing? Sponsors will be far more intrigued with an approach that provides a lot of granular detail.

When you land a sponsorship you’ve really done the hardest part by building a relationship. To cultivate that relationship for next year’s event or sponsorships for similar events, it important that you deliver what was promised to the sponsor at a bare minimum. Giving them more than expected will set you above other event opportunities presented to them in the future. Even providing additional exposure they weren’t expecting on a channel like social media for example. When you do this be sure to make the sponsor aware of the extra perks given.

After the event, follow up by providing all the relevant statistics and results from the event like how much money was raised, how many people attended or participated, and all social statistics like reach, likes, shares, comments, interviews, press mentions, etc.

Free Resources for T-shirt Printers and Artists

Resources for t-shirt artists

Struggling to come up with creative ideas for t-shirt designs? Are you falling flat when it comes to inspired marketing of your designs or your t-shirt printing business? It’s a competitive world and the well of inspiration can run dry and we’re here to fill it with a list of free resources for t-shirt printers and artists. Always check for licenses and terms of use for each resource if you’re using it for commercial purposes.

Design Cuts- This site offers freebies for all types of design projects so you’ll need to sift through to find assets that will work for your projects. You can find things like textures and patterns, vector elements, brushes for Photoshop, and graphics.

Creative Market- Offering a wide variety of designer resources including lots of free fonts and graphics, the freebies section should be checked weekly as they only release a few free goods each week. Additional free goods can be unlocked with small purchases.

Spoon Graphics– Created by Chris Spooner, this blog offers a ton of really excellent tutorials, videos, and of course free graphics and assets for designers. For a small monthly fee, you can access premium content to take your t-shirt designing and marketing to the next level. If you want to learn how to pull off a new effect, his how-to section is out of this world. We love this guy!

EnvatoElements- Most of the offerings from this site are subscription based but they do offer a limited number of free designer elements each month so subscribing to their email list is a great idea for inspiration. The site caters to a wide variety of designer needs including web development so there’s no guarantee that the monthly freebies will be of value to t-shirt designers.

Graphic Burger- This site offers a lot of high quality mockup solutions for marketing your designs as well as fonts and graphics available for commercial use. Most offerings consist of PSD files created by the owner and submitted resources from creatives around the world. Premium products are available for a fee if you see something that catches your eye.

TheHungryJpeg- Be sure to check this site every Wednesday for the freebie of the week which comes with a commercial license for designers. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. They also offer $1 deals which are practically free.

Sellfly- This site is actually a service that allows digital designers to sell their digital goods like fonts, website templates, and more but they have a section where the same designers can provide freebies in exchange for exposure on the site. We’ve found a few true gems in this list for both t-shirt design and marketing.

Shutterpulse – Offering free Photoshop Actions, this site is great for really dressing up your photo shoots of products and designs.

Dreambundles – Download their free font bundle for edgy and very useful fonts to use in designs and marketing.

Creative Booster – This site offers a treasure trove of design elements like fonts, graphics, and templates. And of course with this many designers offerings congregated on one site, you’re going to get a healthy dose of inspiration.

DesignBundles - You will find limited time availability of design features on this site so check back often to snag resources like SVG’s, vectors, and illustrations.

Pixelo - This site offers bundled elements for sale to creatives that are handpicked for their subscribers but they do have a limited selection of free items.

Open Clip Art – If you’re in a pinch for a design element or you just want a base piece to build on, you just might find what you’re looking for here. Downloads are available as SVG, PNG, and PDF.

FreeDesignResources – The name says it all here. You’ll find almost limitless assets to assist in your t-shirt designing and marketing of your business including mockup templates of all kinds, fonts, elements and tons of inspiration.

DeviantArt – This is one of the oldest online communities of artists showing off their talents. In many cases assets are made open to public use with varying restrictions and licenses. Each member controls their own terms. Being quite old, some assets are listed as available but the links no longer work so you forewarned, it’s kind of like shopping at Goodwill. There’s a ton of great stuff but you really have to sift through to find it.

PixelBuddha – Great for mockups and marketing, the freebie category is not for mass reproduction. If you find something you love and want to include in an end product t-shirt design, you’ll need to contact the artist directly for licensing.

Pixabay - Known primarily for photography, an overlooked aspect to this site are freebie vectors perfect for enhancing your design ideas. Everything is released under Creative Commons license.

Tutorials and forums for learning the art of screen printing t-shirts is next on our list of resources. Here are communities and sites we recommend for education. If screen printing your own designs is not your business priority, of course we recommend our services as custom t-shirt printers with decades of experience under our belt.

Ryonet Blog – This company is actually a screen printing supply company but to market their products to screen printers they’ve developed an impressive resource in their blog and YouTube channel.

Catspit Productions LLC – This company offers an immense library of how to screen print articles and videos as well as screen printing supplies and machinery.

T-Shirt Forums – One of the oldest t-shirt printing forums on the web, this site is where you go when you have specific questions about a problem you’re encountering. Chances are someone has already asked the question in many different ways and been provided answers from expert screen printers.

How To Get The Best Screen Printing Results from your Art Submissions

Einstein on a tank top

When you're ready to place an order for custom screen-printed t-shirts to get the best screen printing results from your art submissions we have a check list of best practices.

Vector

We highly recommend vector based art or high-resolution images for submission. Why? Vector files can be resized to any scale without losing detail. This is because vector art is based on mathematical equations of magnitude and direction and can be lines or curves. Vector based art is also extremely clean in terms of color assignment. The artist needs to make a decision on every segment during the design process. Vector art is not a visual stylizing of the design so to simply save a file created in Photoshop with a file extension like pdf doesn't make it vector art. It's based upon the program used to create the original art. Vector programs are Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, or Inkscape although there are others.

Raster

On the other side of the coin is raster art. If created correctly from the beginning, this file type can be used successfully for screen printing. Raster images are made up of pixels instead of lines so starting off with the correct DPI when creating your original work is paramount. If you typically design for the web, this is a step that is really easy to overlook since images for the web look great at 72 DPI. For screen printing artwork, you need a minimum of 300 DPI for the output to look crisp and clean. Ideally, you'll also create the artwork at the size you actually want it to print. Remember when creating t-shirt art if you're using bitmaps instead of vectors, you can always shrink the art but never scale up without losing clarity. Raster art is commonly created in programs like Photoshop or Gimp but there are others.

Closeups of Raster vs Vector art

If you're fascinated by the differences between vector and raster data models, here is a very scientific explanation of the two and differences for uses in applications.

For screen printing, highly defined artwork is critical to achieve a fine quality print. Sometimes when customers aren't sure of how their art will print or want to test our printing quality before ordering in bulk, they will order a single t-shirt print on our no minimum required products. However, doing this will not be a true measure of the quality of our screen printing. That is because for single prints, we use an entirely different method of printing which is direct to garment printing or digital print. It's a completely different application method. It is something to be aware of when ordering a test print since our website will automatically default to the lowest cost method of printing for our customers. Ordering a single test print using screen printing however is quite expensive. We do understand the need to evaluate our quality before committing to a large order so if you do order a test screen print, we will deduct the initial cost of the setup from the bulk order when it's placed. However, if a bulk order is not placed, the cost is the cost.

If you're stuck with art that is not ideal for screen printing, in many cases, we can recreate the art for no charge if it's relatively simple. In fact, our artists review every order submitted to ensure clarity of the image, check for unintended misspellings, and accuracy of placement so that the design elements are aligned. That service is free with every order. If your art is complex and of poor resolution, we do sometimes require a fee to recreate the art, but that is evaluated on a case by case basis.

Sometimes when art is uploaded through our t-shirt design studio, the art may not look as you expected. This can usually be attributed to limitations of the website. Some of these issues include white jagged edges outside of the art. Don't worry, we've been doing this long enough that no member of our art team would allow your design to be printed this way, in fact, if there are any issues at all with your uploaded art, our customer service team contacts you to clarify and to make sure we deliver the best printed products possible.

Other concerns we hear from users is the need for assurance that everything will be centered and lines of text evenly distributed. If you have uploaded your own graphics and don't add any print or design notes to the contrary, we always size and place the design to make the final product look like the mockup but perfected as far as centering and placement. If you create a hybrid of uploaded design and our clip art or fonts for text we do the same.

If you do create a design that is intended to be off center the best way to ensure the final printed product will adhere to your design vision is to include these specification in print and design notes which are available in the cart checkout area of our website.

What happens after you've processed your screen print order? We prepare the print files for production by creating separated layers for each color. This is required because is each color will be a different screen. Depending on the design and t-shirt product type and color, we may have an additional layer or base print which is something we do to make sure the final image is vibrant.

These screens will then be sent to a screen printer who will set up the press to apply ink to the various layers of the design using a squeegee that pushes ink through to t-shirt product. Once all layers have been applied, the pieces go through a dryer to "set" the ink.

Finally, your custom screen print order will go through our quality check team to examine each piece for print and any defect in the garment that may have been missed. They sort according to size and place in boxes to prepare for shipment.

When requesting a proof before print, understand that we have two versions of this. If you want to see what your design will look like after one of our artists reviews and cleans up any issues, this will be a mockup proof that will look almost identical to the original mockup in the design studio.

Design studio mockup

This is not a proof of the actual print before production. If you require a true proof of the screen-printed t-shirt, we can do this and it can be communicated in print notes as "photo of first shirt required." However, when requesting this, you as a customer must be available to coordinate with our customer service team as we will have an entire press setup to go with the rest of the run. If you're not available for approval at the designated time, we will need to add on additional setup costs to set the press up again at a later time.

How to Maximize the Life of your Custom Printed T-Shirts

Laundering custom t-shirts

It’s one of the most disappointing experiences when you have a custom t-shirt printed for fun, an event, or commemoration of some occasion just to have the print fade or the shape of the garment change after an initial few washes. You’re probably pretty familiar with the concept of shrinkage when laundering clothing but apparel that’s screen printed or digitally printed needs a little extra care to make sure the design stays vibrant over time.

First of all digitally printed tees use a different type of ink application than screen printed tees. For the convenience of offering affordable prices for single or low quantity orders we offer this print method. Products available for no minimum required custom t-shirt printing are marked "no minimum" on our website. It’s also ideal for full color photograph designs. When we use this method to print custom tees, the ink is absorbed into the t-shirt product. Basically the method is much like the kind of ink application your home printer uses to print images onto paper. This method also does not require screens to be burned with a press setup therefore it’s far more affordable for small orders. With all of these benefits, there are some drawbacks when it comes to the life of the design printed on the tee which we’ll address.

Screen printed custom t-shirts offer a lot more durability because the ink used is plastisol which literally has PVC particles in it making it a tougher ink. However some designs and effects cannot be replicated using this method. The ink rests on top of the fabric which also lends to more durability over time but screen printed apparel also requires basic care to lengthen the life of the print and the garment itself.

via GIPHY

The first thing we recommend when you’re ready to launder your tees is to always turn the garment inside out. This will help colors stay vibrant longer and may also assist to keep abrasive surfaces like zippers and buttons from agitating against the surface of your design. This can also help to clean the inside of the tee more efficiently which is ideal since the inside is what makes contact with sweat and oils from skin.

Separate by color and fabrics. Most people are already familiar with the concept of keeping colors separated like not washing whites with red, or pigment dyed clothing with color fast clothing. When colors are transferred in the wash, it will likely be permanent. But separating by fabric types can also be beneficial. Rougher materials like denim can cause damage to softer fabrics like 100% cotton by abrasion over time.

via GIPHY

Always wash in cold water. This isn’t just true for custom printed t-shirts; this is true for almost any fabrics. Hot water not only introduces the possibility of shrinking the fabric, it’s more caustic to the fiber and can cause degradation of the fibers over time. Reserve washing items in warm or hot water for when the fabric is heavily soiled or if you’ve come into contact with something that requires serious sanitation. If it’s only soiled in a spot or two, use a pre-treatment but try to avoid applying this directly on any printed area.

Stay away from bleach. Bleach is caustic soda and chlorine. Besides being ruinous to adhesive applications like custom names and numbers for sports team, it also can produce deadly gases when combined with other household cleaners. Bleach and dish soap creates WWII era mustard gas. Bleach and ammonia creates deadly gas as well so beyond the safety factor, it’s not something recommended for textiles in spite of what your grandmother may say. There are other alternatives, but here again, it’s not recommended to apply any whitening agent directly to a custom printed design.

via GIPHY

Keep your clothes out of the dryer. Drying custom printed clothing in clothes dryers is certainly time saving and convenient but it can cause damage to both screen printed and digitally printed t-shirts. Screen printed designs can crack or peel and it degrades the vibrancy of digitally printed designs as well. Not to mention the dreaded shrinkage factor of the t-shirt overall. For the safest method of drying your clothes, either hang dry inside or lay on a flat surface after reshaping to extend the life of your printed t-shirts. Don’t hang dry outside because the sun can also have a bleaching effect on your design. Over long periods of contact with direct sunlight, the design can fade significantly.

Never iron a custom printed t-shirt. It seems like an unusual scenario for most but ironing over decorated apparel can cause sublimation of the dye used to colorize the fabric into the design itself plus it weakens the ink used to print the design.

Garment care has evolved dramatically over time primarily because we now have an excess of affordably manufactured garments and the luxury of household appliances that do most of the hard work for us. In past ages, decoration of apparel was done either by embroidery, applique of gems, beads, and lace, or through dying with pigments, and stamping with blocks. Textile designs were also created through weaving. Screen printing textiles in the modern era is most closely associated with wood block printing as different blocks would need to be created for each color used in the design like using different screens for different colors of ink.

Decorated apparel was primarily reserved for the rich as any of these methods used to customize cloth was labor intensive and thus costly. Caring for these luxury items must have given any poor wash maid anxiety when handling such delicate and expensive clothing particularly when the process of cleaning garments was basically brutal.

To clean clothing and household linens like sheets, and bedding, the dirt was literally beaten out of the fabric with tools that were little more than sticks. Urine and ash was used to make soap so you can imagine that while the item may have looked clean, it probably had a curious smell to it.

We’ve advanced tremendously as a society since those days however the care of custom apparel to extend the value and life of garments has not changed all that dramatically.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah Theme Ideas and Custom T-Shirt Party Favors

Bar and Bat Mitzvah Party Theme Ideas

Bar and bat mitzvahs are incredibly important events for Jewish children. Coming of age is a huge deal so it’s no wonder that families invest considerable time and money into planning and hosting these events. Bar and bat mitzvah themes provide the opportunity to personalize the special occasion and make the event memorable for all attendees.

Coming up with ideas for your party’s theme can be really fun and entertaining because a theme can be almost anything. Coming up with something really unique however can be a task if you’re the sort of person that takes uniqueness as a challenge.

Check out these unusual themes and ideas for your bar or bat mitzvah occasion along with t-shirt design ideas for party favors and giveaways.

Cosplay– This form of masquerading has gained in popularity tremendously in the last few years. Have serving staff, DJ’s, and your photographer dress up as famous characters from movies, books, and video games. You can decorate with items that are familiar to the specific characters you choose like weapons, pets, and special powers.

Legends- King Arthur and Camelot, William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Elvis Presley, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, and Dr. Suess themed mitzvahs come to mind.

Magical Items– Magic carpets, the Fountain of Youth, Joshua's shofars, unicorn horns, dragon's teeth, pot of gold, Pandora’s Box, Excalibur’s sword, magic lamps, voodoo dolls, Cupid's bow, Noah’s ark, the Tree of Life and more can decorate your event with this fantasy theme. Lots of sparkling backgrounds and smoking mists can emulate the theme of magic and awe.

Atlantis- This heavily nautical theme can be pulled off with props like giant seahorses, coral, glowing jellyfish, and shells with blue and green color schemes.

Science Fiction- Giant space monsters and aliens can be party props with spaceships and robot costuming for staff.

Casino- Oversized playing cards, dice as chairs, and a roulette wheel backdrop in a red, white, and black color scheme makes this theme attractive for guests of all ages.

Outer Space- Create the Milky Way on the walls with glowing stars and the local planets. Serve guests “rocket fuel” served by staff in space suits.

Tiki- Bring Hawaii to your guests with Luau style food, Polynesian dancers, and of course, tiki torches.

Famous City- Venice, Rome, London, and Paris are very popular city themes and transport your guest for one night to exotic locations.

Mythical Creatures- Centaurs, mermaids, unicorns, werewolves, fairies, and dragons abound.

Time Traveler- Make sure to have staff wear era-specific costumes such as ancient Greek, Victorian, the Dark Ages, the Industrial Revolution, and maybe even fantasy costuming from the future.

Private Island- This party centers everything on the guest of honor.

Willy Wonka– Sugary treats will be the focus of this theme along with Oompa Loompas and golden ticket invitations.

Tim Burton- All of Tim Burton’s movies come together in this theme with dark gothic art style, black and white are the color scheme.

Butterflies– Ideal for bat mizvahs butterflies adorn table settings, flower centerpieces, cakes, invitations and party favors.

Check out these bar and bat mitzvah t-shirt designs for more inspiration for the special day or design your own online in our custom t-shirt design studio.