The T-shirt design category is beloved by 99designs’ staffers, designers and customers alike, and is one of the most popular categories on our site. After all, just about everyone has at least one t-shirt in their wardrobe…and can make room for one more. Whether you wear ‘em to support a favorite cause or to show the world who your favorite rock band or new startup is, t-shirts are a great way to look cool and express yourself.
One question we often hear from customers is some variation of “how the heck do I actually get my awesome new design onto a t-shirt?” So we thought we’d shed a bit of light on the various processes involved in printing that sweet t-shirt you (and your supporter) will love to wear. In no particular order, here are four methods to consider.
#1: STANDARD SCREEN PRINTING
This is the most common and widely available method of printing a design onto a t-shirt. The process begins by taking the artwork, separating each color and printing films (basically a photo positive on a clear material such as vellum) for each color. Each film is then used to create or “burn” a silk screen which has been coated with a light-sensitive emulsion. The silk screen is then used to print each color in sequence, until the artwork is reproduced onto the garment.
The size of the print is limited to the dimensional size of the screen, but is typically large enough to cover a good portion of the front (or back) of a t-shirt.
Want to keep it real and do it yourself? Bravo! If your design is fairly basic and doesn’t require a bazillion colors, there are some cool little screen printing kits available… check around online or go to your nearest art supply/ craft store and pick one up!
#2: OVERSIZED / LARGE FORMAT
Oversized prints are larger than standard t-shirt designs and cover most of the front of a shirt, without printing over any of the seams or onto the sleeves, collar or bottom hem.
They are generally printed using the same method as standard screen printing, but with larger screens.
#3: ALL OVER PRINTING
Just as the name suggests, an all-over print covers the entire shirt, with artwork that prints over the seams, sometimes including the collar, the sleeves, the hem or all of the above. This is generally achieved by using a machine called a belt printer. Other methods include dye sublimation and super sized silk screening.
The glimmer still shines
ArT to me, includes thinking ahead and recognizing opportunities.
Mail fraud laws are strong and time tested, a perfect vehicle to piggyback on for retaining artists' rights to profit from our own creativity.
To help you follow the thought pattern here, think this through
1 - dude has a t-shirt company and instead of paying for art to screen on his t-shirts, dude cruises the web and picks up images (steals them) from artists' art marketing websites.
2 - dude does slick photo manipulation and up-pixelates the stolen images and screens them onto his t-shirts
3 - dude sell the t-shirts on the web and then distributes them through THE MAIL
4 - dude gets tried for mail fraud and goes to prison for 20 years
Repeat the above for people who take pics off artist's websites and prints the pics on canvas and gives it a layer of paint (machines can do this now) and sells the stolen ima…