t-shirt printing blog

25 Jun

Runway to Win Design Challenge

For an initiative called the “Runway to Win” challenge (which is a project by fashion designers in support of Obama 2012), volunteer artists and designers from across the United States have submitted their best designs inspired by President Obama.

Here are three of our favourite designs…

designs and graphics

To see the other designs that have been shortlisted, click here.

The winning design will be printed on t-shirts or tote bags that will become part of the Runway to Win collection – sitting alongside other garments with artwork designed by well known fashion houses such as Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang in the Obama 2012 online store.

existing printed t-shirts and tote bags

For more info on custom printed tshirts, get in touch!

 

22 Jun

5 Points to Follow When Creating Your Own Clothing Label

1.  Gather Inspiration, Brainstorm and Create a Brand Identity.

screen and direct to garment printed t-shirt inspiration
One of the first steps to go thorough when starting a business selling t-shirts, hats, tote bags, or any other item, is deciding what you’re going to be printing on these garments. Don’t rush into it, take some time gathering inspiration from all over. In order to try and evaluate the chance of success of your new apparel line, look around to see if other people are already successful with similar products.

Look at existing branding and clothing labels, follow blogs, read magazines and collate as much imagery as you possibly can. This will not only help to inspire you, but it’s an important process as it helps you to find out what’s all ready out there. It’s also vital to define your target customer. Remember that you can not be all things to all people. Take a look at what’s popular, and what is selling, and decide where you fit in. Keep in mind that a logo, design style and even brand name that would appeal to fashion conscious teens probably won’t fare so well with suburban Mums.

Interview members of your market in order to help develop ideas about pricing, marketing and design styles. Take advantage of social networks to conduct polls among members of your target group as well.

2.  Brand & Design Development.

logo and artwork ideas

Develop a range or graphic T-shirt designs, logos and a brand name using your market research. Every aspect of your brand should reflect the values and tastes of your target market. Don’t try to appeal to everyone, or you may end up appealing to no one. Create multiple graphic representations of potential logos, brand names and T-shirt designs. Test your designs with members of your target audience to help assist in narrowing your choices down.

Take the time to learn about the various print processes. We’ve posted various blog entries on the different print methods and how to prepare your files – the four print processes (screen printing, direct to garment printing, embroidery and transfer printing) we offer are very popular ways of transferring designs onto clothing, but by no means your only options. Study variations of your chosen garment carefully. We’re able to send you samples, so if you’re thinking about creating your own t-shirt line, compare the cut, detailing and fabric composition of your t-shirt options.

3.  Know Your Costings.

Having done your research into garments and price per “plain” item, pair these figures with your chosen print process per print cost. Ideally you want to make a profit not just break even. Does your chosen retail price fit in with your target market? This comes back to knowing your audience and understanding their budget.

Think about the kind of designs you’re selling when setting prices. For example, limited edition runs of certain T-shirt designs may do better at a higher price because increased price often implies rarity or special quality to buyers.

4. Have a Marketing Plan.

After you have defined your customer, figured out how much you can charge them for your products, you need a marketing plan that will get your name out there. Take advantage of all the various free marketing/social networking sites that are available (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pintrest, Youtube, etc.) – raising awareness of your brand has never been easier. Also, carefully distributing free samples of your T-shirts or sweaters to influential members of your target market can create a word-of-mouth buzz and viral marketing possibilities at minimal cost to you.

Remember, just because your have a great product does not mean people will automatically know about it. And the more buzz you generate for your product, the more likely stores will sell it. That means in order to get sales, you’ve got to let people know how to find you. And once they find you, you have to make them want to buy. The web has the ability to level the marketing playing field in many aspects. A new start-up t-shirt line has the same ability to show up in an online search right next to the biggest name brands.

5. Choosing Where to Sell.

t-shirt selling online vs. shops and boutiques.

This really depends on what works best for your target market. Some labels choose exclusively to sell online, or in stores – some sell across both. The people shopping on Etsy (an international handmade and vintage e-commerce site) might not be shopping on Bigcartel (self run e-commerce site) and vice versa. Initially people will buy your garments because they like the way they look/the designs and so forth not for their brand name. Be aware of aesthetics and how you’re visually representing your brand/line – use really strong photography if web selling or focus on your visual merchandising if shop selling. Think about the finer details too – be sure  your swing tags and packaging reflects your brand and are of the same high standard.

We hope you have found this post helpful. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions or check out our website for an instant quote. Icon Printing are specialists in creative customised clothing and bespoke t-shirt printing.

We also have a post here on Frequently Asked Questions.

email: sales@iconprinting.com

phone: 0207 183 8431

 

20 Jun

FAQs

embroidered polo shirt for uniform example

1. How long will my order take?

Our standard turnaround time is 7 working days (including production and delivery). We also offer an express service – which is 3 working days. For express turnaround we charge a markup of 20% of your order total. If you need your items sooner, please contact us so we can check your quote and artwork details; additional charges may apply. Once your order has dispatched we’ll email you a dispatch notification.

2. Do you offer an artwork service?

If you need your artwork converting into a print ready format we can help with this. Just upload the files you have so we can check them over. Most of the time converting artwork formats is free of charge however if it’s a complex design, there is an artwork charge which is usually £14.95 per hour.

3. Do I receive a visual proof before my job goes to print?

Yes, once your order is confirmed we’ll email you a visual proof PDF for you to approve before we start production. This allows you to see exactly what you have ordered and check the artwork dimensions, colours, layout and text. We won’t go ahead with production until you have signed the proof off. We’ll also send you an email confirmation with the full order details.

4. How much do you charge for delivery?

Standard delivery (9am to 6pm on weekdays) are free to mainland UK address.

We can deliver on a Saturday and additional charges apply:
Saturday pre 10am @ £40.50 per box and Saturday pre noon @ £30.50 per box.

5. Can I collect my order from your London office?

Sorry, it’s not possible to collect your items from our London office as the production takes place at one of our specialist print houses outside London. We always deliver the printed or embroidered items to your door via courier companies on a next day delivery. We use DPD or APC couriers who deliver next day, we’ll send you a dispatch notification when your items have been sent so you can track your order.

6. What artwork formats do you accept?

Before we start printing or embroidery, we always need your artwork in a print ready format. Depending on which customisation method we use we need the artwork in one of the following formats:

Vector Format for screen printing, embroidery or transfer printing:

- Adobe Illustrator, EPS or PDF files

- All fonts and strokes should be created to outlines

High res PNG files for DTG printing:

- PNG files saved with a transparent background

- Must be saved to at least 150 dpi and at least 100% of intended print size

If you’re not sure or unable how to supply any of these artwork files, please just upload whatever you have and we can recommend any changes if necessary.

7. Do you have a minimum order?

We have no minimum order for DTG or Transfer Printing. We have a minimum order of 20 items for Screen Printing and 6 items for Embroidery due to the set up, screen or digitisation costs involved. If you are supplying your own garments, we have a minimum order of 10 items.

8. Can you print over seams or zips?

No, we’re not able to.

9. If screen printing, can I change the colour of the print on some t-shirts?

Yes, as long as the design remains the same we can change the print colour. There is an additional colour change fee of £15.00 + VAT.

10. Do you deliver outside of the UK?

Yes we can deliver to mainland Europe but delivery costs will be higher and turnaround times can be longer. Please contact us if you wish to get your items sent to an address outside of the UK and we can provide full details for the cost and delivery timescales.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any other queries you may have…need express t-shirt printing? We can help!

email: sales@iconprinting.com

phone: 0207 183 8431

 

18 Jun

Why Promotional Products are Effective Marketing Tools…

some of Icon Printing's promotional printed examples

Here at Icon Printing, we customise clothing to cater for a wide range of needs – from specialist resale items to sports team-wear. One of our most popular requirements is promotional clothing and garments, as they provide extended brand exposure. Unlike traditional advertising, promotional products are difficult to miss. A tote bag with your logo will surely get more attention than a newspaper ad and your clients will be able to get repeated use out of it.

Here’s a brief list of pointers detailing why promoting your brand in this way can be beneficial -

  • These kinds of garments are valuable compared to flyers – these have become less effective means of marketing because they are often ignored and thrown away. Promotional items like t-shirts or tote bags aren’t likely to get tossed because they are more like gifts than advertisements.
  • They present a creative marketing spin. Billboards, radio spots, newspaper advertisements, and television commercials are fine, but they’re not exactly original. Promotional products are not only more creative but also more tangible to customers.
  • They’re inexpensive. Any experienced marketer can tell you about the high costs of traditional marketing methods. Promotional items are available in such a wide variety of shapes and sizes that there is something for any budget.

Here are a few examples of how promotional garments could work for you -

  • To generate brand awareness. Promo items quickly spread the word about your business. People love free gifts and samples, and clients are likely to tell their friends about the personalised merchandise that you have been distributing.
  • To say “thank you”. Sending follow-up emails to clients is always smart, but giving a high-quality promotional item is even better. When you send a gift, you can bet that you’ll see some repeat business.
  • To use as coupons and special offers. Many businesses print coupons on promotional items or offer t-shirts that entitle customers to discounts. There’s no limit to what you can do if you get creative with your promo items.
  • To organise a giveaway with prizes. By using your own custom merchandise as prizes, you’ll give winners what they want while exposing your brand at the same time.
  • To provide exclusive gifts to members. Membership fees are standard for numerous clubs and organisations, and many people are reluctant to pay them. Giving an exclusive promotional product as a member gift may encourage people to join.
  • To raise money for charity. Non-profit organizations and charities often hold fundraisers and auctions. Make yourself known by donating a high-end promotional item; the cause will gain funds, you’ll gain exposure, and the customer will receive a memorable gift.

If you’d like to create some promotional clothing to get your business noticed, drop us an email or give us a call for an instant quote. We even do express tshirt printing.

email: sales@iconprinting.com

phone: 0207 183 8431

 

14 Jun

Dodge & Burn Screen Printed Designs on American Apparel

This post is a bit geek chic, but we just couldn’t help ourselves! Dodge & Burn have created an awesome line of photo/camera inspired tees that are hand screen printed on American Apparel. This statement on their website couldn’t be more true…

“We’re neck-deep into the digital age and more people than ever are taking photos.  I believe that regardless of whether you use your iPhone or an old Leica screw mount camera to capture your decisive moment, you are part of the history of photography.  Dodge & Burn is here to remind you of this.

You may not use or even recognise these particular cameras that are intricately illustrated as their t-shirt artwork, but that doesn’t matter. Like Dodge & Burn stated, these days everyone and anyone can be a photographer and can appreciate this medium on any level.

example of tagless t-shirt printing

Another nice detail these tees have is a screen printed tagless label in the neckline of the shirt. This is a post production service we offer at Icon Printing. In this case it would involve removing the existing American Apparel label and printing in that spot or even attaching your own custom label. If it’s a small run of tees we recommend the heat seal transfer version of tagless label – to keep costs down, otherwise screen printing (like the one by D&B) looks fantastic, is long lasting and is more comfortable to wear.

If you would like any more information on tagless printing or t-shirt printing london, please get in touch.

email: sales@iconprinting.com

phone: 0207 183 8431

 

13 Jun

Totally Cool Totes by Lazy Oaf

We’ve noticed that this awesome “Half Empty/Half Full” tote bag is currently doing the internet rounds. And rightly so! What a clever idea…

printed tote bags by Lazy Oaf

These totes are by Lazy Oaf, who are known for their very cool, bright, pop graphic T-shirts, reversible sweats and accessories collections. The company is driven by illustration, graphics, drawing, and fueled by tea (apparently). The creative label started in 2001 – as a range of hand screen printed tees sold at a market stall in East London. All sorts of Lazy Oaf is now available in over 150 stockists worldwide. They’re now based in Shoreditch, London – which is where we are located too.

Come chat to us if you have smart little idea you’d like to see on some tees or totes, we even offer artworking services too!

email: sales@iconprinting.com

phone: 0207 183 8431

 

12 Jun

Client Case Study – DTG printed t-shirts for Muse of Fire

youtube snap shot

Muse of Fire – Film Trailer

We’ve recently had the pleasure of printing a run of tees for these two funny fellows, who are on a mission to change the world’s perception of Shakespeare.

MOF Direct to Garment printed t-shirt.

“This unique feature documentary follows two actors, Giles Terera and Dan Poole, as they travel the world to find out everything they can about tackling the greatest writer of them all. Together they have directed and produced an inspiring film that aims to demystify and illuminate Shakespeare’s work for everyone: from actors, directors and students of all disciplines, right through to the man on the street.

Denmark with Jude Law, Baz Luhrmann in Hollywood, a prison in Ireland, and on set with Al Pacino’s King Lear. Think Shakespeare is boring? Think again!

Featuring: Dame Judi Dench, Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellen, Jude Law, Sir Derek Jacobi, Dame Helen Mirren, Fiona Shaw, Alan Rickman, Baz Luhrmann, Zoe Wanamaker, and many more.”

More info here – shakespearefilm.com

close up of their direct to garment printed t-shirt

These t-shirts were DTG (direct to garment) printed on one of our most popular unisex tees by Gildan. This brand of crew neck t-shirt is always a fantastic choice due to the quality craftsmanship – making them super durable. They’re 100% cotton, which is an ideal surface for all print methods.

If you’d like more information on direct to garment printing garments for events and functions, please get in touch.

email: sales@iconprinting.com

phone: 0207 183 8431

 

11 Jun

Carry Hope – Printed Charity Tote Bag Project

Last year, bimonthly visual culture and design magazine Print, invited 12 leading visual artists to choose a cause they would like to support and create a design for tote bags that would then be sold on MyDesignShop.com. One hundred percent of the profits from these bags went to the causes chosen by the artists.

printed tote bag
The artists included in this project were:

Spin for Bone Cancer Research UK
Laurent Fetis for The World Wildlife Fund
James Joyce for Save the Children
Geoff McFetridge for Gabriella Charter School
Atélier Telescopique for Fondation de France
Sawdust for the British Heart Foundation
printed tote bag example
One design we found resonated with us in particular was created by Atélier Telescopique for Fondation de France. This organisation helps individuals and companies who wish to be involved in philanthropy by enabling them to create their own foundations under its aegis. They set up action programs in many areas – including education, medical and scientific research, culture, and the environment.

 

The tote bag design concept -

 

“This design is directly inspired by the tote-bag material. We called this model ‘Wild Canvas,’ and we chose to use an embroidery technique to print the pattern on the canvas. We do not really know why, but the tiger is certainly one of the most re-produced patterns on embroidered canvas! This tiger is a symbol for the environment and ecology.”

 

It’s nice see a concept for an embroidery based tote, as opposed to a typical screen print. Both these processes are just as impactful, but embroidery often denotes a slightly more professional, corporate feel.

 

If you’d like information on any of the print processes we offer or have any questions about custom tshirt printing, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

email: sales@iconprinting.com

phone: 0207 183 8431

twitter: iconprinting

07 Jun

Inspiration – An Idea Everyday

Digital artist Bram Vanhaeren, has epic typography skills. He’s put these said skills to good use in his “An Idea Everyday” series. This was a self initiated body of work based on self improvement.

“I promised myself, if I want to become better in what I do, I have to work harder and produce more. A fun way to stay creative and work on something you like, is by working on an habit. I aim to create a typography treatment every single day and keep it interesting. That way I can share quotations from books I’m reading, films I watch and random thoughts I’ve had that I would like to share with others.”

We’re really into our typography here at Icon Printing, as good type work can make or break a design or piece of artwork. We thought these pieces by Bram were too good to not share – as not only is the design work really strong, but the quotes are pretty great too. Enjoy!

If you’re stuck for fonts and feel like your collection isn’t quite cutting it, here are some helpful links…

Good free font sites – dafont.com1001freefonts.com

Great “for sale” font sites – YouWorkForThem.com | Veer.com 

For any more information on t-shirt printing uk, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! We’d love to hear from you, you can contact us at sales@iconprinting.com or give us a ring on: 0207 183 8431