t-shirt printing blog

Posts Tagged: screen printing

08 Nov

6 of the Best 1 Colour Screen Printed T-shirt Designs

Screen Printed t-shirts is our most popular request here at Icon Printing. Not only are the results long lasting, screen printing is also the most cost effect way of printing large quantity of garments.

We’ve selected a few examples of great 1 colour screen printed t-shirts. This is to illustrate how easy it is to create eye-catching screen printed garments using just 1 colour; in order to keep the printing costs as low as possible.

Dutch one colour football shirt screen print design

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02 Nov

Screen Printing OR Direct to Garment Printing?

DTG and screen print example

Here at Icon Printing, we offer four clothing customisation methods; Digital Direct to Garment printing, Screen Printing, Embroidery and Transfer Printing. Our two most popular t-shirt printing methods are screen printing and direct to garment (also known as DTG) printing. This is because the overall finish and print outcome is similar – but technically, they have their differences. So if you’re a bit stuck on which print process to go with, this post may be of assistance…

direct to garment printing and screenprinting

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12 Sep

What is the best t-shirt for printing on a budget?

We often get asked which t-shirt gives the best print results. If we were to recommend just one from the vast range we stock, we’d go for the GILDAN Softstyle Adult Ringspun T-Shirt (GD001).

Here’s why…

Our recommended t-shirt for screen and DTG printing

PRICE – It’s the cheapest t-shirt we stock. They’re so reasonable and great value for money, price per unit starts at just £1.91

QUALITY – We stock another Gildan – the Heavy Cotton Adult T-shirt (GD005), that comes in at the same price as our recommended Softstyle Gildan, but the quality is noticeably different. The Heavy Cotton Gildan isn’t as soft, has a baggier fit and isn’t finished as nicely – the hem stitching is really basic.

PRINTABILITY – This Softstyle Gildan is 100% cotton, so any of the print techniques we offer will take to it really well. It washes and wears well too. This style comes in so many different colours, the brand Gildan are great for that.

WEARABILITY - It’s very soft and comfortable to wear. It is a perfect length and the sleeves don’t gape too much.

N.B. If we were to recommend a t-shirt that produces even better print results (this one does come with a slightly higher pricier tag), we would go for anything by Earth Positive. These t-shirts give outstanding print results, as the weave is nice and tight. So, if you’re feeling flush – these are definitely the ones to go for!

The reason we stock so many T-shirts, is because we want to be able to offer something for every budget. And if you still can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, we can help you find it. Choosing a T-shirt depends on your intended spend per unit and what you’re actually going to use your printed T-shirt for. It could be a promotional give away, fashion resale or for uniform, etc. We reckon our recommended Gildan would fit the bill for all of these requirements, it really is a great tee.

If you would like any more information on the types of custom t-shirt printing we offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Drop us a line at: sales@iconprinting.com or ring 0207 183 8431.


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


16 May

5 Tips on Designing Artwork for Screen Printing…

Here are a few important pointers on what not to do when creating your artwork. By following these guidelines it will maximise the quality of your screen printed garment.

1. Web Images

Using images from the web can be handy, but note that most of the time these images are very small and set to only 72 dpi (very low image quality). Web designers use the lowest resolution and size possible so that their pages load fast while keeping the images looking good. Due to this, the image downloaded is designed to look good at the relatively small size it appears on screen and not printed out here in the real world. When it comes to screen printing, these forms of photo images should be avoided altogether – but vector based images are absolutely fine.

screen print 1

As shown above, many internet images are very pixelated and blurred.

2. Details

Try to avoid very small negative spaces as they can fill in or “bleed”. Ink is a fluid and therefore spreads a little bit by nature. So a very small negative space (such as the words “Screen Printing” – shown in the image below) can be filled in by the ink that surrounds it pretty easily. However, there is no hard and fast rule for avoiding bleed on small type/detailing, so every piece of artwork will be evaluated on a case by case basis. However, a good general guideline is to use fonts at or above 12 points and lines or outlines stroke size larger than 0.3 pt.

screen print 2

The fine or “light” version of this typeface is not a good choice, the hairline box detail also wouldn’t print.

3. Illustrator Effects

Illustrator has some cool effect options, but you’ve got to be careful when using them – especially when creating artwork for screen printing. Try to avoid drop shadow or gradient effects. These often look good (at first glance) and add dimension, but they complicate your file by mixing image types and this type of effect doesn’t translate to the screen successfully. If you do want a slight shaded area effect or gradient within your design or logo, it will need to be made up of a series of very small dots (when viewed close-up) that from a distance, create the look of a gradient or difference in tone. It is more time consuming, but the outcome is a much better print.

screen print 3

4. Transparencies

In Illustrator, when two shapes overlap and the one on top has opacity set lower than 100%, the color of the shape below it will affect its color. For example (see below), when the circle on the bottom is red and the one on top is blue with 50% opacity, the overlapping portion is violet. But when it comes down to printing, it almost never works out like that due to unpredictable ink transparencies and intermingling pigments.  If you’ve got a red + blue = violet type scenario, use a spot color violet instead of transparencies.

screen print 4

5. Problem Colours

Inks have varying degrees of transparency. A few color ranges are very transparent and do not look good when printed on a particular colour under base – whether that’s another ink layer or your actual garment colour. This can leave areas looking splotchy, washed out and generally poor. Darker blues tend to be one of these and, unless you’re printing on to white garments, avoid using them. Another one to look out for, is bright fluorescent inks, they too are very transparent and tend to lighten up and lose brightness when printed on an under base.

If you have any questions about your artwork, we are here to help! Drop us an email or just give us a ring -

sales@iconprinting.com or on 0207 183 8431


17 Apr

Screen and DTG Printed Tote Bags

Here at Icon Printing we print onto all sorts, hoodies, all kinds of T-shirts, caps…the list goes on. You can view our full range of printable items here. However, one of our most popular garments we find our customers go for, is the tote bag. These make excellent canvases for almost any kind of design – detailed or bold, giving fantastic results. For maximum durability, choosing our screen printing option for your design is advised, but you also have the option of choosing to use the direct to garment printing and transfer printing methods. These lightweight bags make brilliant promotional giveaways, or even gifts – as they can be folded away to almost nothing and always come in handy – a great way to get your message out there!

Icon Printing tote bags

1. Organic Shopper Bag | 2. Natural Cotton Carrier | 3. Promo Sling Tote | 4. Jute Shoulder Bag | 5. Promo Shoulder Tote.

Stuck for inspiration? Well, we’ve come across a local chap – Simeon Farrar, who creates his own line of screen printed canvas totes – amongst other things. As you can see, they make great everyday bags and they really are very effective. You can place your artwork on the bag just about anywhere, both large or small designs prove just as effective.

tote bag tote bag tote bag

Simeon Farrar is a London based designer who trained in Fine Art and has been a painter for the last 10 years. His Fine Art background forms the basis of his clothes as he explores the themes expressed in his earlier paintings. All the garments are hand finished or dyed and quite often the prints are washed before they have time to dry and so rinse away into the fabric. As a result each piece is very much a one off.

14 Apr

An Alternative Print Technique by TUGBOAT

Here at Icon Printing, we’re always on the look out for creatives who appreciate the world of printing and print making as much as we do. Our expertise is in screen printing, direct to garment, transfer and digital embroidery. What’s great about this industry, is that there are a number of ways to transfer image onto paper, fabric, garments in general, and when we stumble across something rather awesome, we like to share.

Alternative Print Technique

Behold, Tugboat – the collaborative name for the team printing projects of husband and wife duo Paul Roden and Valerie Lueth, from Pittsburgh, USA. Their prints are original illustrations, carved out of woodblocks by hand (with hand tools), and printed onto paper by hand on their in-house etching press. It’s not too often you come across this level of craftsmanship, forward planning, pure skill and talent. You can’t help but be blown away.

Alternative Print Technique Alternative Print Technique Alternative Print Technique

To find out more about the printing services we have to offer at Icon Printing, please feel free to get in touch.

09 Apr

Printed Garment Inspiration – ZOE KARSSEN

Every once in a while a T-shirt line suddenly appears and proceeds to take the fashion world by storm. This is exactly what happened with the Dutch luxury, printed T-shirt brand Zoe Karssen a mere 18 months ago. The label is a creative partnership between Quince and Zoe Karssen, built on the foundations of cool, easy to wear fashion with a playful, rock n roll twist. The collection channels laid back chic and is an obvious hit.

screen printed t-shirt

I personally first came across the brand six months ago whilst on a trip to the ‘t-shirt capital’ that is Australia – well, they have the weather for it! I was enjoying a stroll down the very cool Chapel Street in Melbourne, when I came across a T-Shirt only boutique, called Black Books. Their selection of Karssen tees took pride of place along one wall, and it was love at first sight. Not only was I drawn to their irresistibly understated tongue-in-cheek slogans and bold imagery, but the detail that came with it – even though they initially seemed so low-key and well…simple.

screen printed t-shirt

There was the topstitching details, unfinished edges and drop hems to the reverse of some, the pared down colour pallet and my favourite touch – the use of screen printing on the front inside of the garment. This gave a wonderful subtle, almost preworn look to the designs. Each design felt different, carrying its own selection of quirks with it. I had great difficulty in whittling my choices down and not immediately walking out with every single style they had.

screen printed t-shirt screen printed t-shirt screen printed t-shirt screen printed t-shirt

It’s no wonder they’ve been picked up by big retailers like Liberty, Net-a-Porter and Harrods. The collection delivers a healthy injection of super-cool “I just threw this on” to any outfit.