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custom print t-shirts

Last updated on May 23rd, 2022 at 06:55 pm

Custom t-shirts are one of the most popular promotional products. According to the latest ASI Impression Survey (a promotional products industry magazine), here are some key stats about custom print t-shirts:

  • 80% of consumers own promotional T-shirts
  • 3,400 impressions promotional T-shirts generate throughout their lifetime
  • Promotional T-shirts are kept an average of 14 months!

In this blog post, we will go through all the different types of t-shirts available, and imprint methods, and some design tricks to give you the best bang for your buck!

Custom Print T-Shirt Materials


Bella canvas unisex tee
Bella Canvas unisex tee

A forever favorite in t-shirts, 100% cotton tee are durable, comfortable touch to skin and will withstand many washes. They are perfect for many imprinting methods including screenprinting, and direct to garment printing. Our favorite is the Bella Canvas unisex short sleeve tee


Next level CVC unisex tee
Next Level CVC unisex tee

The cotton/polyester blend, which is sometimes also called 50/50 has been created with both types of fibers to take advantage of the best qualities of each. This Next Level CVC Unisex Crew is a good example. It is  breathable and tear-resistant. The shirt also has moisture-wicking properties to stay light and dry through perspiration. It is less expensive than 100% cotton and offers softness and comfort. It also prevents the fabric from shrinking, as cotton that has not been preshrunk is prone to doing.


Anvil triblend womens tee
Anvil triblend womens tee

This is my personal favorite. Tri-Blend is a polyester/cotton/rayon blend fabric. Polyester retains shape and elasticity; Cotton lends both comfort and durability; addition of Rayon makes for a unique texture and drapes against the body for a slimming look. This fabric makes a superbly comfortable shirt and feels luxurious. A great example is the Women’s Triblend T-shirt from Anvil provides a great fit in super soft triblend fabric. 

Ring Spun Cotton

Alternative Apparel Go-To Tee
Alternative Apparel Go-To Tee

For those who prefers 100% cotton, a step up will be ring spun cotton. The fibers have been through a spinning process that softens and straightens each fiber. The result is a softer and stronger fabric.  Cotton Jersey Go-To Tee from Alternative is a great one to try.

Moisture Wicking

New Era Series Performance Tee
New Era Series Performance Tee

Moisture wicking is usually a polyester blend that is found in performance fabric. Polyester is a synethic fiber so it does not retain moisture like cotton. The moisture-wicking fabric works by pulling moisture from the body to the exterior of the shirt where it can evaporate more easily. Moisture-wicking performance fabric used to be only used in sportswear, team uniform but now it is found in polos, all types of t-shirts. The New Era Serious Performance Tee is sporty, soft and will keep you nice and dry.

Read more about performance fabric

Recycled Fabric

According to the same ASI Impression Survey, a whopping 46% of consumers have favorable opinion of an advertiser if the promo product they received was environmentally friendly. Recycled fabric t-shirts are created for that reason. Fabrics and scraps that would other meant for landfill are used, and sometimes the fabric is not re-dyed, saving loads of water and energy. The savings goes on and on. Our favorite recycled tees include the District Re-Tee shirt, and AllMade Unisex Tri-Blend Tee

District Re-Tee benefits
District Re-Tee benefits

Weight of T-Shirts

The weight of the shirt will also affect how it wears and looks. Under 4oz is considered light; medium weight will be somewhere between 4-5.5oz; anything over that will be heavy. A heavier weight shirt is likely to be a better choice as a work shirt and will keep shape after many washes. A lighter weight is typically preferred by women and juniors/young men for more drape and comfortable fit.

How Custom T-shirts are Printed

After you select a great shirt, now it is time to figure out the best way to print! These days there are so many different ways to create a custom print t-shirt, you can almost print anything! A company experienced with custom printing t-shirts will be able to recommend the best method for any artwork. Sometimes, the shirt you have picked may not work with the imprint method, and some artwork revision will be needed. If you are working with a certain budget, the company should be able to recommend the most appropriate imprint method for that. We at Garuda Promo can help you with all of it.

Here are the most popular imprint methods on a t-shirt:

  • Screenprinting: standard t-shirt imprint method, cost effective for single color print, but can get pricy for small run and designs with many colors
  • Full Color Digital Printing: works with any designs, particularly with gradient and photographic images. It does not require any screens, so the setup is much less than screenprinting. Cost effective for small runs and designs with many colors. Can be slow for large quantity runs.
  • Dye-Sublimation: another full color imprint method that can be used to produce “all over prints” such as bike jerseys or other polyester shirts. The shirt must be white to begin with. 

Read More about our Printing Methods

How to Design a Custom Print T-Shirt

A great design can make even a plain white tee great. Brainstorm a message for the t-shirt, whether it is a slogan, mission statement, a play with words, those are all good places to start. Take out your favorite t-shirt and why you love it. Was it the material? Or the color of the shirt? Or the design? 

Read More about Designing a Great Tee

We always advise the client to focus on the message and not necessarily the company logo. The message and design will be on brand, but the should not be the focus here. 


About the Author

Shirley Ho

Shirley is the co-founder of Garuda Promo and Branding Solutions. With a background in print production and graphic design, she specializes in promotional products marketing, creating end-products that aligns with her client's marketing goals and brand strategy.

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