How to Order Custom Printed Shirts

How to Order Custom Printed Shirts

So i've noticed a lot of people ask about production and how to go about it. If you've never ordered custom shirts for you brand / company before, here's some things I would keep in mind when placing a screen printing order with a local print shop.

**Not all print shops operate the same / yield the same results. I've learned that screen printing is one of the most inconsistent things on this planet lol. Having a good relationship with the shop is very important. Also i'm just speed writing this, if things don't make sense i'm sorry aha. Hope this helps someone out there.

Step by Step

Step 1: Have Your Artwork Ready

Artwork File - I mostly work with vectors save everything as ".ai" (Adobe Illustrator) and just send that file on its own. Having some experience with screen printing, I try to make it easier for the print shop and I separate all the individual colors onto their own artboard.

Imprint Size / Placement - I take a blank shirt and I use a measuring tape to size up my artwork. For bigger designs, I typically have my designs around 13"-15" wide. I include things like, 3" from the neck / Center etc.

Include your Pantone #s - If you want your colors to match your designs, I suggest you get a Pantone Formula Guide. Use those Pantone codes to give to the printer so they can color match.

Step 2: Choose Your Shirt Blank

Some print shops have showrooms you can walk in and see shirts in person. If you have no clue, ask around the industry and see if anyone is down to give you recs. I use LA Apparel 1801 a lot, mainly bc stock levels are pretty good, a lot of color choices, heavywight, good fit, fast shipping since the factory is nearby to me.

Other popular brands inlcude alstyle, comfort colors, gildan

(dang didn't realize theres so much more to write but ill write what I can for now and get it out there lol)

Step 3: Order Inquiry

Usually via email. Might go something like this:

"Hi, my name is ____ and I am looking to place a screen printing order. Here's my artwork and mockup (attached), this is how big I want i, this is how I want the placement, for the colors here's the pantone #s.

I will need this by dd/mm, let me know if this is something we can do."

So it'll sound something like this. It's important to include any details that you have. It would also help if you made tech packs, but I found the print shops I work with do just fine without them.

Step 4: Receive Order and Quality Control

Final step is receiving the order, which I personally found to take 2 weeks on average. Open the goods and check the print is up to par. Check placements, print quality, colors. At this point theres not much you could if something is just slightly off, unless you have a great relationship with the print shop.


The general idea of getting designs printed is fairly simple, but the headaches will come. Be careful of doing preorders. although it is a very budget conscious  method, if you receive a sub par batch of printed goods that are pre-ordered, you're left in a bad spot.

Trail and error is the name of the game. Testing different shops, communication, turn around time, consistency, work environment, pricing, personal relationship with that company. A lot of moving parts come with finding the right print ship to work with.



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