Before you get that artwork made, read this.

Ow! Holy Sh***! OW!

I’m experiencing a sharp pain in my job estimator (it’s near the gall bladder). I take a deep breath, hold my side and stare at the ceiling until it passes.

Okay, that’s a little better. I’m still twitching, but at least I’m under control for now.

I get this pain every time a customer emails me artwork and I instantly see how expensive it’s going to be to print it on a t-shirt. See, the pain I feel isn’t for me, it’s for them. It’s sympathy pain.

Oh, the artwork may be gorgeous; a hand-painted original in all the shiny colors you’d find inside a bag of Tropical Skittles. It looks great on paper and even nice in the email. It might look nice on a shirt, but it’s going to cost a small fortune.

So what’s the deal? Why isn’t it cheaper? In this age of scanning and uploading art to Vista Print to get $6.00 business cards, why does getting a few shirts screen printed require a second mortgage?

I’ve covered this before in other posts, but I want to talk to you specifically about your artwork. I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of CMYK vs spot color or high res file conversion. You don’t need to know all that to get shirts printed, and you shouldn’t have to get a Graphic Design degree to save a little money. The advice I have for you is super duper simple and I can sum it up in one word: PLANNING.

In short, you’re doing it backwards. Typically what many of our customers do is:

  1. decide they want a new business logo or design for their event
  2. find an artist who will create it (free or cheap), and then;
  3. go find sources to print it.

Backwards! Well, sort of. Let me explain.

I know your friend/sister-in-law/nephew is a fantastic artist. You need to know up front if they have any experience in prepping artwork for print. Ideally, they should be the ones responsible for creating art you can actually use in different types of media. If not, all bets are off.

Even better, do a little research into the different ways your design will used. Will you need a sign made? Will you need it in one color on a stress ball? T-shirts you can actually afford to print? Self-inking stamp? Most vendors will have guidelines for you to follow. We post our artwork guidelines right here on our site. If you or your artist ever want to ask questions about our process, we give you unlimited advice free of charge. It’s what we do.

This way, you’re prepared to talk to an artist before anything is created.

No matter how much you love your artist and their beautiful art, you need to be prepared for all the different ways you’ll want it reproduced. That may require a little work on your part, but in the end you will have a much easier time getting what you want and saving money along the way.

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