Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS SCREEN PRINTING?
Screen printing uses inks to imprint a design onto a shirt, sweatshirt, apron, or fabric item. The basic process involves squeezing inks through one or more sheer fabric screens onto the garment. As each screen is custom made for each design, the number of screens needed for a design depends on the number of colors in the design.
Our computerized automatic presses apply each layer of ink precisely every time, using the correct pressure for the design, ink type and texture of the garment being printed onto. We heat-cure our screen printed items in a conveyor oven. This chemically bonds the inks to the garment, giving a long-lasting, durable design that washes and wears well, and that usually outlasts the garment.
WHAT IS EMBROIDERY?
Embroidery uses threads to create a rich, textured design on a garment. The image or drawing is sewn directly onto the shirt, jacket, cap, sweatshirt, or fabric item. An embroidered design can include lettering, logos, and even complex artwork. Our designers translate the artwork into a sequence of stitches – thousands of them.
This design process is as much art as it is science, and is called “digitizing.” Larger designs require longer to set up and to sew. Our computerized, multi-head embroidery machines can sew as many as 15 thread colors into a design, and can embroider dozens of garments at a time. Embroidery is long-lasting and does not show the effects of time or frequent washing. An embroidered design has a depth, dimension and luster that looks expensive and has a high perceived value.
IS ONE BETTER THAN THE OTHER?
Embroidery uses threads to create a rich, textured design on a garment. The image or drawing is sewn directly onto the shirt, jacket, cap, sweatshirt, or fabric item. Screen printing uses inks to imprint a design onto a shirt, sweatshirt, apron, or fabric item.
There is no real way to say whether one is better than the other, it really comes down to preference and the job at hand. If you need a design on a hat or jacket, embroidery is probably the best thing for you. But if you want a large picture on a T-Shirt, screen printing is certainly the way to go.
IS IT CHEAPER TO DO SCREEN PRINTING OR EMBROIDERY?
Screen printing is generally less expensive per item, but not as much as you might think. It is typically a couple of dollars less per item in higher volumes because our automatic presses can screen print each item much more quickly than our embroidery machines can.
However, embroidery doesn’t require as much time to set up as screen printing. This makes smaller runs possible with embroidery, so it can be less expensive overall if you need fewer items produced. Embroidery is also more economical to reorder in small runs, for this same reason.
WHAT FORMAT DO YOU NEED MY ARTWORK IN?
In order to screen print or embroider your logo, we need it to be in a vector format - something that was originally created in a program like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. We have the most success with AI, PDF, and EPS files. We can work from a low resolution JPG or a Microsoft Word file, but we can’t recreate your art for free (sorry). Your customer service rep will look at the file format you provide and let you know if any Graphic Design charges will apply before we proceed with your order.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BITMAP AND A VECTOR FILE?
Bitmaps (also called "raster" art) are made up of pixels, while vector images are composed of mathematical formulas that consist of curves and points. As such, they can be resized without losing quality. Making a bitmap larger makes the pixels larger too, and the result can be blurry and jagged.
Photos are bitmap images, and so are file formats like BMP, JPG, and PSD. Vector images have crisp lines and can be resized as big as a house without losing any image quality. Vector images are created in programs like Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand and Corel Draw.
WHY DOES MY ARTWORK NEED TO BE IN VECTOR FORMAT?
Vector format files allow for total manipulation of the artwork. A vector file can be resized without degradation of any images or text. It also allows us to build "traps" between the colors, which is an essential ingredient for screen printing.
CAN YOU CREATE MY ARTWORK FOR ME?
Yes! We have an art department that will work with you to create a great design for your project.
Design quotes are free, and we will never bill you for something that we did not talk to you about beforehand.
WHAT CHOICES DO I HAVE FOR GARMENTS?
We have thousands of styles and colors to choose from, with shirts, blouses, caps, jackets, aprons, bags and more. We do golf shirts, tee shirts, business wear, active wear, headwear and outerwear. We can screen print virtually any smooth-texture item, and can embroider just about any item that will fit under our machine’s needles.
Check out our garment choices for some ideas, or better yet, drop by and browse our Show Room to see our most popular items.
CAN I BRING MY OWN GARMENTS IN?
Yes, but quite often we can save you money by purchasing quality garments for you because of our volume discounts with different vendors. Buying your own in retail stores usually costs you more, even when they’re on sale!
Additionally, there are risks to providing your own garments.
Flaws in a garment may not be discovered until after the logo is put on it. A shirt may have a hole in the back or a rip in the seam. Once a garment is sewn or printed, very few retailers will take an item back. If you bought it from us, we will replace it.
Finally, during the process of both screen printing and embroidery, some garments may get damaged. When you purchase an item from us, we take the risk and we are able to replace any defects at no additional cost to you. The money we make from selling you the product acts like an insurance policy, affording us the ability to replace damaged goods. If you bring your own garments, we will not guarantee or replace the item. In the event that a garment is damaged, we do not charge for the embroidery or screen printing on that item, and we return the garment to you.
HOW LONG WILL MY ORDER TAKE?
How soon do you need it? After you approve your final artwork, we can usually complete your screen printing or embroidery order within 7-10 days. That allows us time to special-order your garments in the sizes and colors you want, and to get your order processed on our automatic presses or embroidery machines.
We’re here to serve you. If you need it sooner, we can most likely accommodate you. During busy times, we may need to add a rush charge to compensate for employee overtime hours.
CAN I USE A PICTURE FROM MY WEBSITE ON MY GARMENT?
No. Web images are presented at 72 pixels per inch. We need at least 200 pixels per inch to get a decent print. The rule of thumb is that if you print an image out on a good laser printer at the size you want it printed on your shirt, and it looks jagged or ugly, that's what the final print from us will look like.
HOW CAN I DO IT CHEAPER?
Change your order:
· Print less colors - this will get rid of some of your setup and printing costs. The result is cheaper shirts and a cheaper overall price.
· Use less expensive garments - if you're not using the cheapest shirts available, and you want to bring your pricing down, ask us to price cheaper shirts for you. This will give you cheaper shirts and a cheaper overall price.
· Order more garments - if you print enough garments to get to our next price break, you will potentially save lots of money, getting you a lower per-garment price.
CAN YOU SEW CUSTOM TAGS IN MY GARMENTS?
No. We do not do custom tags or the sewing for custom tags, but if you know someone with a sewing machine and some time on their hands, you can buy custom tags from our friends at ClothingLabels4U.com.
CAN I ORDER LESS THAN THE MINIMUM?
Yes, but due to the costs of setting up a machine, small numbers cost more. Let us know what we can do for you, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
WHAT COLORS DO I HAVE TO CHOOSE FROM?
We have a well built library of ink and thread shades.
We stock over 30 colors of ink, and can mix to match most Pantone (PMS) Colors.
For embroidered logos, we stock over 300 colors of thread, almost guaranteeing that we will have what you need.
WHY IS IT MORE EXPENSIVE TO DO MORE INK COLORS?
When embroidering a logo, we do not charge any more for a colorful logo than we do for a single color logo.
With screen printing, however, each color used requires us to produce a separate screen, increasing our material costs, as well as increasing the amount of time it takes to get your job registered and ready to print. Consequently, it costs more to do more colors.
I PICKED UP MY ORDER AND IT IS COMPLETELY WRONG!!!
First, rest assured that we stand behind our work. If we did something wrong, we’ll fix it.
Second, take a deep breath. Is it really the end of the world and worth stressing over? Take another deep breath and then call us. We’ll work with you to get you back on your feet whether it was our mistake or yours.