BlueCotton is an experienced provider of custom-decorated T-shirts, sweatshirts, athletic wear, hats, and other garments as well as promotional items such as tote bags, drinkwear, and notebooks.
Using an assortment of screen printing, embroidery, and digital printing equipment, they have supplied custom-decorated apparel for major brands (such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Juicy Couture, and General Motors), small-business owners, and amateur sports teams. They also print custom-designed T-shirts for individuals planning reunions, weddings, or other events.
While there is no minimum order for most custom-designed products (you can even order just one!), you get better pricing when you order six or more. BlueCotton typically uses digital-printing technology for orders up to 20 items, and traditional screen printing for orders of 20 or more.
T-shirts for Authors and Artists
Through a close working relationship with the Print Mafia design studio, BlueCotton has seen how musicians and performance artists use T-shirts to promote themselves and supplement their revenues. Print Mafia reproduces their visually distinctive hand-lettered, hand-cut art on posters for rock concerts, tours, and festivals as well as tour merchandise.
According to Brad Wayland from BlueCotton, Print Mafia specializes in screen-printing their art on heavy, archival-grade paper but works with BlueCotton to produce T-shirts because “We have a vast array of sources for both high-end boutique-style shirts as well as basic tees.”
BlueCotton believes authors, photographers, and visual and performance artists can benefit by using custom-printed T-shirts either as promotional giveaways or fanwear.
Recently, BlueCotton produced custom t-shirts for author David Bell. Bell used them during and after tours to promote his novel “Cemetery Girl” and “The Hiding Place.”
“Not only did the T-shirts look great for both books, they also proved to be one of the most popular giveaways we did,” says Bell. “Let’s face it, almost everybody likes getting a cool, well-designed T-shirt. They have a practical use–we have to wear clothes most places we go–and they are also conversation starters. People ask about the book, or the image, of the colors, and that can lead to instant connections and interest.”
Artists may want to have a few custom T-shirts printed for a gallery opening.
“Not everyone who attends a gallery opening can afford an original piece of art or even a giclee’ print, but they may certainly be able to carry home a custom t-shirt bearing an artist’s signature or mark,” says Brad Wayland. “A T-shirt embellished with the artist’s website address, a few words from the artist’s statement, and a representative image can help promote the artist and her work, and may spark a conversation that brings a collector your way.”
He points out that, “Installations or performance art events are perfect opportunities to offer custom apparel or other promotional merchandise because it enables the audience an opportunity to take away a tangible token of the experience when the art itself is not for sale.”
While digital-printing equipment has made it easier to reproduce photographs on T-shirts, many photographers still use custom T-shirts solely for branding purposes. T-shirts imprinted with the photographer’s logo are worn by the photographer as well as assistants in the studio or at art fairs or exhibitions.
If you’re a photographer, consider the extent your work can be used on promotional items such as T-shirts. Certain sizes and resolutions translate better in the screen printing process, and BlueCotton’s design team can give you tips on what types of images render the best results.
Design Your T-Shirt Online
Like many screen-printing firms, Blue Cotton regards printing as a craft. They have a natural rapport with artists and designers and strive to find creative ways to get the best possible results within the limitations of their equipment. While there are still some technical limitations as to the type of art that can be reproduced on T-shirts, the experts at Blue Cotton will advise you if the imagery that you upload to the site won’t reproduce well.
Through their online, interactive Design Studio, you can select the type of garment you would like printed, upload an image, and position the image and/or text on the garment. Images must be no larger than 5000 x 5000 pixels. They recommend uploading a 200 dpi PNG in the exact size you want the design reproduced.
As printing technology continues to improve, so does the quality of the T-shirts and imprinted designs. Whether you want to improve your branding, get your name out there, or show off your unique personality, you can show off your style and have a shirt that is an expression of who you really are.