Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Short Run Full Color Update

Who do you call (or email) when you want to put an image like Mr. Cactus here jammin' on his guitar on a T Shirt?

Today I will sing the praises of Cafe Press, the site where you can go to print your art or logo on just about anything, in a jiffy. Simply upload your art, choose a shirt (or mug, etc.) to print on, and it's GO Time.

I do not want to refer business to my competition, but I'm not in the same business as Cafe Press.

Screen printing is an elegant, simple process that produces beautiful results - but the fact is, the economies of scale start at around 60 pieces minimum. For full color, it doesn't make economic sense to go to screen printing for less than 100 pieces, in order to offset the cost of films & screens.

Thus, the answer for short run, full color printing is to go digital. I've remarked before on the recent improvements in digital imaging with regard to it's image quality and durability. While it's true that many Mom & Pop, local operations are setting up for digital printing, there are a couple things to consider.

Anyone can print out an image (backwards) from an ink jet printer onto t-shirt release paper and iron it (or heat press) it onto a T Shirt, and there is nothing wrong with that. But for the best quality and durability, you may want to consider direct to garment digital printing. At present, the cost of the machinery is still prohibitive. So I would carefully check quality before ordering digital prints from a local entrepreneur.

At present, I recommend Cafe Press because they get it right, with regard to quality and service. Quality and service are the drivers of my screen print operation, and I have a hearty respect for any business that takes these values to heart.

As mentioned, I'm not in competition with Cafe Press, in fact I'm a client of Cafe Press, for the sake of full disclosure. Yup, I am using their service for some of my own full color images, at this link:
So if you like Mr. Cactus on the guitar, you know where you can find him on a shirt!

Steve Lafler

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