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custom t-shirt printing

CafePress Custom T-Shirt Review

by Amy_F on April 11, 2013

Amy In Custom CafePress

When I was offered another custom t-shirt review to do, it seemed to be the right fit for me considering I’ve already done several others, like Wordans and Zazzle.  This time though it was for CafePress, and I was thoroughly surprised, because I know a lot of people that use CafePress for getting custom promotional items and are always very pleased with the results.  However, just because the promotional items are well done, doesn’t always mean the custom t-shirts are going to come out all that great – so this was my time to investigate!

CafePress has everything (and I mean EVERYTHING), literally from customizable iPhone cases, aprons, mugs, jewelry cases, t-shirts, hoodies, baby onesies, home and office decor, stationary, wall art – should I go on?  I mean, the list is endless, which is quite amazing.  There’s obviously no shortage of customizable ‘stuff’ on CafePress’ website.  My interest was in customizing a t-shirt though, so I went right into the Women’s Custom T-Shirt section and started searching for my style.

cafepress-website

So here’s my first issue, CafePress has such expensive BLANK t-shirts, that even though I was given a gift certificate to complete the review – I was even being money conscious while shopping.  I honestly don’t understand why they’re charging $17.99 and upwards for blanks, and this is way before you even get to customizing it.  A custom dark t-shirt is $32.50, a custom white t-shirt is $17.99 – that’s odd, right?  Like I said though, I was given a gift certificate, so I went for the custom white, because I’m stingy with my ‘non’ money.  Let me note that most of these customizable clothing websites have very poor photos of the blank garments which makes it difficult to choose what style you want because you don’t really know how it looks on a person.  CafePress has simple stock photos of the blank garment on a white background.  It’s hard to tell the shape of the shirt, the length or the fit.

Womens-Customer-Tshirts

Moving on, when you get into the Design Center, as I like to call it, they give you a big cheesy image/drawing of the shirt on the background and a box in the center of the shirt to show you where you can design.  CafePress allows you the option of designing on the front, back or the pocket area of the shirt.  The area they give you allows a decent amount of space to place wording or an image, which I liked.  It wasn’t too small or too high near the collar of the shirt.  They allow you to choose from many different fonts, select an image from their gallery or upload your own, and they give you the option of adding shapes; which is a new one for me, I don’t recall having seen this option before on other websites.

My problem is there’s always so much to choose from and play with that I get overwhelmed.  I’ve tried several different ways of customizing on the other websites, so on CafePress I decided to go with the ‘clip art’ from their design gallery.  They had a great selection of black and white and colorful images to choose from, which left me excited because I like to sometimes overlap 2 clip art images on these customizable tees and make my own brand new image.  After playing with that for quite a while, I decided to go with a simple image (just 1) and put it right in the center of the chest area.

Amy-Custom-Cafepress-Tee

You can obviously rotate the image, flip it, enlarge or even shrink it.  So once you get all that set and decide on how you want it to look, you go over and click “I’m Finished” in the upper right hand corner to move on to the next page.  The following page will now lead you to the beginning of the check-out process which is fairly self-explanatory and simple.  Select your size, confirm the color of the t-shirt you want, click ‘Add to Cart’ and then enter all your personal info to purchase the product.

It's Here

Now that we’ve gone through the process, I will let you know how the final product came out.  I was delighted when it arrived in a custom mailer that ironically read on the front “It’s here!”  The packaging was easy and friendly – a no hassle package is a good package!  Inside was my shirt folded up with a few goodies to Thank Me for shopping with them and my receipt.  The shirt came out great and the print was pure quality.  It was a soft shirt that fit me perfectly – however remember I guessed on the style from the poor image, so I was pleasantly surprised when it fit perfect!

Amy's Custom Tee

The print was not rough or raised, it blended into the shirt and was just as soft as the tee itself.  The shirt still had it’s original American Apparel tag inside – which now explains a little why the price was so expensive.  The other thing I took a look at while shopping on CafePress was I noticed they had bulk options so I went to check out the bulk pricing – which I might add was again quite ridiculous.  Sometimes us clothing companies take for granted these easy-to-use online shops and printers, so I always like to go ahead and research and check them out.  There’s been a few times I was pleased to see the pricing AND quality was much more affordable than going through a regular printing company and working hands-on with them.  Unfortunately, I thought I’d be more pleased with CafePress’ pricing, but I wasn’t.  Their quality however, was definitely superior and the entire customization process was easy and simple.

Cafepress

Would I shop with CafePress again?  Yes, I definitely would, but I think they should reconsider their pricing strategy.  There are quality products that aren’t American Apparel that will draw in more customers because they’re more affordable (we’re still in a recession people).  I loved how many options they had on their website because now I know I can go to them for really anything I need, which is always great to know!  The design and checkout process was not at all complicated, it all went totally smooth and the t-shirt literally arrived to me with normal shipping in a matter of 3 days (or less).  They’re quick, easy and produce a great product!

Cafepress

Thank you CafePress for allowing me the pleasure of reviewing your Custom T-Shirt process.  If you want to check more out about CafePress, head over to their website and remember they’re on Facebook and Twitter too!

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Wordans Custom T-Shirt Review

by Amy_F on November 19, 2012

Wordans-Shirt-Review

I’ve been asked to do Custom Reviews before and really enjoyed myself since I got to try out the companies website and custom design process and design my own shirt.  Not that I don’t already design my own shirts for a living but it’s always fun to try out other ways to go about it.  This most recent Custom Review was for a company called Wordans.  I had never heard of them prior to this so I was eager to check out their website and design center online.

Wordans logo

Their website is clean and designed well making it very simple to find the “Create Your Own” custom t-shirt section in the top left corner on the front home page.  They give you a drop down menu which sometimes I personally find annoying if there’s too much clutter happening in there or too many options, but they give you a reasonable amount of items/products to select from to custom design yourself.  I think it’s great that they’ve given you so many different items to custom design because there are so many creative people in the world that could just sit there for hours designing things which will in turn become lots of orders for them.

Wordans website

 

Let’s get right to it so I can start showing you my custom shirt.  I obviously clicked on custom T-shirt and while that page is loading they give you a brief 1-2-3 step process of how the website will work.  Once the design center loads they give you a slew of t-shirt styles and brands to choose from on the right hand side and color options for each shirt underneath plus sizing and quantity and all that good stuff.

design center screen shot

Wordans gave me a lot of options which I liked but disliked at the same time.  Let me explain; I’ve done custom t-shirt websites that give me 4 shirts to choose from and I hated it.  But too many options, especially options that are very similar where a normal consumer (not a clothing company owner/designer such as myself) would know the difference between the brands and fits and styles.  I’m not sure if they get a lot of every day people shopping for a few custom shirts or more so clothing companies or business’s purchasing in bulk since they have that option as well.  If it’s more consumer-related then I think you should limit the brands and styles of the clothing.  What do I mean by that?  I mean don’t give me the same style shirt in a Gildan and an American Apparel because a normal person isn’t going to know the difference they are only going to look at color, fit and price.

Amy-Wordans-Custom-Tshirt The Gildan-Women’s vneck fits perfect!

I chose a Gildan Women’s fit v-neck t-shirt in white though the color options were endless I was in a simple mood.  The next part is simple, simply choose your text or image to place on the shirt.  They give you a much broader range to place your design on the shirt than most other custom design websites do.  They basically give you the entire front or entire back to maneuver your text or image around.  This was great because I got really frustrated on other websites with the small limited area they allowed me to play around with.  Now you have the option of typing your own text and playing around with styles, fronts, colors, etc. which could be an all day process.  Or you could upload your own image for the t-shirt or even better CHOOSE from one of the MANY selections they give you.

Amys-Custom-Tshirt-Design I actually overlapped two separate designs together to create MY custom t-shirt design at Wordans!

Now here’s where the fun began because they gave me a lot of different categories of images to choose from from “Funny” to “Love”, “Music”, “Animals”, “Sports”, their Top 25 image selections and a ton more.  Plus, every category had sub-categories which killed me because there were even MORE options to choose from.  Again, something that could be good or bad.  Here’s why I say that; because I love options but with more options comes perhaps me making more shirts = good for Wordans.  With more options comes me sitting on their website longer = good for Wordans.  Here’s why it’s bad.  More options could mean I get frustrated and don’t want to deal with it and just give up on the designing thus Wordans loses a sale.  Too many options can give one a headache and drive them up a wall.  This is sort of what happened and I ended up having to stop searching for more images, rethinking the design and starting over.

Amys-Custom-Tshirt I am so excited with the final result of my custom t-shirt!

I have to give it to Wordans though because overall they were the best custom t-shirt website I’ve tried out in my short 28 years on earth.  Their pricing was stellar starting t-shirts at $9.95 before the design.  If you recall I did a review for Zazzle and their pricing was outrageously high before the design amongst a lot of other poor qualities about their website and custom t-shirt center (ie: limited design area on the t-shirt, poor blank t-shirt selection, etc.).  Wordans made me happy and pleasantly surprised with the overall quality of their website, design center and product.

Wordans-Custom-T-shirt

Thank you Wordans for allowing me the privilege of reviewing your custom design feature.  I had a lot of fun and am thrilled with the final product I created on your website.  Next time I need a custom product made I will be heading your way!

FUN FACT: Wordans hails all the way from Montreal, Canada!

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Zazzle Custom T-Shirt Review

by Amy_F on August 20, 2012

Amy in her Custom Zazzle Tee

I had the pleasure of being offered to do my very own custom t-shirt on Zazzle.com a few weeks ago and I was delighted to oblige.  For those of you unaware, Zazzle offers a variety of products from cards, postage, buttons, key-chains, mugs, pillows, napkins, pet tags (etc. etc. etc.).  I am honestly unsure how new the Custom T-shirt feature is on Zazzle but they offer screen printing and custom embroidery, no minimums, no set-up fees, 24 hour or less turnaround and t-shirts starting at $14.95.

I’m going to get right down to it.  I played around with the custom t-shirt feature for a while on their website.  You have the option of uploading your own artwork or photography OR creating your own custom text.  You get the choice of a variety of shirts, but not enough variety in my opinion.  The styles of blank shirts to choose from are scarce and a bit out-dated.  Zazzle has chosen some really basic blanks to work with, which I guess is fine for this additional custom t-shirt option on their website, but t-shirts are tricky.  It’s not like selecting a blank mug or key-chain, this is something I’m putting on my body and I’m assuming you’d want me to WANT to wear.  That aside, the pricing on the blanks themselves is quite ridiculous.  Being a clothing business owner myself and working with screen printing companies and wholesale companies; having years of work experience in the fashion industry, I can say that the pricing on Zazzle’s website for a blank alone starting at $14.95 is way too high.  That’s the price on a very basic unisex style t-shirt.  Move on over to a bit more trendy woman’s style and it’s already up to $19.95 (without my design even on it yet).

So let’s go to the “Customize It” area of the website after I’ve selected my style and color blank.  They’ve made their design area in an easy format so even the least computer savvy can figure it out, which is really nice and user friendly (see above photograph).  They give you several views of the shirt on a model and the color options for your shirt style are available at the bottom in case you want to check out how your design looks in a different shade.  They even give you the ability to switch styles of t-shirts while designing if perhaps your design just isn’t fitting properly on the one you chose.  This is all very nice.

My first attempt at customizing was I wanted to place a small photograph on the front of the shirt and do one word of text on the back.  Before I even checked the pricing (Zazzle had given me a $25.00 gift certificate to test this out) I played around with my image and text and couldn’t seem to get my photo to fit or crop right.  It appears the sizing area they give you to print on the front is very limited and thus left me with the only option of switching my entire concept because it was stretching and cropping my image weirdly.  After that idea failed, I decided maybe I should look at the pricing to make sure before I finish my design that I’m still within the $25.00 mark.  Well, color me stupid, adding the additional 1 word of text on the back added $5.00 more to the price.  Maybe I forgot to mention I had chosen a simple women’s bella white t-shirt (the only decent option for a girl) and it was $19.95 blank.  Let’s do the math people, this brought me to $24.95!  Ok, so I’m under $25, right?  What about shipping, I thought?  Maybe Zazzle comped that for me?  Nope.

After a much needed break from frustration I went back and started fresh.  Chose a Bella Ladies Fitted Tank in White which was $18.95. Let me interject that Zazzle should really redo their model shots.  The photos of the shirts on the models are not accurate at all.  The tank I received is extra long, the tank in the photo on the website is very short and boxy looking (nothing like what I received).  The product I received is actually very nice quality – but the photo does not show or demonstrate that which is why I was turned off to selecting it in the first place (see image below compared to photo of me wearing it).

I understand that they’ve tried to make the whole custom t-shirt feature area as simple as possible, but as I mentioned the styles aren’t flattering (or at least the photos of the styles aren’t making them look flattering), the color choices are definitely not appealing and you are very limited on where you can place your images or text.  If you were looking to have a lot of text, it’s not going to happen unless you want it real small.  The area that they allow text to go to, is not any lower then the middle of the shirt.  I have to give them props though for having a pretty wide variety of text styles which I had a ball playing around with.

With choosing the tank I placed 1 word of text on the front, now that I knew what I was working with (I still wasn’t happy I had to change my entire order) and then I went to checkout.  Lo and behold, another problem.  Apparently you cannot use a gift certificate without having an account and logging in (not so user friendly).  I did not know this until I contacted Zazzle, asked why it wouldn’t accept my gift certificate and they told me I needed to register for free to create an account (which personally, and I’m sure most of you can agree, I don’t like having to do if I feel it’s going to be a 1 time order).  So for a basic white tank with 1 simple word of text on the front plus shipping the cost got me to a couple cents under $25.00.  Very costly I’d say, and probably not something I’d be willing to do again unless they lower their pricing.

The truth is the truth though and the product came out superb!!  It arrived and it was a quality garment (Bella is top quality for women) and it was the perfect style tank.  Again, you wouldn’t know this by looking at the images which isn’t helpful because that is why the images of the models in the tees are there, for you to see how it fits and looks.  Well, here’s what mine looks like:

Chief is a nickname my grandfather was given and ironically people I work with started calling me it without having known that.  Couldn’t help but make a tee with my “title”!!

Note: The tank is pretty long that the bottom is cut out of the photo.  The image of me wearing it, I actually have it scrunched up a little because the tank is a bit see-through.

Zazzle, you definitely had some good qualities about your Custom T-Shirt Feature and some mishaps that I think are easily fixable.  Regardless, if you make the customizing and ordering process a little more delightful and easier, your product is already outstanding in the end! Best of luck to you & thank you much for allowing me to take the time to review your website & shirts!!

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Review of Digisin Apparel

by Mr Four Fingers on May 14, 2012

Digisin - Mr Four Fingers

Finding a decent online company that does affordable Direct to Garment printing can be time consuming and tricky. I have used various DTG companie in the past but now I have officially found the one I will be sticking with.

Welcome to Digisin Apparel. When I initially found their online website it was more by chance while looking through a t-shirt directory as they were posted showing designs of their resident artists. These artists  pretty good and having caught my attention, I investigated Digisin further. It was then that I realised that they print DTG t-shirts as a custom print option.

My initial thoughts were, yeah ok probably transfer printed. Nope. Ok so must be expensive. Nope.Ok so let’s give Digisin a go. As a tester I asked them to print a large scale lined version of my Mr Four Fingers logo onto a black T. It was either black or white as they don’t have other colour options. Before the design was printed Senj from Digisin e-mailed me a JPG showing the design placement on chest of T-shirt and to see if I was happy with it before they printed. I liked that, I mean I have the capabilities to do this, but it’s good for those who don’t.

I received my t-shirts individually packaged in these great rigid boxes and a slick Digisin sticker slapped on the top. The box contained not only my well printed t-shirt but also a curious pack. This pack contained, much to my delight,  a sticker, badge, a flyer with company ethos (also discount code for next purchase) and limited edition Roger the Rabbit card pack with gum! This is over 20 years old.

As mentioned above, the t-shirt is has been printed Direct to Garment, so no set up costs and the quality is rather good. Ok my design may only be white lines on black, so not pushing any boundaries but I have no doubt an image or illustration will turn out just as good. They are printed on Gildan Softstyle and they are just that. The black fabric is not a dense black but more like a dark charcoal. I have been speaking to Senj from Digisin and they are also in the process of creating bespoke labels to replace the Gildan ones. This was the only thing I felt was remiss.

I have washed and worn and it’s even travelled to a South African shooting range (There are of course the obvious gangster posing photo’s around). The t-shirt is fine after a wash and fits as you would expect.

One of the main things that has impressed me above all is Disigin / Senj’s customer service. They did not know I was going to post a review (they follow HYA of course) so there was no ‘special’ treatment. I can tell you it was great, I mean that kinda great that is unexpected.

As I mentioned before, Digisin have a range of artists with t-shirts on sale from £14-£18  the online shop and you can grab a custom DTG printed t-shirt for only £14. They are based in Scotland.

Thank you Digisin for such great service and I will no doubt,as you know, be using and recommending your services to others.

 

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