Creating the Right Look
Decoration is one of the most important parts of an order. A decorated shirt offers something different than a plain shirt. It may seem clear-cut—place logo here—but it's more complex than that. What type of decoration works on this fabric? Which has the desired look the client wants? Where will the imprint make the most impact? We spoke to Vantage Apparel, Avenel, N.J., and Stahls' DFC, Masontown, Pa., to learn tips in five areas distributors should focus on when deciding the best imprint method for a client.
"First is to review the design or logo complexity, along with the number of colors and halftones," Mary Blondell, Stahls' promo marketing manager, said.
Those complexities may require a certain type of decoration. "If the artwork was photo-realistic or had a lot of shading, detailing [or] gradients, we may look to suggest screen print to create those fine details, whereas if the artwork was a lettering or mark that we could achieve through embroidery—[with] which you can get a lot of detail—maybe the larger areas or thicker areas would be appliqué and then the smaller, finer detail would be embroidery," Lauren Cocco, Vantage's director of merchandising, said.
2. Garment Type
"Second would be [to determine] the apparel fabric content and color that is requested for decoration," Blondell said.
Budget would also come into play, Cocco added. Embroidery or appliqué would be more expensive than screen print, but those methods would better complement a performance fleece item. Then there's laser etching, which only creates a permanent imprint on 100 percent polyester or denim.
"Laser etching uses a laser beam to mark the surface fabric, so in polyester it actually burns the surface of the fabric leaving a darker tonal mark," she said, noting a lighter mark will occur in denim as the etching removes its pigment. "That application, if someone is looking for that, wouldn't be feasible on a cotton/poly-based fabric."