If you are reading this, then you have at least some interest in seeing your own t-shirt designs walking around on the hopefully washed masses.
And why not? People of every experience level are now getting into the act. From grandmothers to small children, everyone is getting their budding designs printed on quality cotton tees. What is keeping you from joining them? Well if you are like me, you are hard pressed to decide which of the many websites specializing in printing tees you should choose, to bring your killer designs to the world.
While I can’t promise that this article will change your indecisive mind, I can promise that I will do as much as I can to present the facts to you which will hopefully help in your decision making process.
To do an article like this one, one needs to have a scope.
Do we review sites like joejimbobstshirtemporium.com since he can print yer’ shirts in two shakes of a dog’s tail? Ummmm, not exactly. For this article we want to review web based t-shirt printing sites. If a website prints onto more than t-shirts, I won’t be mentioning it because this site is not called PopCultureMousepads.com or PopCultureCoffeeMugs.com, its PopCultureTees.com and as such we care about things you can wear more than things that clutter up your desk. I have also been a little more selective choosing to go with the most popular and most promising sites I could find.
Over the next five days, we will be comparing the following t-shirt printing sites: Cafepress, Printfection, Spreadshirt, Wordans, and Zazzle. And in honoring our current President, please enjoy the first part of our Online Shirtificator Review.
I would call Cafepress the grandfather of the online printers of t-shirts (and everything else). Having the kind of name that Cafepress has, they are able to charge for things and get away with it. They charge monthly for their premium package ($4.99 and up) for example which includes features like: Custom Page Headers, Category Listings on your page, Search functionality, Email Newsletter sign-ups for user notification of new stuffs, and a Featured Item area on your main page. Our review of a few of the other sites found that most if not all of these features are offered free at the other sites.
Cafepress offers fewer shirt colors as well since they are not solely focused on printing t-shirts. Their interface is fairly easy to use and setting up a shop can be done in about five minutes. I have to say that adding images to your shop is a little less than straight forward. I had to click around on several pages to find a link to upload images. Though a link was in the sidebar as a sub-topic, I found the words Media Basket to have been less effective in being where I wanted to be. How about something like “Your Images” or “Your Designs” or heck, even something like “Upload Images here dummy”? Those would have been more effective but hey, I guess I’m being nitpicky.
So, I arrived at the Image Upload area, aka the Media Basket and found that my image needed to be RGB and not CMYK. No biggie I guess, but that leads me to believe that they are not doing CMYK color separations. Can we say all digital printing? I new ya could. Ok, I understand that they are more geared towards the average Joe Shmoe designer but what about the rest of us? I like to have the option to have screen printing done for at least larger orders (25-30+).
Anyway, back to the image uploads. Cafepress supports different image formats like China supports human rights. With only four flavors to choose from (JPEG, PSD (Photoshop), PNG, and TIF. Sorry no vector based images for you.) you will just need to be aware of that and send HUGE images if you want good quality prints. Do I need to say anymore about Cafepress? Hmmm, I could but I won’t so here are the pros and cons of taking your design to Cafepress:
- Easy shop setup
- Easy to use interface
- You can have multiple shops (one for church and one for your bar buddies)
- Shirts are digitally printed no matter how many shirts are sold.
- Not for serious t-shirt designers unless you just want to get shirts out there now, now, now.
- Limited shirt colors
- Unable to choose shirts from different vendors
- Premium features will run you $4.99 and up per month
Check back tomorrow, when we post the second article in this series!