Vistaprint T-Shirts: Are They Any Good? Review + 25% Off Coupon

by kevin on February 9, 2016

in reviews

vistaprint logo redVistaprint t-shirts review and coupon – You probably know Vistaprint for printing business cards or paper marketing materials, but are they any good for printing t-shirts? I had a cheap t-shirt printed through Vistaprint, so here is my review:


Vistaprint T-Shirts: My Review

vistaprint t-shirt review basic

I was really happy with the t-shirt I ordered from Vistaprint! While they offer a bunch of mostly crappy design templates, I chose to upload my own complete design, and it turned out great. The “basic” t-shirt was printed on a “Fruit of the Loom Heavy” tee blank, the image looked sharp, and the colors were good. I completed the order in about 10 minutes, and the shirt arrived 4 days later.

Please read my review below for tips from my experience ordering t-shirts from vistaprint.com:

First, Use a Coupon for Any Vistaprint T-Shirt Order

If you just go to vistaprint.com, you might be paying full price. You can try googling, “Vistaprint t-shirt coupon” to see what’s out there, or you can get a coupon Vistaprint t-shirt coupons here. (There are usually about 10 promotions each week)

Usually a promo code is applied when you click on a link, so you won’t need to enter a code later. Usually a 25% discount is available, so please, don’t pay full price!

Choosing a T-Shirt Blank

vistaprint tshirt blanks

The first thing you’re going to want to specify is either men’s or women’s t-shirts. After doing so you’ll be given an option between their Basic T-shirts or the more expensive SignatureSoft. Long-sleeve and kid’s t-shirts are also available, but I’m going to review the adult options. Here’s an overview:

  • SignatureSoft – From $16 (before coupon) Their premium ringspun cotton t-shirt. This seems to be a little softer and lighter than their “basic” tee. You’ll get a better fit with this option as the cut is different for men and women. Available in 2 colors: black and white
  • Basic T-Shirts – From $12 (before coupon) 100% cotton unisex no frills t-shirt, weighs about an ounce more than the SignatureSoft.  “Classic,” looser fit means cheaper. 2 color options: black or white

*Note: Templates offer 1-3 color options, but choosing a color other than white will add $5 to the cost.

*Tip: Only the SignatureSoft gives you a men’s or women’s cut option. The Basic t-shirt is unisex, so don’t expect a flattering cut for your curves!

Choose a T-shirt Template

vistaprint t shirt review designs

Unless you have a complete design ready to print, you’ll choose from one of their t-shirt templates. You can sort these by category like “sports,” or “business services” which I imagine assumes you have a logo.

Most of these design templates look like free clip art. The ones for contractors are especially bad, but you can find a few diamonds in the rough. Nothing fancy or inspiring here; mostly just different positioning for your text and photos.

Vistaprint: How to Design Your T-Shirt

Templates be damned, for this t-shirt review, I’m going to upload my own design. I love how easy the design process is on sites like Shutterfly (get coupons), but Vistaprint is not so user-friendly.

Here you can choose between printing on the pocket or front of your shirt.You might decide to just put a small logo on the breast area and put your large design on the back, but i’m going cheap and just doing a large front design.

vistaprint tshirt design meowFirst, I chose a high-resolution image to fit in the 12×12” space on the front of the shirt. You should save your file as CMYK (not RGB) for the best color match, although both are accepted. Save and upload your design in common file formats like JPG, PSD, PDF, Illustrator (.ai) or PNG.

Tip: Make sure your image is high resolution. I’d recommend at least 200 dpi, which means 2400 x 2400 or bigger in this case. If you are uploading a photo smaller than about 1mb in file size, it might not be high-res.

When I uploaded my image and dragged it onto the shirt, it didn’t fit. The top and bottom of my design were cropped off. There is no option (that I could find) to adjust the image dimensions to fit, so you have to upload a design that is proportionate to the square space.

sample vistaprint t shirt design

Tip: Your design has to be a square. Make the height the same as the width by adding white space to whichever dimension is short in a program like Photoshop. If you are printing on a dark design, this blank space will have to be transparent, not white!

If you want to add a design for the back, it will cost you an extra $5.

Review your t-shirt design and approve

review the vistaprint tshirt preview

Looks fine, although the preview is too small to see if your text and images look sharp. That’s something you should do when you first add the high-resolution image.

Tip: When you choose your size, note that many of their customers report that Vistaprint sizing runs small. If you have any doubts as to your shirt size, choose one size larger.

Applying the Coupon, Completing Your T-Shirt Order

vistaprint tshirt coupon applied

At this point, review your order and make sure you have a coupon or promo code applied. The retail price should be crossed out, and a lower price should be in red. (above)

Don’t bother opting-in for their “special offers” unless you want a bunch of emails sent to you. You’ll also have the chance to upgrade to the premium SignatureSoft shirt blank again, but I’m a cheap guy, so I’ll stick with the Basic. Also, they will show your your design on a bunch of other merchandise, hoping you add to your order.

Enter a Promo Code / Complete Order

vistaprint tshirt promo_code

If you haven’t gotten a discount applied yet, this is your chance to enter a promo code. Just get a Vistaprint coupon online and type it in the “Promotional Code” box. If you are spending over $50, look for free shipping. Hey, they even let you mail in a personal check!

Delivery / shipping speed & Cost:

  • Economy: 8 business days = $4.99 (I’m choosing economy!)
  • Standard: 5 business days = $9.99
  • Express: 3 business days = $19.99 (yikes!)

Vistaprint T-Shirt Received: My Review

So, how long does economy shipping take? Although Vistaprint quotes 8 business days for their cheapest shipping, mine arrived in 4 business days.

Wow, I was really surprised with the quality of my t-shirt; Looks better than the online preview!

vistaprint t-shirt review sizing

The t-shirt was printed on a Fruit of the Loom “Heavy” 100% cotton blank. As a 6′ 1″ 185 pound man, the sizing of the “Large” seemed good to me, but several reviews on vistaprint.com say that they run a little small. Also, another common reason for negative reviews is that the colors start to fade after the shirt is washed several times.

vistaprint t shirt closeup quality resolution

close up of the printed shirt

I printed an illustration, saved out as a high-resolution (250 dpi) PNG file from Photoshop. All of the colors were really sharp and clear. I have no doubt that if I had printed a photo or logo, it would have been just as sharp.

*Keep in mind that their cheapest shirt option, “Basic,” is unisex, so if you are a woman with curves, it probably won’t be an exceptionally flattering cut. Maybe spend the extra $3 for their “SignatureSoft” premium option.

Vistaprint Custom T-Shirt Review: Summary

If you are looking for cheap custom t-shirts for your small business, Vistaprint is a really good option. Sure, if you’re a designer, or have a bigger budget, there are better options out there.

However, consider that a print-on demand site like Cafepress charges about double the price; starting at $17.99 for their cheapest t-shirt. 6 Dollar Shirts (See reviews) won’t print anything custom, and charges a similar price as Vistaprint for any of their t-shirts.

If you are going to print a larger number of shirts, consider sites like customink.com, but for fewer than 10 t-shirts, you’ll be paying about $20 per shirt.

In fact, I’m sure all the hipsters out there turn their noses up at Vistaprint, but for $8.99 + shipping, I was really happy with this quality, no-frills shirt option.

View their t-shirts, and apply a 25% off coupon

View all Vistaprint coupons and save 20-50%!

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