6 Wow-Worthy Screen-Printed Designs Your Clients Will Love
Yes, fashion-forward apparel that’s high quality is key to making sales, but what’s printed on the T-shirt or hoodie is equally important.
Delivering wow-worthy art is second nature to Howard Potter and his team of expert screen printers and artists at Utica, NY-based A&P Master Images. “Our screen-printed designs aren’t just designs,” says Potter, CEO of the successful decorating firm, which also offers embroidery, graphic design, sublimation, tackle twill, vinyl and more than 700,000 promotional items. “The colors we choose, the type or style of ink, how many hits of ink we use per screen, and the screen mesh count we use take a basic design and make it pop. Our artwork is the starting point, but how we screen print the design adds the final touch to turn out the look our customers crave.”
To produce the best screen-printed art possible, don’t just “design to design,” Potter says, but talk with your production team about how the artwork can or will be printed to execute the look you want. “Do this before you show your proof to your customer,” he says. “Plus, keep your customer service and sales teams in the loop at all times, too, since they’ll service the order.”
Besides investing in quality inks for his shop, he also encourages his operators to mindfully select the right screen mesh for each job. That way, they can print the design to match the proof his designers created for their customers. “Plus, I tell them that if they have an idea for how to improve the print quality of the design, to work with our designers one on one,” he says. “We also educate our customer service and sales teams about screen printing so we’re all on the same page and share the same knowledge.”
Check out these six extraordinary screen-printed designs that Potter and the team at A&P Master Images created. They definitely have to be seen—and touched—to be believed.
1. Don’t Stop Believing
Potter’s team created this impactful design for Believe 271, a not-for-profit organization that’s dedicated to helping firefighters and EMTs in their time of need. They printed this design with 230 mesh screens, using simulated process screen printing. “Simulated process is great for designs with a lot of color blending, like photorealistic prints or gradients,” Potter says. Believe 271’s tagline “No One Fights Alone” lets firefighters know they have support and financial assistance as they battle life-threatening illnesses like cancer.
ExpertTip: The team uses a soft-handle ink additive to make many of their prints softer and lighter weight.
2. Bikers Unite for Autism
Across the country, the Punishers and Guardian Belles Motorcycle Clubs support good causes and raise funds for them. Potter’s team created this design when local Punishers and Guardian Belles were raising funds for autism awareness through a local walk and bike ride. The designs, created using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, got printed using 230 mesh screen and plastistol-based inks. “We added soft handle ink additive to make the prints softer and lighter” Amanda says.
3. One Sweet Ride
The A&P Master Images team printed “club member” T-shirts for the Morrisville State College Automotive Club in Morrisville, NY. “We created this design using a halftone print with a positive-negative look to it to keep the cost down for the customer,” Potter says. These standout shirts were designed with the idea that club members can proudly show off their passion for auto mechanics and their membership status.
ExpertTip: The team used 230 mesh screens to achieve this halftone look.
4. On Fire (in a Really Good Way)
The Deerfield, NY-based fire department ordered these drill shirts from A&P Master Images to raise funds for its volunteer fire department’s training and equipment needs. “They wore these simulated printed shirts during a parade,” Potter says. “Like many of our other designs, to achieve a softer, more vintage look we used a soft handle additive with plastisol inks.”
5. Cheer On!
Potter’s team created this brand-new T-shirt design for the New Hartford Cheerleading Team, with a lot more pop from previous years to kick off their season on a high note. “We used crystallia ink with regular plastisol inks to give the design a glitter effect,” Potter says.
ExpertTip: The team used a 25 mesh screen for the glitter color and 155 mesh for the remaining ink colors.
6. Give Them Something to Roar About
Potter’s team used a 230 mesh screen and a 155 mesh screen for the solid white parts of the print to achieve a dual two-tone effect with the artwork. “The A&P lion design was something we cooked up for ourselves to show off our mascot of the lion head and the versatility achievable half-tone prints,” says J'nelle T. Nuborazek, A&P’s customer service manager.
Expert Tip: If you’re a decorator, develop creative artwork that represents your business and vibe, and print it on T-shirts that you gift to employees and customers. Lots more prospects will see your work out and about, turning your wearers into brand ambassadors.
Finally, the best way to stand out from the crowd as a decorator is to stay on top (and ahead) of the latest design trends so that your work feels fresh and cutting edge. Plus, stay in touch with your suppliers so you’re among the first to know about new styles and fabrications to print.
If you’re a distributor who sells lots of apparel, align yourself with a screen printer who produces compelling design work: Spend a few hours in their shop to see what’s possible, and then take physical samples or send high-quality photos to your clients to inspire them.