Merch items can never be NOT present during music releases, especially during tours!
But with the pandemic still persisting, maybe even for another year, according to Swaggin.com bands will definitely rely on merch to earn some extra profit. Good thing they can just easily post photos of their merch online (even if they’re not printed yet) and just let a print on-demand company do everything for them, like custom merch maker if you’re in Los Angeles.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on custom t-shirts for music bands. This merch item is the most basic one and it’s the merch item that you must not forget to have for every music release.
It’s the staple of merch items so it deserves our attention.
T-shirts, caps, hoodies, jackets, name it! All wearable merch items have a common advantage and that would be being your “walking advertisement.”
Fans that have your wearable merch items will surely be wearing your them. As they go on with their day, they are unknowingly advertising you and your music.
An advantage of having custom t-shirts is that it would hold a bigger design unlike caps and would be easier to wear whenever unlike hoodies and jackets.
It’s a great merch item to have! And if you have a great and reliable manufacturer, then there will surely be nothing to worry about.
If there are pros, then there would definitely be cons. That’s life.
A disadvantage with having this custom merch item would be the decision making. Making a decision on how many shirts to order and in what size you will have them is by far the biggest challenge most bands would have with ordering custom merch t-shirts.
BUT it’s not really a strong con! It’s just part of any business or endeavour.
To help you with this decision making challenge and more, we have compiled a total of ten tips for you when making custom t-shirts for your band.
#1 Create a good design
To make your release a successful one, you will have to make a creative, good, and unique design that would catch the attention of passersby. But this designing thing is not an easy feat. You have to consider hundreds of things and ideas.
Here are some basic things you have to consider before finalizing your t-shirt design.
Ever heard of color psychology?
I’m sure you have, and if you don’t know much about it, you can search through the internet. It just basically tells us that different colors can relay a message or induce a feeling so use that to your advantage.
Another thing to be wary about with this is that certain colors don’t go well with each other, so knowing what color goes with another will be great. You also have to keep in mind that colors can be a fundamental thing when choosing a printing method.
When you plan on having a statement-focused design, typography is what you need. Having your whole statement printed with one font, plain or fancy, is a no no.
Plain fonts don’t attract attention while fancy ones do attract but it would be a bad rep. To have a balanced statement shirt, you can have three different fonts at most.
Composition and Complexity
When creating a design, there are different elements that compose it, e.g. text and drawings. These elements can be arranged in many different ways and it’s your job to make them look not too congested and not too far apart.
Moreover, you should limit the elements you have on your design. Too many of them would look chaotic and not appealing at all.
#2 Ask your fans for their opinion
During design creation, there will be times when you create not just one and instead have many. The bad thing is that you and your band members might not reach a decision.
Deciding to have all of them printed on shirts would not be economical so I suggest asking for your fans’ opinions instead. You can first decide among yourselves what would be the top two for you guys. After which, you can have a poll on any social media account your band has.
#3 Save your design in high resolution
Bear in mind that you have to save your designs in the highest possible resolution. You will need to send those to your printer. If they are in low resolution, your designs will look awful and pixelated.
#4 Check your design’s placement when on the shirt
After finalizing your designs, you have to look at how your design would look on the shirt. Here are things you have to check before ordering your shirts.
The size of your design will affect how your fans will react to your shirts. If they’re too big or too small, it would look awkward on a small or large-sized shirt. Remember that different shirt sizes need to have different design sizes.
Always put your design at the center of your shirt. You also need to avoid having them printed on the belly part of the shirt or they will look stretched for those with big bellies.
#5 Choose a good shirt printing method
T-shirt printing method is another thing to consider when you’re ordering custom band t-shirts. There are many different techniques available for you to choose and all of them have pros and cons. To save some time, let me just talk about the most common printing method used for printing t-shirts.
The first one would be screen printing. Screen printing t-shirts is the most cost effective when we’re talking about bulk orders. You see, it has a stencil put on a prepared screen where a number of shirts can be printed with. After reaching the quota, it needs to be cleaned.
This method is also a very durable one which means that the design can last long even after repeated washing. There is a disadvantage when you opt for screen printing t-shirts though. It needs design simplicity and color limits.
The second one is DTG printing. It’s not as ideal for bulk orders as screen printing, but it is a better choice when you have a more complex or more photorealistic design. A downside of this printing method would be the fact that it is less durable than screen printing, but it can be improved with special processing. However, a new alternative to DTG, DTF printing, proves to be more durable with lower costs. You can find out more about the inks and supplies needed for DTF printing from aaprintsupplyco.com
#6 Mind the type of fabric your shirt is made of
T-shirts can be made of different types of fabric and this will affect what printing method is best. When screen printing t-shirts you won’t need to identify the type of fabric since it can be done with whatever type of fabric. For DTG printing, however, it would be best to have them on cotton based shirts and avoid polyester ones.
#7 Base your shirt’s size and number on your fans
When deciding on what shirt sizes to print on and how many shirts do you want to order, it would be best to base it off of your fans. They will be your main target for this merch release, so use their demographics.
If they’re mostly female then it would be best to decide on having more small and medium sized shirts instead of large and extra large shirts. If they’re mostly male in then you can have more large and extra large shirts. Age also plays a role in this too male teens are smaller so maybe more medium and large size would be better.
Knowing the number of fans you have and the fans who are willing to spend money on you would greatly help you decide on the number of shirts to order. You can base this off of the poll you made if you did make one. If you didn’t, you can count the number of emails you have on your email list or count the number of attendees you have during tours.
After coming up with an estimated number, add some allowance of maybe a hundred or two just to make sure that you won’t run out of stocks.
#8 Check statistics and data
Another thing to base off of during the “size and number” decision making is to look up statistics and data about band t-shirt sales on the internet. With statistics you can see the trends of different sizes for each genre or country.
Here we have a Size Distribution Graph by Country by Dizzyjam and it shows what sizes are popular for each country. By studying this graph, you can see that Japan has low sales for XL-size shirts. If you have the bulk of your fans in Japan, it would be safe to decide on not printing on XL-sized shirts.
#9 Look for a good printing company
All the tips given would be for naught if you don’t have a good printing company to order from. Make sure that they are experienced, legit, and accommodating. You can look for reviews on their website and check their online portfolio and samples on their website.
You also have to look for a printing company that offers warehousing and fulfillment services. This is not really a must, but it would be better for you if you did. This way, you won’t need to make space for your shirts and you won’t have to personally ship them to your fans, which is very troublesome.
#10 Ready your money
Last but not the least, you have to have your money ready. Bulk ordering custom t-shirts, though more cost-effective than having small orders, still need much money. Though printers offer discounts for more quantities ordered, you will still need the initial chunk of money for the production of your shirts.
What I’m basically saying is, save up for your t-shirts and make allowances. Don’t be complacent!
Releasing custom t-shirts can be a burdensome experience with all the decisions you have to make and the money you have to save up. But I assure you, all your efforts will be worth it.
Just make sure that you follow the tips above and you’re all set for success.