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If you are new to ordering custom printed apparel, it may be confusing to figure out where to begin. We'll take you through a basic step-by-step guide to get you going in the right direction. For answers to some common questions when it comes to ordering custom apparel check out our FAQ page!


The very first step in having custom apparel made is preparing the artwork that you want to be printed on your shirts. The most preferred file format for artwork is a vector file. This will usually be saved as an .ai, .eps, or .svg file. If you do not have access to vector software, the next best option is an extremely high quality photo of the artwork. Even if all you have is a doodle of your design, we can work with you to convert it to a print-ready artwork file!


There are hundreds of shirt manufacturers out there and each one has dozens of varieties of shirts, so how are you supposed to narrow it down to just one shirt to use on your project? There is no single "best shirt" out there, each project is different which means different shirts are needed for each project. There are multiple factors that can help you decide on which shirt is best for your needs. The easiest decision is the desired quality level you want your shirts to be, your budget can also help you decide this part. Lower quality means lower price, and higher quality means higher price. The brands we recommend for each quality tier is as follows: Gildan for low quality, Anvil for mid quality, Bella Canvas for high quality.


Shirts also come in a variety of material and material blends. Most shirts are made of cotton, these are also the cheapest option. But cheap doesn't mean bad in this case, it's just a preference of what you like your shirts to feel like. If you see a shirt labeled as "ringspun cotton" this just means it is a finer knit cotton, which is smoother and much softer than other cotton shirts. 

Another popular material is polyester, these are considered standard for athletic shirts. If you think of the stretchy Under Armor shirts or anything labeled as moisture wicking, that is what polyester shirts are.

There are also shirts that utilize a blend of materials to get the best of every material, anything that has a blend of cotton, polyester, and sometimes rayon is extremely comfortable and great for any project intended for high quality.

Depending on your intended usage for your shirts, fabric weight could also be a deciding factor. For example if you are in the manual labor industry, a more heavyweight shirt would be more ideal for daily wear and tear. But, if you are in the athletic or streetwear industry, you probably want something more lightweight and breathable for maximum comfort. 


When you are ready to get started in the ordering process here is what you should be prepared with:

You will need a file of your artwork, as discussed in the first section. If you know exactly what shirt you want just tell us the brand and item number and color, if you haven't picked a shirt out yet, we can help. One of the best things about working with Blackout is that when you inquire with us, you'll be talking to a real person - not a robot. You will also need to let us know how many shirts total you would like, including the breakdown of each size shirt. We'll also need to know where on the shirt you want your design(s) printed: front, back, left chest, etc... 

Once we have all that information we will get back to you with a detailed quote and a digital mockup of your shirt. This way you know exactly what you are paying and what your shirts will look like before even committing to an order. After the mockup and quote is approved, you have nothing left to do! Our standard turnaround time is 10 days from when the mockup is approved, but rush orders are also an option. 


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