Designing a logo can be a very difficult challenge whether it be for yourself or for a client. There are quite a few guidelines that you have to stay within to ensure that your design captures the brand’s identity. Some of the more obvious parameters include theme, tone, message, colors, size, etc. And since you guys are the graphic design experts, I don’t need to elaborate on those concepts.
What I would like to discuss is the consideration that should be taken when designing a logo so it translates well onto printed apparel. These problems and their solutions could save you quite a bit of headache down the road:
For screen printed tees, more colors = higher price
Problem: Pricing for screen printing is a direct correlation to the amount of colors being printed. This can really hit you in the wallet when you are purchasing printed t-shirts that you plan on giving away.
Solution: Either design initially with less colors or have an alternative logo with less colors. Typically, the alternative version consists of one to three solid colors.
For embroidery, higher stitch count = higher price
Problem: How do you determine the amount of stitches? The general rule is by looking at the amount of coverage your logo has. If the logo design is pretty heavy and full of artwork, get ready to pay the price for embroidery.
Solution: Look at ways of lightening up the amount of fill in the artwork. If the design requires a sun in it, try designing with outlines or more flair and less fill.
Web 2.0 does not print well with others
Problem: Everyone is aware of the web 2.0 school of logo design with reflections, semi-transparency, and gradients. These effects are very hard to duplicate at 100% quality with screen printing and embroidery because of those print processes dependency on singular/solid colors.
Solution: Design away with one of these effects or a combination of all three….but also create a logo version exclusively for printing on apparel.
Vector artwork is optimal.
Problem: The artwork has to go through a color separation process before it can be printed properly. Vector artwork makes this process much easier and more reliable. Besides, you never have a problem with pixelation with vector artwork.
Solution: Create the original source artwork in a vector design program. Then you can export your artwork into any format the usage calls for.
If you are particular, then be particular
Problem: You chose your colors and you want them uniform across all mediums but they are routinely off. You have an exact size in mind but the print came out differently.
Solution: Go the extra mile and complete a style guide with the pantone matchings system colors, sizing for different print locations, etc. Don’t assume that the printer is going to know these things if they aren’t provided.