Published Apr 5, 2024 ⦁ 16 min read
Screen Printing Merchandise: Branding Best Practices

Screen Printing Merchandise: Branding Best Practices

Screen printing is a popular method for branding merchandise, offering sharp designs and cost-effectiveness. This guide covers the essentials of screen printing for branding, including placement and color choice for logos, understanding the screen printing process, and practical tips for design and order management. Here's a quick overview:

  • Understanding Screen Printing: A detailed process involving art preparation, screen creation, and ink application to produce vibrant, durable prints on various merchandise.
  • Best Logo Placement Practices: Recommendations for positioning logos on t-shirts, outerwear, headwear, and bags to enhance brand visibility.
  • Picking the Right Colors for Your Brand: Advice on selecting brand colors that ensure your logo stands out and conveys the desired brand message.
  • Design Considerations: Tips on image resolution, design complexity, and fabric factors to ensure high-quality screen-printed merchandise.
  • Order Quantity and Timelines: Guidance on managing order sizes and production timelines to meet your branding needs efficiently.
  • Quality Control: Strategies for inspecting finished products and choosing a reliable print partner to maintain high standards.
  • Leveraging Merchandise to Grow Brands: How branded merchandise can strengthen employee belonging, support causes, and enhance brand visibility.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of screen printing merchandise for branding, ensuring your products effectively convey your brand's message and stand out in the market.

Screen Printing Process Overview

When you want to screen print something, you follow these steps:

  1. Art preparation - First, you get your design ready on a computer. You split it up by colors.

  2. Screen creation - A screen is coated with a special liquid that reacts to light. Your design is then put on the screen. Each color needs its own screen.

  3. Ink preparation - You pick and mix your inks to make sure they're just right for the material you're printing on.

  4. Printing - The screens are put over your item, and ink is pushed through them to make the design. The item is heated a little bit between colors to help the ink stick.

  5. Curing - After all the printing, the item is heated up so the ink really sets into the fabric.

Benefits for Merchandise

Screen printing is great for making branded stuff for a few reasons:

  • Versatile - You can use it on a lot of different things, not just clothes but also hats, bags, and posters.

  • Vibrant, durable prints - The ink really sticks to the fabric, so your design will stay bright and won't wash away easily.

  • Cost-effective - After you make the screens, printing a lot of items doesn't cost too much.

  • Ideal for logos - This method is great for getting all the details of your logo just right.

Screen printing is a top choice for making things with your brand on them because it works on lots of materials, the designs last a long time, and it doesn't cost a lot to make a bunch of items.

Best Logo Placement Practices

When you're putting your brand's logo on merchandise, where you place it really matters. Here's some straightforward advice on where to put your logo for different types of products:

T-Shirts and Tops

  • Chest - A logo around 3-4 inches big on the left side of the chest is easy to see and looks neat.

  • Full Front - If you want to make a big statement, fill the front with your logo or design. Just make sure it fits well with the shirt's style and size.

  • Upper Back - A logo between the shoulder blades catches the eye, especially in photos from the back. A 6-8 inch logo works well here.


  • Left Chest - A 3-4 inch logo on the chest works for jackets and sweatshirts too.

  • Upper Back - On thicker outerwear, a bigger logo, about 8-12 inches wide, is noticeable.

  • Sleeves - Logos on sleeves give a sporty look. A 3-6 inch logo facing out is good.


  • Put a 2.5-inch logo right in the middle of hats and headbands. Stitching it in looks nice.


  • Front Panel - A logo that's 3-6 inches wide on the front shows off your brand.

  • Side Panel - A tall logo along the side of the bag grabs attention.

  • Totes - A big, 10 inch logo in the middle of the tote bag really makes a statement.

Picking the right size and spot for your logo helps people notice your brand on all kinds of products. Keep these tips in mind to make sure your logo stands out wherever it's placed.

Picking the Right Colors for Your Brand

Choosing the best colors for your screen printed merchandise is a big deal because it makes your brand easy to spot and remember. You want colors that fit what your brand is all about and that look really good together. Plus, you need to make sure people can clearly see your logo and designs.

Stick to Your Brand Colors

  • Always try to use the colors that people already connect with your brand. It helps them remember you.
  • Make sure the colors are the exact same ones your brand always uses. Look at your brand's color guide.
  • Black and white are always good choices for some items because they're simple but strong.

What Colors Mean

  • Bright colors like red, yellow, and orange feel lively and fun.
  • Cool colors like blue, purple, and green are more about calm and looking professional.
  • Colors can make people feel certain ways, like trusting your brand or thinking it's top-notch.

Making Sure Your Logo Stands Out

  • Your logo and designs need colors that don't blend into the background of your merchandise.
  • Using dark colors on light items (or the other way around) helps your logo pop.
  • Stay away from busy patterns that might hide your logo. Solid colors are best.
  • Always test print on the fabric first to check that the colors really do stand out.

By choosing the right colors, thinking about what they mean, and making sure they contrast well, you can make your branded items like T-shirts and hats really grab attention. It's all about making your logo easy to see and your brand easy to remember.

Design Considerations

Image Resolution

When you're getting your design ready for screen printing, make sure you use high-quality images that are 300 dots per inch (dpi) or more. This helps make sure your design looks sharp when printed. But remember, super detailed designs or ones with lots of shades might not print well. Try to keep your designs simple and bold.

Talk to your screen printer about your design. They know a lot about how to make it look good when printed and might suggest small changes to improve it.

Design Complexity

With screen printing, each color needs its own screen. So, using fewer colors makes the process faster and cheaper. Here are some tips:

  • Try to use between 1 and 5 colors. Using your main brand colors is a good idea.
  • Straight-up colors are better than gradients. Stick to solid colors.
  • Keep away from tiny details that are hard to print.
  • If your design is very detailed, think about making it simpler or using a style that looks like a poster.

Simple designs not only look clean and clear but also make the printing process easier and less likely to mess up.

Fabric Factors

The type of fabric you print on affects how your design turns out. Here are some things to think about:

Stretchy Fabric

  • If the fabric stretches a lot, the ink might crack.
  • For stretchy materials, like what's used in sports clothes, plastisol ink is a good choice because it stretches too.
  • Make the design a bit smaller so it doesn't look weird when the fabric stretches.

Dark Fabric

  • To make sure light colors show up on dark fabrics, printers use a layer of white ink underneath.
  • A good printer can adjust the ink to make sure the colors look bright and clear.
  • Bright colors like neon really stand out on dark fabrics.

Talk with your printer about what kind of fabric is best and try a few test prints. This way, you can see if the ink cracks on stretchy fabrics or if the colors look bright enough on dark materials. If something's off, the printer can adjust things to make it look better.

Order Quantity and Timelines

When you're getting ready to order screen printed merchandise, like T-shirts for your brand, how many you order and how long it takes to make them are super important. Here's a simple breakdown to help you out:

Typical Order Quantities

  • Small orders (12-50 pieces) - Great if you're just trying out new designs or need a few items for a small event. But, each piece will cost more.
  • Medium orders (50-250 pieces) - Perfect for brands that are starting to grow or for medium-sized events. This is a sweet spot where you get a discount for buying more but don't have to worry too much about having leftovers.
  • Large orders (250+ pieces) - This is where you save the most money per item because you're buying a lot. But, it means you need to be really sure about how many you need and have a plan for all that stock.

To figure out how many you need:

  • Look at how many you've ordered before and if you're selling more over time.
  • Think about how many of each size and color you'll need.
  • Add a little extra (10-20%) just in case of mistakes or if you need a few extra.

Production Timelines

How long it takes to make your items usually depends on how complicated your design is:

  • Simple, 1-2 color prints: Around a week (5-7 business days)
  • Complex, multi-color prints: A bit longer, like 7-10 business days
  • Rushed orders can be done faster, in about 3-5 days, but it'll cost more.

Tips to get your order faster:

  • Stick to simple designs with fewer colors.
  • If you're reordering, using the same screens can save time.
  • Paying extra for a rush job.
  • Make sure your design is ready to go and approved quickly.

Remember to plan for:

  • Time to finalize your design and get it approved.
  • Shipping time to your place.
  • Time to check and sort your items when they arrive.

It's really important to think carefully about how many items you order and how long they'll take to make. Ordering too many can leave you with stuff you don't need, while not ordering enough can lead to running out and missing out on sales. Talk with your screen printing partner to find the best balance for your budget, branding, and timeline.


Quality Control

Making sure your screen printed merchandise looks top-notch is key to showing off your brand the right way. Here's how to check your designs, look over the finished products, and pick a printer that'll do a great job.

Approving Design Proofs

Before your order is made, the printer will show you a preview (proof) to make sure everything's correct. Here's what to look out for:

  • Colors - Are they the right ones for your brand? Make sure they're not too light or too dark.
  • Layout - Is your logo where it should be and the right size? Check if it's straight.
  • Spelling - Make sure there are no mistakes in any text.
  • Mockups - If you see your design on a product preview, check that it looks right in terms of where it is and how big it is.

If anything doesn't look right, tell your printer to fix it before they start making everything. It's easier to change things now than to redo your whole order later.

Inspecting Finished Products

When you get your order, take a close look at some of the items to make sure they're all good. Look out for:

  • Print alignment - Your logo and designs should be placed correctly, without going over seams or edges.
  • Ink opacity - The colors should be bright and solid, without any faded parts.
  • Fabric flaws - Check for any issues with the material, like loose threads or tears.
  • Size and quantity - Count your items and try on a few to check the sizes.

Spotting problems early means you can point out any mistakes to the printer and ask for replacements if needed.

Choosing a Reliable Print Partner

The printer you choose is really important for keeping your merchandise looking great. Here's what to look for:

  • Specialize in the kind of items you're making. A printer who knows how to work with the material or product you want might do a better job.
  • Have helpful customer service that can answer your questions about the design, proof, and making of your items.
  • Offer product guarantees in case something goes wrong with the print or the items get damaged.
  • Use sustainable inks and processes if being eco-friendly matters to your brand.

Finding a good printer and working closely with them means your merchandise will always make your brand look good.

Leveraging Merchandise to Grow Brands

Branded merchandise can be a powerful way to get more people to know and remember your brand. Here's how you can use it to help your brand grow.

Employee Belonging and Pride

Giving employees branded shirts, hats, or other items is a good way to make them feel part of the team.

  • When employees wear branded items, they help spread the word about your brand without even trying.
  • Giving branded items as rewards or gifts can make employees feel appreciated and part of something bigger.
  • When everyone wears the same branded gear, it makes your team look professional and united.

Think about giving new employees shirts and special gear during company events or big moments. Make sure your brand's logo looks right on everything for the best effect.

Funding Causes

Selling merchandise can also help you support good causes.

  • Work with charities to create shirts that raise money for their work.
  • Selling special items during important months (like Earth Day or Pride Month) shows you care about these issues.
  • Making limited edition items where the money goes to charity can really make a difference.

Tell your team and people on social media about your charity merchandise to get them interested. Encourage your team to wear the latest charity shirt to get more people involved.


Screen printing is a great way to show off your brand on things like t-shirts and bags. When you think about where to put your logo, what colors to use, and how to design your items, you can make stuff that really gets people to notice your brand.

Here are the main points to remember:

  • Put your logo in the right spots on different items to make sure people see it. Follow the tips for the best size and place.
  • Use your brand's colors to help people remember you. Make sure your logo stands out by choosing colors that contrast well.
  • Keep designs simple with a few strong colors to make printing easier and cheaper. Talk to your printer if you're not sure about your design.
  • Think about how many items you need and how long they'll take to make. For smaller brands, ordering 50-250 items and planning for a 7-10 day turnaround is usually a good idea.
  • Check your items carefully when they arrive to make sure everything looks right. Working with a reliable printer can help avoid problems.
  • Use your screen printed items as part of your brand's strategy. Whether it's for your team, a fundraiser, or selling to customers, well-designed items can help get your brand out there.

By following these tips for screen printed merchandise, you can help your brand get noticed and remembered. Good design makes people want to learn more about what you do.

What is screen print branding?

Screen printing is a way to put your design, like a logo or picture, onto things like shirts. Here's how it works:

  • You make a stencil of your design that blocks parts of a screen. The open parts let ink through.
  • You put ink on the screen and push it through the open parts with a tool called a squeegee. The ink goes onto the item below, making the design.
  • You use a different screen for each color in the design. The item gets each color one at a time, building up the full image.
  • After printing, the ink dries. This makes the design stay on the fabric really well.

The end result is a clear, bright design that makes logos or pictures look great. This method is good for making lots of items at once.

How do companies print logos on shirts?

Companies usually use two ways to print logos on shirts:

Screen Printing: This is good for simple designs and big orders. It uses screens to put layers of ink on the shirt, making the logo.

Direct-to-Garment (DTG): This method is for more complicated or colorful designs. It's like a printer for clothes, putting the ink right onto the fabric. DTG is better for small orders but costs more per shirt.

Whether a company uses screen printing or DTG depends on how many shirts they need, how complicated the design is, and how much they want to spend.

How can I improve my screen printing business?

Here are some tips to make your screen printing business better:

  • Make sure your prints are really good by paying attention to details and using the best materials.
  • Be nice and easy to work with, and fix any problems quickly.
  • Use the internet to show off your work and find customers.
  • Offer good deals, like discounts for big orders.
  • Try new and creative printing projects to show what you can do.
  • Keep up with new ways to do screen printing and be involved in your community.

What is screen wrap branding?

Screen wrap branding means covering big things, like cars or storefronts, with big stickers that show off a brand. Here's what you need to know:

  • These stickers are really big and cover things completely, making them stand out.
  • They're made from special material that can stick to different surfaces.
  • You can put them on cars, buildings, or almost anything else.
  • It's a cool way to get people to notice a brand because it's so visible.
  • It's cheaper than painting and you can change the designs more easily.

This method is great for making a brand really noticeable by using big, colorful designs on things people see every day.

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