Spreadshirt First Impressions

A few days ago I signed up with Spreadshirt, in order to play around and see how everything works.  The only on-demand printer that I had worked with previously is Cafepress, and in a way my first impressions were made up of ways in which the two are different.  Here’s what I found.

Vector Designs and Printing Methods

In addition to the traditional WYSWIG method of digital printing Spreadshirt employs something called plot printing.  I’m not any kind of an expert on this, but the way I understand it is that a blade cuts your design out of a colored material, which is then adhered to your shirt.  This allows for a wider range of materials, such as glittery foil and velvety “flock” prints, and Spreadshirt claims the results are a lot more durable.  There are some limitations in terms of the shapes your design can have, and only one swatch is possible.  This also requires the use of vector graphics (think Illustrator not Photoshop).

A Wide Selection of Printable Products

Spreadshirt has a dizzying selection of printable apparel for men, women, and children.  There is anything from cheap lightweight t-shirts to American Apparel and even track jackets.  Choice is always good, but makes for some difficult choices when designing your products.  The upside is that printing areas are fairly large, average around 12″ wide and up to the whole shirt length.

Sell Your Design at Spreadshirt

Another way that Spreadshirt is different from, say Cafepress, is that in addition to putting your shop’s products into the “marketplace” you can also submit your designs, which in turn can be used by other shopkeepers, in exchange for royalties.  This works a bit like clip-art.  Design an element that someone might like to use (think shamrock, stylized heart, baseball bat), and you can earn a couple of bucks anytime it’s printed on a shirt.

Aside from all these positives Spreadshirt also has a slick, modern interface, and tons of customization options.  Just take a look at a shop like Amorphia Apparel to see how seamlessly Spreadshirt can integrate with your website.  This high level of customization at a price of a higher learning curve, but the e-mail support so far has been great.

Want to see what’s available in the Spreadshirt Marketplace?  Here are some coupon codes:

BUYMORE8 – 20% off when you buy two products.
BUYMORE9 – 25% off when you buy three products.

Experies Nov 28th.

CYBER48 – 25& an order for $30 or more.

Valid Dec 1st – 5th.

12 thoughts on “Spreadshirt First Impressions

  1. Looks like both of you touched on the vector design issue, and I agree that waiting 1 business day everytime you tweak a design can be a small hassle. There is also that niggle that no part of your design can be thinner than .06″ or something like that. But there’s defintely something very cool about vectors.

  2. I agree about the approval process but it’s something I’ve got better at over time. I’ve just stuck to vector designs which has helped create a more coherent style to my T-shirts.

  3. The thing about spreadshirt that I find lacking is color. Uploading vectors, they only allow 3 colors. That hinders creativity a bit. Other than that, the quality of the shirts are really good.

  4. I am contemplating investing in a premium membership. My choices are: Spreadshirt / Cafrepresss & Zazzle. I just googled T shirt and Spreadshirt came up at a poor 5th page bottom. Whereas Zazzle and Cafe Press (in that order) came up much more earlier and more aggressively. Given a good percentage of online sales are from search engines, should I prefer Zazzle?

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