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Screen printing 75x t-shirts is cheaper than vinyl right?

We were recently asked by one of our customers to quote for some printed t-shirts with their logo on so they could resell them as an additional revenue stream for their fitness business.  They wanted to get around 75x cotton t-shirts printed with logo front & back.

Naturally, you would think that screen printed t-shirts in this volume would be the most cost effective solution…


The first thing to consider is artwork.  How many colours are in the logo and how many positions are they being printed?  In this instance above you can see we have our logo in 2 colours across the chest and a logo icon printed in 2 colours on the nape of the neck.

So that’s 2 colours in 2 positions.

Screen printed t-shirts are decorated by creating a mesh screen for each design and each colour element in the logo or artwork and then effectively ‘painting’ the different coloured ink through the mesh and onto the t-shirt.  If you are printing onto a non-white garment it is also quite common to create an extra screen as a ‘base’ layer which ensures the main colours in the image show up correctly and are not ‘shaded’ or changed by the colour of the t-shirt itself showing through.

So for the example above you can see that for each design we will need 3 screens in order to print in 2 colours in each position:

  1. Base layer for the front design
  2. The grey element in the front design
  3. The blue element in the front design
  4. Base layer for the back design
  5. The grey element in the back design
  6. The blue element in the back design

That’s 6 screens in total for this design.  There is almost always a setup charge per screen when screen printing t-shirts so there would be 6x screen setup costs for this artwork so far…

The next thing to consider is the range of sizes required. The customer needed a range of printed t-shirt sizes from kids age 5-6 through to adult XXXL. If we stick with just 1 size of artwork we are limited to the smallest t-shirt to define the size of our logo.  If you look at the image below you will see we have sized the design to look perfect on a kids age 5-6 t-shirt.  If we use the same size logo across the full range of t-shirt sizes you will see how small the artwork appears on the larger adult sizes.

In order to have a consistent look across all sizes we need 2 different sizes of artwork, 1 set for the kids sizes and another for the adult sizes.

This would mean we now require to double the amount of screens in order to achieve the 2 different sizes, making 12 print screens in total which is where the cost builds.

You will see that in this instance it will be far more expensive to screen print 75x t-shirts with 2 colour front and back logo across such a wide range of sizes.

With a vinyl print we can print multiple colours at no setup cost and also change the artwork size with the touch of a button.  Vinyl printing is only achievable on certain logos and designs (solid designs such as the example above are great, whereas grainy or ‘distressed’ style artwork or intricate sections are not always achievable with vinyl) but as you can see here it would be far cheaper to vinyl print the design than it would to screen print.

Is vinyl printing a lesser quality?

Vinyl is a very durable print method and can usually outlast the garment in many instances provided the t-shirt is washed and ironed correctly.


For more information or to get a quotation for printed t-shirts for your company call us on 01628 308810