What affects t-shirt pricing?

So, you are in the market for custom printed t-shirts. Great! You pick an awesome design and when it comes time to order, you’re completely surprised by the price. Don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Many people are not aware of the factors which drive up the cost of custom printed apparel. In this article, I’ll touch on some of the things to consider when ordering.

The Design

The first thing to keep in mind when designing your logo are the amount of colors you’re using. In screen printing, price is drastically affected by colors. Why is that?

For a screen printer to prepare your logo for printing, screens need to be created with your design imbedded on them. Every color in your logo needs to have a separate screen made. So if your logo has three colors, then three screens need to be made in order to print your shirts.

Print Areas 

Having your logos printed on multiple areas of  the garment also greatly affect pricing.

Let’s say you have a three color logo to be printed on the front of the shirt and a two color logo placed on the back. That’s five total colors which means, five screens need to be created for your order.

To make your shirts, the screen printer will have to print one side of the shirts first then re-set everything up for the other side.

Garment Selection 

There are many options of apparel to choose from which range considerably in price. Have a budget in mind when selecting shirts and keep in mind, you’re paying for the shirt and everything that goes into the decorating process.

Think about your needs and what you will be using the apparel for. If it’s a one time event, you may consider a budget t-shirt. If it’s for something you’ll get multiple uses, a mid-grade shirt would work best and so on.

Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions.


The amount of shirts you purchase will affect cost as discounts are often applied based on volume. As a rule of thumb, the more you order, the lower the pricing will be per shirt.

Other Charges 

Miscellaneous charges you may come across include the following:

  • Artwork and design fees. Typically this charge is for the printer to create logos or editing deigns.
  • Screen Charges. Most printers will have a setup cost associated with the total number of screens needed to be created for your order. The number of colors in your design will equal the number of screens.
  • Specialty Inks. For ink colors not in the printer’s “standard” color chart, there is typically a charge to make these inks.

These are the major points to consider when you are in need of custom apparel. Find a good reputable printer who offers a wide variety of options to fit your budget and needs.

At UrbanFly Apparel, we work with many individuals and organizations to help promote their business, event or fundraiser. Let us know what we can do for you.