Andy Timmins | T-Shirt Printing Blogger | Shirtworks

T-Shirt Printing information, news and advise from Shirtworks.

Andy Timmins is a founder member of the company and has an in depth knowledge of every aspect of the company having spent time working in all of the departments over the years. Still known to get his hands dirty in the print room or pick up the phone and offer his expertise if the circumstances arrive.

Andy Timmins

Hail the return of the Greaser

Hail the return of the Greaser
Customer Focus: The Bike Shed'Identity' is an intrinsic human requirement. Without it, many of us are lost, uncertain of ourselves and left searching and unfulfilled.The vacuum left by this feeling is...
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Andy Timmins

So, you want to start a clothing company?

So, you want to start a clothing company?
Each day, we process around 300 quotations for customers who are looking to buy clothing for a number of reasons.We have workwear customers, we have marketing or advertising agencies, we have clubs or...
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Andy Timmins

Shirtworks roadtest for new Stanley Stella products for 2016.

Shirtworks roadtest for new Stanley Stella products for 2016.

What has a seminal 1947 Tennesee Williams play about complex human interactions and a study of masculinity have in common with a 21st century clothing brand?

Well..............we have no idea!

Stanley & Stella (S&S) are two of the main characters in 'A Streetcar named Desire' and also the name of an ethical clothing brand which has positioned itself as a fashion white label product for anyone wanting to create a product driven as well as brand driven clothing brand of their own.

The garment decoration business has long been supplying basic t shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies etc.... for screenprinting or embroidery but in the last 3 years there have been interesting 'fashion' orientated products coming into the market.

These products have been constructed using alternative weave and dying processes to create fashion textures that have been appearing on the high street recently.

S&S also use organic cotton and their products are Fair Wear accredited. This can be an important message for your own brand and can add value, credibility and brand equity.

8 different sustainable fabrics

5 innovative dyeing techniques

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Andy Timmins

What is Colour Separating for T-shirt Printing


What is colour separating for T shirt printing?

Printing onto T-shirts using the traditional screen-printing process is not always straightforward.

There are variables, which will determine the approach.

The first variable is the image itself and how it will be colour separated before being sent to the screen room.

Artwork is always constructed using some basic but variable building blocks that require us consider how they will be screenprinted;

  • Is it a vector or a bitmap file format?
  • Is the resolution of the artwork good enough to begin with?
  • Artwork will contain one or more colours. How many is too many?
  • The ‘object’ in the artwork may be solid spot colours or they may contain gradients and tonal changes.
  • It may contain text. The size of this is important.
  • The artwork may contain key-lines and their thickness is important.
  • What colour garments are we printing on?

Many customers will not consider that so much is required to assess artwork. If they are lucky enough to have had a graphic designer produce their artwork then much of this thinking will already have occurred if the graphic designer is ‘t shirt’ trained.

Screen printers are often supplied with low-resolution images from websites for reproduction. This is rarely adequate for direct reproduction as web graphics are designed to be as small a file size as possible so that the web page they are lifted from has a faster loading speed.

These images often have to be re-drawn using a vector program such as Adobe Illustrator or they are put through a number of Photoshop filters to try to improve them. Sometimes both.

Assuming the artwork is the best it can be, there are a number of colour separation techniques that we use.

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Andy Timmins

Company Uniforms: Matching Quality For Cost

Professionalism counts for a lot. A simple uniform can transform a workplace, establishing brand, reinforcing unity and tying your team together visually. The whole appearance of your getup will be slicker and more professional, without having to compromise on the relaxed atmosphere or feel-good-vibe particular to your business.

All off the back of a few polo shirts or printed v-necks! Let’s look at this a little more.

Benefits of company uniforms

Work JacketsCompany uniforms encourage customers to approach your staff. A uniform instantly identifies someone as an employee, making it easier and more automatic for potential customers to ask queries or request orders.

Your staff will feel more professional when in uniform. It can help them to differentiate between personal and work time, enabling them to get in the zone faster and work more efficiently on the shop floor or at their desk.

Uniforms look great! Lift your company to the next level with a couple of quality tees. Show your customers you care about your image and your brand.


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Andy Timmins

The 10 Coolest T-Shirt Designs We've Seen in 2015


2015 is nowhere near finished, and we’ve already come across some of the best T-shirt designs we’ve seen in years. Whether you’re hitting a beach overseas, or staying at home to soak up the best of the British sunshine, you’re going to look fantastic in one of these T-shirts.

The Stussy Collage Tie-Dye

Stussy Tie DyeThis isn’t your 60s tie-dye, peace symbol T-shirt. These are all over tie-dye prints, splashed with edgy messaging, images of the fashion icon you want to be, and a lot of urban cool.

Colourways come in blue, purple, and red, while the shirt itself comes in a regular fit from size S to XXL.

The Oldhead Biker Logo T

Oldhead has hardly kept their love of all things snowboarding, skating and surfing a secret, so how wonderful to see their ‘Never Stop Riding’ logo below a motorbike with wings.

In keeping with the look of every classic biker tee ever made, this 100% cotton tee comes in simple black. The bike brown logo’s stands out in minimal but effective tan design, making this a t-shirt destined for a few appreciative glances this summer.

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Andy Timmins

University Guide : How To Increase Sport Participation

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Do you want to increase participation in your chosen sport?  These 5 useful steps should help you to have a full, motivated and energetic team. Once you have your team, you should consider planning a team social so your team can get to know each other better. You can find out more about this here


Step One - Create A Strong Sport Community 


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Make full use of the Student Union and make them aware that you are looking for new candidates to join your team. However, more than that you should create social outlets where your team can come together and discuss any worries or improvements. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram they are all perfect tools to help you create a strong community. Once students notice your dedicated team they will be raring to be part of it. 



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Andy Timmins

For the Social Sec: How to Plan the Perfect Team Social


Planning a university social As every student knows, there are two golden rules to follow when you want to make the most of university life: work hard and play hard! This is especially true if you are the social secretary for one of the diverse range of student clubs and societies at UK universities.

You need strong organisational skills and a great sense of humour in order to run a successful event that will bring your team members closer together, celebrate their achievements, raise money and create fantastic memories.

Whether you are social sec for a uni rowing club, film society, choir or a more unusual student group, keep these key steps in mind to help your event go without a hitch.

Save the Date

Start planning your team social as far in advance as possible in order to help ensure that your team members’ diaries won’t already be full. Offer everyone a selection of dates, avoiding clashes with other student events, and go for the date that is convenient for the largest number of people. To help ensure that team members don’t forget about the event, send them ‘save-the-date’ cards, as well as reminders nearer the time.

Try Something New

Don’t settle for a pub quiz just because that is what the team usually ends up doing. Chat to your team members for inspiration. What activities would they love to try? Where haven’t they been before? Do they have any unusual hobbies? Check out some local attractions and venues, so that you have a few ideas up your sleeve to get the ball rolling. Paintballing, spa days, treasure hunts – the opportunities are limited only by your imagination! 

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Andy Timmins

A History of the NUS

There’s empty sloganeering and then there’s achieving real change. The first may be easy to achieve with a few Facebook ‘shares’, but to truly impact on the greater good of society, action, organisation, and flexibility are vital. One group who embodies this is the National Union of Students (NUS).

The Early Days

NUSThe years after World War I saw Britain counting the costs of the most brutal military action in recent memory. Out of this was a general desire for peace, especially amongst the student population. In 1922, ex-serviceman Ivison Macadam worked with others to form the NUS.

As President of the NUS, Macadam had a noble goal, namely for his organisation to be represented in the Prague-based Confederation Internationale des Etudiants. This Confederation’s vision to promote friendship and understanding between those perceived as the future leaders of different nations spoke strongly to the NUS’s ideals.

Merging Idealism with Pragmatism

By 1930, it had became apparent that the NUS would need to focus its priorities on commercial endeavours in order to fund the on-going travel required for international meetings. NUS Travel was set up to achieve this end, proving to be successful.

In 1965, the NUS went on to establish Endsleigh, a specialist student insurance company. This answered the needs of students who were unable to attain competitive insurance at the time and went onto become one of the largest insurance retail operations in the UK.

Sadly, the global economic crisis of the 1970s was too much for the NUS’s commercial ventures to withstand. NUS Travel spiralled into bankruptcy and Endsleigh was sold. However, the NUS and Endsleigh still enjoy a strong relationship. Ironically, it was the NUS’s more idealistic stance that would ensure its survival.

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Andy Timmins

Great Places For University Trips Abroad

budapestSummer's coming, and exams will be over and done with. Have you started thinking about how you’ll enjoy your time off?

Whether you’re interested in brushing up on your language skills, working or volunteering somewhere exotic, or merely kicking back on an inexpensive, relaxing holiday on the beach, here are some of our picks for a great few months.

Budapest, Hungary

Known for its famous Sziget Festival a massively popular weeklong culture and music festival that takes place every August, Budapest is also home to a lively unique nightlife scene. In the past decade, the city has gained fame for its “ruin pubs”, bars that have sprung up in abandoned places and repurposed old Soviet architecture.

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Andy Timmins

Marketing Your Small Business: Key Advice


small-business-marketingSomewhere in the midst of simply surviving your business needs to move from being a start-up to a grown up. You probably already know that the vehicle that can take your small business to the next level is marketing, but with so much information out there, where do you begin?

The answers are surprisingly simple, so let’s begin at the beginning.

Define Your Target Customer

The first step in growing your small business is to stop asking what your business and customers can do for you and ask what you can do for them. To do this, you’ll need to define your target customer as clearly as possible, and this means moving beyond mere market segments and demographics and niching down as much as you can.

As uncomfortable as this discipline may seem at first, a clear and decisive picture of your customer will allow you target all of your efforts toward them. Trying to please everybody will leave you ragged and your customers unhappy.

Design with Your Customer in Mind

We’re not talking about your products at this stage, although you may find that they shape themselves to be more attractive to your target customers over time. What we’re talking about is your brand. You may have to change your logo, brand colours, and even name to go after the customers you want.

Everything from logo font and colours, web design, and the way you present yourself counts at this stage. After all, there’s no point wearing a conservative business suit if you’re selling products to aspiring circus performers.

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Andy Timmins

Blog Post - Company Uniforms: Matching Quality For Cost


uniformProfessionalism counts for a lot. A simple uniform can transform a workplace, establishing brand, reinforcing unity and tying your team together visually. The whole appearance of your getup will be slicker and more professional, without having to compromise on the relaxed atmosphere or feel-good-vibe particular to your business.

All off the back of a few polo shirts or printed v-necks! Let’s look at this a little more.

Benefits of company uniforms

Company uniforms encourage customers to approach your staff. A uniform instantly identifies someone as an employee, making it easier and more automatic for potential customers to ask queries or request orders.

Your staff will feel more professional when in uniform. It can help them to differentiate between personal and work time, enabling them to get in the zone faster and work more efficiently on the shop floor or at their desk.

Uniforms look great! Lift your company to the next level with a couple of quality tees. Show your customers you care about your image and your brand.

Matching quality for cost

Your biggest concern is probably cost. You might be worried about breaking the bank over something that doesn’t seem to matter very much. A quality uniform does matter!

And you don’t need to worry about cost.

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Andy Timmins

6 Great Places For University Trips In Oxfordshire

Feeling stressed out by your studies but don’t have time for a proper holiday? There are lots of fun and interesting places you can go for a quick getaway.

Whether you have just an afternoon or a few days over a long weekend, check out some of these ideas when you need a little break from university.

Explore Royalty

Oxford CastleWhether you want to explore stunning views of the countryside from the oldest building in Oxford, roam through a 900-year-old crypt, or check out what it was like in an 18th-century debtor’s prison, Oxford Castle is a fascinating way to spend a day.

You can even take a tour with costumed guides for an added historic touch. Built by medieval Norman baron Robert D’Oyly in 1071, the castle played an important role in military history over several hundred years.

After the English Civil War, the castle served as a prison for the next few hundred years. Now you can dine in one of the old prison buildings, and if you have the cash you can even spend the night.

Malmaison Oxford is a boutique hotel in what used to be the prison quarter and though not cheap, it’s a one of a kind experience. But if a luxury suite isn’t your style, don’t worry; there are rooms nearby for around £32/night.

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Andy Timmins

Where Do Your Clothes Come From?

b2ap3_thumbnail_shirtworks---ethical.pngLets begin with a little experiment: go to your wardrobe now, grab a few items at random and note down the countries mentioned on the label. Unless you’re heavily into custom-crafted suits made from Harris Tweed, my bet is that you’ll find a majority of labels citing the following destinations as their place of manufacture.


Nowadays China is the undisputed titan of clothing manufacture, leading the world with exports worth $154 billion US. This is a dramatic transformation from the nation’s position in 1980, when it stood in 8th place in the global apparel export charts with a trade worth only $42 billion US (as corrected for inflation).

China’s supremacy is driven by a large labour force whose skills power mega-factories to seemingly ever greater heights of productivity.

But industry experts suspect that China has all but reached peak clothing production. Per-unit costs are rising as the underlying standard of living improves, and in its vastness China presents a logistical challenge for distribution. Predictions are that large clothing companies will soon be sourcing their garments elsewhere.

Hong Kong

Tailors in Hong Kong have long held semi-mythical status for their ability to run up couture garments with a ready-to-wear price tag. No wonder that the country’s manufacturing base has remained dominant since 1980. Hong Kong only ceded first place in the export league table to China in 1995, and more recently its market share was calculated at an impressive $24.5 billion.

Even though it is now administratively part of China, Hong Kong holds its own in the garment industry. As China’s production advantages lessen, Hong Kong’s manufacturers will no doubt still be doing what they’ve always done: providing high quality clothing at a reasonable cost and with a short turnaround time. 

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Andy Timmins

8 Tips To Create A 'Homely' University House

Our Advice On How To Create A 'Homely' University House

b2ap3_thumbnail_uni-house---shirtworks.pngIf you’re a typical university student, your student accommodation consists of a bland, generic room furnished with the same bed and desk as everyone else in your building. The question then becomes, what can you do on a limited budget to add functionality and personalize your space?

Fortunately, you’ll find that a few simple touches can go a long way towards making your university space a little more homely. And when you feel more comfortable, those long hours of study will be easier to endure. Here are a few simple, inexpensive ways to add a little character to your space.

Invest in lighting

Good lighting can improve your study habits, and if you choose a stylish fixture it can also add interest to your room. You might want to raid a lamp from your parents’ attic for a personal remembrance, or visit a vintage shop for an antique look. If clean and modern is more your style, supermarket home-ware sections or Ikea offer interesting lighting choices that won’t break the bank.

b2ap3_thumbnail_beanbag.pngAdd extra seating

Add beanbags to the floor give a student room a funky vibe and provide extra seating for friends who drop by. You might also want to pick up inexpensive cushions online or in discount shops to add both decoration and extra seating. 

Include a little nostalgia

Especially for your first year away from home, a few nostalgic touches will help you adjust and keep you from feeling too homesick. A few carefully selected items from your old room at home can remind you of your loved ones.

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Andy Timmins

5 Creative Things To Do With Old Clothes


Innovations For Your Old Clothes 

I'm sure many of us are guilty of simply throwing away our old clothes that we never wear anymore. However by thinking creatively we can make those disused items last much longer and create a meaningful use for them!

We compiled a list of our favourite innovative ideas, some of which you may want to try yourself.


Using old clothes to make an apron is a really good idea, as it saves you from getting your current clothes dirty and therefore another load of washing. They can also be completely unique to your taste and style. The process of creating them is also very easy and enjoyable.

If you want advice and tips on how to make these, click here.


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Andy Timmins

The Most Unusual University Sports

Strange Sports in Colleges & Universities

At University it is not uncommon to see people play Rugby or Football, but these other sports are also beginning to take off...

For many Universities, sport is a big deal and for a lot of students, joining a university team is a gateway to a whole new social environment.
However, while several universities partake in the traditional sports such as football, rugby, basketball and cricket, a few new sports are beginning to creep onto the university scene and they are a little different from the conventional sports teams.

Underwater Hockey

Underwater hockeyHockey has been a popular sport with universities for years ever since its inception in the 19th century. Field hockey then evolved over time and ice hockey was developed in Canada in 1875.Universities across the country have now taken this popular past-time to a new level with the introduction of underwater hockey.

Also known as Octopush, underwater hockey follows the typical rules of regular hockey. Underwater hockey teams usually consist of 6 players who use curved sticks to hit a puck into the other team’s goal. Although the sport is gaining more and more players around the world, it is still yet to develop a large following outside of universities.

However, the sport is still in its early days and is one to be watched because it is set to become something of a phenomenon within competitive university sport.

If you are interested in joining this club in Oxford, then click here.

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Andy Timmins

Weird and Wonderful College & University Traditions

Looking at Some of the Stranger Traditions on Campus

weird university traditionsGoing to university offers more to students than a degree.

University life brings with it a sense of community and camaraderie as students experience the trials and tribulations of university life together. They gain a shared sense of belonging at attending a venerable institution.

And sometimes they get more than they bargained for. 

University culture has some weird and wonderful traditions that have been passed down over the years. Here are some of the most bizarre university (or college) traditions from around the world.

Time Ceremony, Merton College, Oxford

As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, it’s only natural that Oxford is home to many bizarre traditions throughout its many colleges, but the Time Ceremony held at Merton College really takes the biscuit.

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Andy Timmins

Sport in Oxford: A History


A Long & Established History of Sport in Oxford

roger bannisterThe city of Oxford can boast a rich sporting heritage, with many historic events and victories across numerous different disciplines to its name. Oxford owes much of its sporting success to its famous university, as the facilities and traditions there have supported its alumni in every endeavour possible.

Let’s take a look at some of Oxford’s greatest sporting achievements.

Roger Bannister

Perhaps the finest moment of all in Oxford’s sporting history took place on 6 May 1954. At the university owned Iffley Road running track, medical student Roger Bannister fulfilled his ambition of running the world’s first sub-4-minute mile.

Having come within 2 seconds a year before, and knowing that other runners - particularly Australian John Landy - were nearing the milestone, Bannister battled strong winds to set the record in front of 3000 spectators. That same season Bannister compounded that achievement by winning the 1500m (the so-called metric mile) at the European Championships in Bern before retiring from Athletics to concentrate on his work in the field of medicine.

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Andy Timmins

The 10 Worst Football Shirts in History

Looking at Some of the Worst Designs in Football's History

bilbaoWith every new football season comes a large variety of new football shirts, now so more than ever. Gone are the days of the 2 year shirt cycle, and now every top club releases at least 2 brand new shirts every year.

While it’s impossible to please everyone, occasionally a shirt is released to universal derision from fans the world over. Here are our picks for the 10 worst in history (so far).

1. A Ketchup Mishap

In 2004 La Liga side Athletic Bilbao released a shirt (see right!) designed by Basque artist Dario Urzay to commemorate the club’s centenary year, apparently inspired by the works of art in Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum.

A well meaning effort perhaps, but one that shares more in common with a ketchup mishap than fine art.

2. The Tigers

worst hull shirtThis Hull City shirt from 1992 gave fans an unexpected glimpse of the future. The club is nicknamed the Tigers due to the traditional black and amber stripes that adorn their home shirts.

New owner Dr. Assem Allam took things one step further this year when he attempted to Americanise the club by officially changing its name to the Hull Tigers, hoping to increase commercial revenue.

The idea was thankfully rejected by the Football Association, which is just as well; nobody wants to see another shirt like this.

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