Arron Harnden

The A-Z of the sales and printing process

So you are thinking of buying printed or embroidered T-shirts. It is probably more complicated than you think.

confused-guy

Almost everything in life is more complicated than you first give it credit. I regularly make this mistake when I first start thinking about a project and buying branded garments or printed T shirts is no exception.

There are easy print/embroidery jobs and quick decisions that can be made but there are also those jobs where every detail needs to be questioned. This detail is often overlooked by the customer when they begin the journey. A good sales person will guide the customer through these decisions where required but here are some key points to consider.

1    Your quote/the print company you chose

There are now plenty to choose from. Just Google T Shirt printing and you will be presented with those companies that Google has decided to rank organically or via pay per click on your search view; but which one is best for you?

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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.

  1. SPOT COLOUR SEPARATIONS
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Arron Harnden

Sports garments- what process is best for decorating these garment?

Polyester is popular again.

Not in a post ironic disco fitted groove strutting kind of way, but popular with those that like to cook up a sweat; stretching, lunging, busting a gut, honing those pecs and glutes.
All manner of ‘teamwear’ type styles are now available for your football , hockey, basketball, cross country and quidditch team.

Sols-Sport-clothing


Your first decision may be what colour configuration you require with your teamwear but the second is going to be how your logo or design is placed onto your garment and what process is best.
This is not so straightforward and some consideration is required. The choice you make will be dictated by your design/logo in conjunction with your garment choice. The number of colours, the detail in the logo, the size of the logo, the colour and weight of your garments will all shape this decision. 

print-on-sports-topsYour Shirtworks account manager will be your sounding board but below is an overview of these considerations and the reasons that they require some expertise and thought.
1               Why is polyester a trickier proposition to decorate than a traditional cotton T shirt?

 

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Arron Harnden

Brand Design Problems: Choosing the Right Logo

 

Choosing the right logoWith the advent of the internet, there are literally millions of new businesses springing up across the world. This has its plus sides and its down sides for business owners. Competition is becoming increasingly fierce. You are no longer just up against local businesses, but national and international ones too. On the plus side, there are far more opportunities to grow with a worldwide market.

Business owners are realising that the only way to get ahead is to make their business stand out from the crowd. You have to put real time, effort and resources into creating a brand that tells people who you are and what you do in a unique and appealing way.

One of the most important facets of this is creating a business logo. Having a logo for your brand that people recognise and equate with quality services and products can be the difference between success and failure. Despite being vitally important, there are still some common mistakes made by businesses when creating their logos. Let’s have a look at the top five.

 

1. Cutting Corners on the Design Work

Jotting down a logo idea and then handing it over to someone to replicate is not going to do your business any favours. Designers are highly skilled experts with trained eyes and a depth of knowledge on how your logo will appear in different formats. One logo may look good on a website but will fade into insignificance on a uniform. It’s important to source a designer who you can work with closely, and discuss all aspects of your brand before they begin working on a design.

You need to budget carefully for this and pay as much as you can for this stage of your branding work. It will pay dividends in the long run. A logo is for life, not just for Christmas!

 

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Arron Harnden

The journey of the T shirt through popular culture

Last century, in 1990 I saw a film.
I was 18 yrs of age, still impressionable, still trying to figure out who I was and what my outward identity would communicate.
An image in that film caught my eye.
It was a v neck t shirt.
Not just any v neck T shirt, it was a garment draped over the languidly cool frame of the actor Matt Dillon who was playing the lead character, James Fogle, in Gus Van Sants film about a drug addict turned robber to fund his drug habit.
A poor choice for me as a life and fashion role model but I was 18 and I was a young fool who, all of a sudden, wanted a plain white v neck t shirt. An impossible thing to buy on the high street in the UK in 1990.This unattainability made it all the more desirable to me.
Matt-Dillion-in-v-neck-t-shirt
Source//googleimages
Everyday powerful images stream into our subconscious from the numerous screens that coexist with or current 21th century routines and

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Arron Harnden

The geographical and economic journey of your T-shirt.

Take a look in your wardrobe or chest of drawers. It is a statistical certainty that you own a T shirt.

What other product do you know of that almost everybody in the world owns?

The incredible journey that your T shirt has taken will surprise most of you. The human effort and energy expenditure invested in your T shirt and the small amount of money you have paid for that garment will surprise you.

The story about to unfold is a summary of a typical journey . We cannot possibly tell you all of them as not all journeys are the same but what is the same is the fact that the T shirt is a truly global, cosmopolitan traveller with thousands of miles in its passport and numerous personalities involved in its short life before it finds it home with you.

Your T shirt started life as a seed. If you are reading this in the UK, it is likely to have began its journey in

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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

This 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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Arron Harnden

What's the difference between Fairtrade and Fair Wear Garments?

People often ask us this question and wonder if Fairtrade and Fair Wear are essentially the same. It’s certainly true that both are aiming to achieve the same objective of ensuring that the people who produce the goods we use every day are treated fairly for their work. There are, however, differences in the approaches used and the different parts of the supply chain who are benefiting.

fairtrade-v-fairwear

 

The focus of the Fairtrade Foundation is ensuring small producers receive an acceptable deal for their products when selling to large corporations. Concerned with a wide range of sectors (e.g. coffee, bananas, cocoa, cotton), the intention is to target and alleviate poverty affecting those at the bottom of the supply chain in developing countries.

 

 cotton-pickers-round-the-world

Aiming to create better and fairer working conditions for manufacturing workers in the garment industry, Fair Wear Foundation pays particular attention to brand accountability at the middle and higher end of the supply chain, looking to ensure brands take responsibility for the surroundings in which their products are produced. Membership involves agreement to a set of ‘labour standards’ which are as follows:

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Andy Timmins

University Guide : How To Increase Sport Participation

shirtworks 1436347178599 block 0

 

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

team-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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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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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-prison

Whether 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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Arron Harnden

What Exactly Makes a Garment Ethical?

ShirtworksMany of us are becoming increasingly familiar with the Fairtrade mark as a guide to responsible consumer behaviour. Fairtrade is a label attached to individual products informing us that its production meets particular stipulations.

However, as consumers we are not as familiar with the concept of ethical trade: this criterion has a lower public profile because it applies to the behaviour of companies, not the buying public.

The issues tackled by ethical clothing initiatives are varied, but fall under the general headings of protecting workers’ rights, animal rights, and safeguarding the environment.

Working Conditions

Increasingly in recent years, awareness has been raised about the poor working conditions endured by many of the people who make the clothing sold on the high street.

Factory accommodation is often cramped and unsafe, and scant attention is paid to the health, safety and even basic human dignity of these workers. Child labour is an issue, too, and child workers are often especially badly treated, having to endure long working hours for very little pay.

Ethical garments are ones produced in conditions which allow their creators at least adequate standards of remuneration and which acknowledge their human rights. For a clothing company to be truly ethical it must also refuse to employ children, and where child workers are already employed, it should aim to help them move into good-quality education instead.

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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.

China

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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Arron Harnden

How to Brilliantly Clean Dirty Sports Kit

clothes-line

The joys of football and rugby season don’t tend to extend to the washing. Between the blood, mud, and grass stains, you’ll want to get the job done quickly so you can get on with better things. Don’t fret, as there are some easy tips for making that sports kit brilliantly clean. Pull on those rubber gloves and let’s get started.

Know Your Fabric

A polyester mesh is the standard fabric for football shirts, while rugby kit may be made in polyester or polyester with a Lycra blend. The good news is that the average sports kit is made for its durability and is usually easier to look after than cotton.

Pre-Soak Straight Away

As soon as you can, get that uniform soaking. If you have a heavy-duty laundry sink, run the tap and rinse as much mud off as possible. If not, hang your kit on the clothesline and rinse it with a hose. The next step is to fill a bucket with warm water, add one cap of laundry detergent and a cup of baking soda, and leave your kit to sit for an hour or more.

How Hard Is Your Water?

This is something most people don’t think about when it comes to washing their kit but it makes all the difference. Soft water makes it easy to remove ground-in stains while the minerals found in hard water means you’ll need a bit of help. Invest in some water conditioner, and add this to your pre-soak bucket to help your detergent along.

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8 Tips To Create A 'Homely' University House

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

tips-for-that-homely-university-house

If 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.

Add 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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