Posted on Leave a comment

T-Shirt Design Basics and Creation

two women wearing Viera Social Media company shirts

Think about how many people you see around town or around your workplace wearing a graphic T-Shirt on a daily basis. You probably see quite a few. However, how much have you actually thought about what goes into the making of a custom T-shirt design?

Maybe you needed shirts made for a school, church, or sports event and went through the process of finding a place to get them made. Depending on how many shirts you needed, you may have looked into finding a local business that makes shirts. You may have gone online and ordered from Custom Ink or Spread Shirt. Either way, you probably found that creating a custom T-shirt design was more confusing than you had thought.

There are 3 main ways of creating a custom shirt. All three ways are very different, so keep them in mind when designing your next custom T-Shirt.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is a way of printing shirts where each color is laid down separately. They are printed in a specific order to get the desired design. Six to nine colors is typically the maximum amount of colors you can print at any local print shop. However, the more colors you are printing, the more it will cost. The reason screen printing can get pricey is because of how much work goes into it. As shown in the diagram below, screen printing is a multi-step process that starts with a silk screen.

screen print diagram, T-shirt Design
https://blogs.alphagraphics.com/blog/nashville-tennessee-us731/2018/07/31/how-it-works-screen-printing-and-the-history-behind-it/

Screen Print Process

A designer will take your design file and open it in an editing software, such as illustrator. They will then limit the number of colors in it. The design will be printed, each color will print on a separate sheet, and one at a time each color sheet will be sealed against a screen. Each screen is then exposed to light which burns the printout image onto it. You then wash out the screen to reveal the image burned into it. Once you have your finished screens, add the correct ink color to the corresponding screen. Then squeegee the ink from each screen onto the shirt. After you dry the ink, the final product should have the same design on it that the designer printed.

The fewer colors the better

Screen printing is your best bet if you are looking to print a design with few colors, such as a simple logo. If a large quantity of shirts is needed for events, such as races, school plays, or church events, consider using only one or two ink colors.

When ordering from a company with automatic screen print machines, large quantities of single ink colored shirts are typically more economical than ordering a small quantity of 6 plus ink colored shirts. This is because of how much easier it is to print a single color on a shirt versus even two ink colors and up. The difficulty in printing more than one color is getting the colors to line up to create the desired T-shirt design. Not to mention, the more colors you print, the longer each shirt takes. If you are printing a design with nine colors, it will take roughly the same amount of time to print nine shirts with one ink color as one shirt with nine ink colors.

Screen printing takes a lot of time to set up no matter how many colors you get. Because of that, most larger screen print shops won’t print less than a dozen shirts.

Direct to Garment Printing

Direct to Garment printing, also known as, DTG printing, is the process of using a modified ink jet printer to print on apparel. Instead of printing a design on paper, it’s printed on a shirt. Unlike screen printing, Direct to Garment printing can print as many colors as you want. This method is best is you are wanting to print an actual picture. However, because of the cost of ink, direct to garment printing can get expensive. DTG printing is much easier to set up than screen printing. It is best to consider direct to garment printing when needing a dozen, or less, shirts.

Some shops that print direct to garment may only allow you to print on a white shirt. This is because the ink will show up better and last longer.

Direct to Garment Printing, T-Shirt Design
https://www.onehourtees.com/blog/whats-dtg-printing-and-how-does-it-work/

Sublimated Printing

When looking to get shirts printed, sublimated printing is probably the least common method you will find. Sublimated printing is when you print sublimation ink from a printer onto sublimation transfer paper. After printing your design, you press in onto a blank shirt using a heat press. Sublimated printing can be quite costly. The ink is expensive and the multi-step process makes printing large numbers of shirts not very economical. If you are only printing a few shirts sublimation is a great option. However, like previously mentioned, it can be harder to find somewhere to do sublimated printing.

Sublimation printing, T-Shirt Design
https://www.coastalbusiness.com/blog/sublimation/heat-transfer-paper-vs-sublimation.html

Fully Sublimated Shirts

Instead of printing a design on just one part of the shirt, you can also use sublimation inks to print on the entire shirt. You may have seen this method used on sports apparel and other graphic t-shirts. Fully sublimated shirts start essentially the same way as regular sublimation. However, the designs will be printed in the shape of the shirt, pressed onto blank fabric, cut and sewed together. This method, of course, is the most expensive. That is why typically these types of shirts will only be mass produced.

fully sublimated T-shirt design
https://www.dasflow.com/blog/what-is-sublimation-printing

Consider Quantity and Cost for your T-Shirt Design

At the end of the day, deciding how and where you would like your shirts printed, comes down to two factors- quantity and cost.

  • With screen printing, the more shirts you order, the more economic.
  • With Direct to Garment and Sublimated printing, fewer shirts is the way to go.
  • When you only need a few colors it is best to go with screen printing.
  • If you are needing shirts with a lot of colors, it is best to go with DTG or Sublimation.
  • If you are wanting a picture, screen printing is not an option.
Posted on Leave a comment

Logo Design- Best Practices & Things to Keep in Mind

Viera Social Media Logo

A logo is probably the most important part of your company’s branding as it literally says who you are. A good logo design should be a simple embodiment of your company. It should also be easily recognizable.

In this blog we will look at best practices that you, the business owner, can follow to help the process go as smooth as possible when working with a graphic designer.

We will discuss how to find the right graphic designer for you, how to communicate what you want, revision etiquette, and cost saving compromises.

Finding the right logo designer

There are several things to keep in mind if you are just starting the process of finding a graphic designer for your logo design.

Budget

The first thing to keep in mind is your budget. Once you have determined what your budget will be, then you can begin the search for a graphic designer to bring your logo vision to life. Knowing your budget when searching for a graphic designer will help you choose someone who is in your price point. Knowing how much certain graphic designers charge and what you are looking to spend will prove useful in avoiding future miscommunications when it comes to your invoice.

Location

The second thing to keep in mind is that there are many places you can find a graphic designer. With a quick search on the internet, you will find that there are plenty of options for finding a graphic designer. You can check out freelance sites such as Fiverr and Upwork, or search for a local graphic designer in your area. Be sure to also keep in mind that a local designer may be able to meet with you in person and go over your ideas. This is always helpful when making sure your thoughts and ideas are communicated accurately, which will help the design process go smoother.

Keep in mind that a local designer may be able to meet with you in person and go over your ideas.

Compatibility

The third thing to keep in mind is compatibility. When choosing the right graphic designer for you, you will want to look at samples of their previous work, if provided. Make sure that the designs they have done in the past are along the lines of what you are looking for when it comes to your own logo. Every graphic designer has a different art style. Most designers will adapt their art style to fit what their client is looking for. However, some designers have a very specific style and will always stick to that even if it means upsetting the client.

Cost saving strategies to keep in mind

There are a couple things to keep in mind when dreaming about your perfect logo.

Colors

The number of colors in your logo doesn’t matter for most things you would use it for digitally. However, if you are ever going to want your logo screen printed, or embroidered on shirts, keep in mind, the more colors, the most cost.

Details

Logos with a lot of detail are also difficult and expensive to screen print and embroider. Also, keep in mind, if you will be ordering business cards with your future logo, you may not like the way your logo looks when shrunk down to fit
on a standard sized business card. It may be hard for potential customers to read your business’ name.

Communicating your logo design ideas

Once you have chosen the right graphic designer for your logo design, it’s time to reach out and let them know what you are looking for and agree on a price.

Have an idea in mind

Keep in mind that having an idea of what you want, even just a vague idea, will help the design process go so much smoother. When envisioning your dream logo keep in mind some of the elements that make a logo design successful. A good logo should be: simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate.

Provide examples if possible

A couple things you could do to help the designer have a clearer picture in their head of what you are looking for. One thing you can do is to provide the designer with a hand drawn sketch of what you envision your logo looking like. If you are not able to do that, show images of other logos you have seen and like. This will go a long way in helping the designer create your dream logo, faster.

Speak your mind

A good graphic designer will be able to take the instructions you have given them and communicate back an initial “game plan” on how they will execute the design. If the ideas they give you are not what you had in mind, make sure to speak up and correct any miscommunication. A good designer will take your feedback and revise the plan until you are comfortable with direction they are heading in. Make sure everything is cleared up in the initial stages of design. This will, in turn, make the process go smoother in later stages of the logo design.

Mock-ups and revisions

When your logo designer sends you your first mock-up make sure you look it over carefully. Analyze it to figure out the things you like about it, and the things you don’t. It more than likely wont be exactly what you are looking for in the first mock-up you receive. That’s normal. This is where it comes in handy to be as specific as possible about what you want in the initial stages of discussion with your designer. Now that you have received your first mock-up, be as specific as possible when communicating to your designer. Be specific about the things you like and and don’t like.

Again, don’t be afraid to speak your mind. The clearer you can be the quicker your designer will be able to perfect the logo. With clear direction, it shouldn’t be long until the designer has come up with a logo just like what you had in mind.

Revision etiquette

Be sure to keep in mind the number of revisions that you and your designer agreed upon. The logo design process may take more revisions than you initially had hoped. If this happens, you can ask your designer their protocol when more revisions than quoted will be necessary. Again, this is where it saves you money to have a clear idea of what you want upfront.

When your logo designer sends you your first mock-up make sure you look it over carefully. Analyze it to figure out the things you like about it, and the things you don't. It more than likely wont be exactly what you are looking for in the first mock-up you receive. That's normal. This is where it comes in handy to be as specific as possible about what you want in the initial stages of discussion with your designer. Now that you have received your first mock-up, be as specific as possible when communicating to your designer. Be specific about the things you like and and don't like.

File types

In this section I will go over the different file types you may want to have when the logo is completed. Be sure to think about what you are planning to do with your completed logo before meeting with a designer. This way the file types you will need can be included in your logo design package upfront.

Bitmap

When talking file types, most can be categorized as either bitmap or vector. A bitmap file, such as a .jpeg or .png relies on pixel size. This means that the logo can only be enlarged so much before it starts to get fuzzy and pixelated looking. I am sure you have seen a logo online or printed that looks very pixelated. This is because the business is using a low resolution .jpeg. When made any bigger than it’s pixel size it looses quality and often times looks bad. Make sure that your logo designer provides you with a high resolution JPEG. Then it can be used on items such as small business cards to large banners.

.JPEG

You have probably heard of a JPEG file, and more than likely you will be receiving a JPEG file with whatever design package you chose. It’s the most widely accepted image format. If your logo has a colored background, a JPEG file will be perfect and can be used for most things you would use it for digitally.

.PNG

If you have a logo that is not square or rectangular A PNG file will more than likely be the file type you will use the most. Unlike a JPEG, a PNG file has a transparent background. This file type comes in handy when placing your logo over a colored background.

Vector

Unlike bitmap files, vector files can be as large or as small as you want and they will not loose their quality. Vector files do not rely on pixels so they can be scaled to any size imaginable and look just as smooth on a skyscraper as they do on a business card. As opposed to pixels, vector files are based on shapes and use mathematical equations to be infinitely scalable. Vector files are editable if opened in a vector editing software, however it is best to let your designer do the editing if future changes are needed. That being said, some designers may not give you the option to include vector files. However, as long as you have high resolution bitmap files you should have everything you will need to get your business started.

We talked about screen printing a little earlier. If you are ever wanting your logo screen printed, a vector file will more than likely be required.

Examples of Vector file types include

  • .AI
  • .EPS
  • .PDF
Graphic showing vector vs. bitmap files.

In Conclusion

The design of your logo should not be taken lightly. It is often someone’s first impression of your business as well as what will last in their mind. Follow the steps discussed in this blog and you will have a logo you are excited to show off in no time!

Posted on 1 Comment

How to Market your Business Online

When did things get so complicated? Back in the good ol’ days business seemed simpler and you did not need to worry about how to market your business online. You didn’t have to worry about your ranking on Google or creating a social media presence to stay competitive. 

Staying relevant in this increasingly difficult world requires a new knowledge base and an entirely different set of strategies.  So next time you ask yourself when things had to get so complicated, know that there is a method to the madness. If done right, you will see that marketing your business online can be the most valuable thing you can do. Here are six essential online marketing tools for your small businesses in Brevard County.

1. E-mail Marketing  

A very important tool that should be utilized by all businesses is e-mail marketing. Email addresses are a guaranteed link to your customers that you can segment and target to communicate. These addresses also cannot be taken from you or closed down easily, the way a Facebook Group or an Instagram Page can be. In the online marketing world, email addresses are the gold standard.

Email marketing is a great way to attract and retain customers with authentic messages about your business, product or service. You can reach your entire email list with a click of a button, unlike social media platforms that are at the mercy of the algorythm.

There are many websites that will provide you with a platform to begin your e-mail marketing plans such as Constant Contact and Mailchimp.

2. Blogging  

Creating a blog for your business allows you to create fresh, high-quality content showcasing your thought, expertise, and leadership in your industry. This is a great way to engage more people in what you do and why it is important.  It can also provide a catalyst for email marketing, social media promotion to drive search traffic to your website.

Some examples of blog content are: 

  • How to do or create something.  
  • Answers to frequently asked questions. 
  • Your portfolio. 
  • Recaps of events or activities. 
  • Industry knowledge and updates. 

3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)  

SEO is the process of optimizing the content you create so that it will be placed where you want it and it is essential to online marketing. It is responsible for ranking your website above all your competitors. It makes you more visible, increasing your traffic, conversion rate and ROI.

SEO can help you:

  • build better relationships with your audience
  • improve the customer experience
  • increase your authority
  • drive more people to your site
  • give you an edge over the competition
  • increase conversions, which means more sales, more loyal customers, and more growth for your business

4. Facebook ADs  

Facebook ad campaigns are a targeted form of advertising that allows you to reach a more specific audience on Facebook and Instagram by selecting them based on key demographics and interests. These ads are not free but when used properly, they can be very beneficial, especially when you have a strong organic reach.

How do I develop Ad Campaigns?

Developing the right types of ads can take time. The process begins by creating your first set of ads and then analyzing the analytics at the start, duration, and completion of your campaign. Analyzing and comparing your results can help tell you what type of posts receive the best responses based on your specific goals. Facebook Split Testing is your best friend when it comes to Facebook ADs and deciding what does and does not work.

5. Social Media

Facebook

Facebook is one of the most used social media platforms to date with 2.6 billion people online every month. This social media platform provides a network for socializing amongst friends, family, or businesses. People use it to share information, and stay connected.

Facebook is one of the most important platforms to use when marketing your business online because it is usually the first place people search. They will be able to read a profile of information about your business, view photos, videos, and observe your conversations and interactions with others. You are showcasing your personality and experiences to potential clients and customers in a tangible and authentic way.

Instagram

There are over 1 billion people using Instagram every month. According to a Facebook survey by being on Instagram, brands can make a positive impression on potential shoppers. People surveyed say they perceive brands on Instagram as popular (78%), creative (77%), entertaining (76%), relevant (74%) and committed to building community (72%).

Instagram has quickly become one of the most influential platforms for ideas, styles, businesses, and individuals used today. It is also a well know discovery engine for brands with over 80% of users discovering new products and businesses on the platform.

LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is a valuable tool to network within your industry and build credibility by showcase your expertise. It is known as a social network for recruiting and hiring. In addition, it is a great tool for keeping up to date with industry news and learning new business strategies.

YouTube 

Youtube can be an excellent place to communicate with your target audience by showcasing your expertise. Make an informative video for something that can educate your audience on what you do or why you are the best. You can do this with a tutorial or “how-to” video, or film a demonstration for your product that highlights all of its features and benefits.

For example, a restaurant may show a video of how to create a favorite dish, or feature a virtual tour through their restaurant so viewers can experience the atmosphere. This can make your audience feel more connected with you and be more likely to eat at your restaurant.   

6. Collaborations:

With Other Accounts

On Social Media, you can identify other well run accounts that have a similar following to your targeted followers and collaborate with them. Chances are that their followers are your followers and you can grow off each other. A collaboration should always benefit both parties involved.

For example, a photographer may want to collaborate with a wedding caterer because they are not in competition with each other and they are also targeting the same audience, brides. When followers view posts from the accounts they are following they are introduced to the accounts they partner with.

With Influencers  

Influencers can be great for collaborations too, especially influencers who blog about your industry and have the analytics to back it up. Validated influencers can be invaluable to getting the word out about your brand or business. There are two main types of influencers: micro-influencers and macro-influencers.

When marketing your business online do not analyze vanity metrics when deciding to work with an influencer such as follower counts and likes.  Instead ask for a copy of their analytics.  This will give you measurable proof of their followers demographics, Reach and Engagement.  This is how you ensure their followers are your target audience.

Micro-Influencers vs. Macro-Influencers

Micro-influencers are influencers with 1K-100K followers. Macro-influencers have a following of over 100K followers.

Micro-influencers have less of a reach than macro-influencers but a higher engagement rate and are more affordable. Micro-influencers are more trustworthy to consumers because they are more relatable than macro-influencers that have a celebrity appeal.

For example, a local school will generate more valuable engagement with a local mom blogger than a celebrity. The mom blogger is more impactful because they are apart of the community they are speaking to.

We hope that you found these six online marketing options helpful for your small business. If we can help you with any of your marketing needs please contact us below, or give us a call directly at (321) 301-7143.