It wasn’t that long ago, anyone looking for personalised design merchandise like tshirts or mugs had pretty much one choice. They would go to the local sporting goods store, pick out the puffy white iron-on letters that spell whatever you want to say, and have the letters ironed on one letter at a time, one shirt at a time. Not anymore.
Today, anybody with a computer and an internet connection can create any design they like and have that design printed in all it’s multi-coloured glory on anything from tshirts to water bottles to license plate frames.
How an On-Demand & Custom Printing Service Works?
In easy words; custom printing is simple.
You find the right tshirt, mug, phone case or hoodie, customise it and buy that item. To elaborate on this, you locate the item you want; you hit the customise button, write the words you want, in whichever colour you deem fit, add a symbol, picture or twist the words around to a certain degree to give a slanted effect and save it. You are presented with a price, if you are happy with your order, you simply pay and wait for it to arrive by post. Some custom printing items like special merch of tshirts, hoodies, sweats, shopping bags, mugs, pouches etc. also give you the option of printing on the back side as well, so you can add your personal touch to the back as well.
Without further delay here are some of the best custom printing services or on demand printing services out there. These services let you choose the size, base colour and material of your item as well, so you have a good quality base to start with which you can then personalise to your heart’s content.
Custom Printing Services
So which are the best custom printing service websites? Let’s find out.
The best known platform for custom printing services out there, and for a good reason, is CafePress; a one stop shop for personalisation of just about any kind. They cater to tshirts, mugs, shopping bags, iPhone cases, stationary, baby and accessories, etc. Prices start from $15, of course, this depends on the item and the type of print you want customised and go up from there. The list of printable merch items is ridiculous, and there are discounts for bulk ordering. The process could not be easier. Select the item you want to personalise, use their handy Online Design Tool to create whatever your heart desires. From customised Movies and TV show tshirt prints to campaign awareness, they cover nearly everything. Most impressive, the CafePress FAQ claims that most items will be shipped within 24 hours of purchase! CafePress also does regular promotions from free shipping to discounts. So keep checking.
A sound & cheaper alternative to CafePress is Zazzle. Another very good customisable tshirt printing service. Though the list of customizable items seems to be slightly smaller compared to CafePress, there is a limit to just how much you need to print on anyways, right? Additionally, the design tool for Zazzle seems a little more geared towards people who have already created their images and want to upload them for printing. The flip side to this, though, is that their prices are considerably lower on similar items. While a single, printed white tshirt on CafePress is close to $30, that same option on Zazzle starts at $14.95 and goes up from there, depending on the quality of shirt you desire. Zazzle also offers the same 24-hour turnaround on most items. They also seem to have a good return policy which they advertise in their footer of every page. It appears that, at this time, there are promos for 15% off your order when you join the Zazzle mailing list as well as other promos splashed on various pages throughout the site.
This is less custom printing service and more a place to buy unique merch designs and geeky art on your chosen shirts & accessories. Threadless is based on the unique artwork submitted by designers & artists from around the world, which is scored by the community & the winning designs are printed. The artists are paid royalties and win some cash prizes. So why choose to buy from here than say your local store? Firstly, the designs here cannot be found in your mall or retail outlet, also, if you’re the sort who enjoys having a matching wall art, phone cases and matching shirts for kids then this is where you go. Threadless is slightly pricey with shirts starting at $25. However, they make up for it in ready made unique custom designs that are pure joy to look at.
Spring (Previously Teespring)
Spring is a unique crowdfunding service for custom tshirt prints & designs. Here you don’t just create a design for personal use but allow other people to buy as well. Currently restricted to Tshirts, Hoodies, some accessories like mugs, masks, phone cases and pouches only, it presents an incredibly simple and straight forward way to not just create your design but be profitable as well. With Spring, (formerly Teespring) you only print when the campaign reaches a point where its profitable and there are buyers. Setting up a print campaign is easier than many other options here. In fact, everyone should use Teespring if they are running a campaign to raise money or awareness for a cause.
What we particularly liked about Spring was how each base shirt was described as budget friendly, top of the line & premium materials with a base cost for bulk quantities. To use Spring, you simply, choose your type of Tshirt, hoody, sweats or tank top; add a custom message + or design, add colour and then set your sale price. Spring calculates your estimated profit and lets your choose additional materials for the same campaign. Once, you’re happy with your design, you simply describe your campaign and Spring will do the rest.
Spreadshirt is like Spring i.e. you can sell your designs directly and earn a commission every time you make a sale. Alternately you can setup your shop and earn from selling your designs + creations directly. You can also choose from the numerous designs and shops already in the Spreadshirt marketplace. And finally, you can create your custom tshirt or accessory in any size & colour with your text & artwork. Spreadshirt is possibly the largest regarding the presence and is available in over 19 countries. There is an excellent return policy if you aren’t 100% satisfied. Their payment methods include PayPal, Credit Card and Check/money order.
This on-demand printing service lets you create designs on any number of shirts, garments and athletic wear. The true beauty of the system lies in bulk ordering which makes it the one-stop shop for those who wish to order for teams, groups & events. They have some of the largest collections of online fonts, designs & clip art graphics. Their online editing tools, called the lab, allow you to not just add the colours to your designs but also create styles like Word Art. What’s more, if you have your design, you can easily upload and add it in. For team prints, you can add names and numbers to a list and specify the size for each clothing item.
Custom Ink goes beyond product creation as offered by others on this list; they have a dedicated team who will review your design & order and get back to you with any questions or concerns, so no matter how complicated your group design is, you can be assured that the custom print will be top notch. They even send you a free sample if the design merits to get your approval before it goes into production! This service is currently limited to US and Canada only.
Do you know about any other excellent on-demand printing service that has never disappointed you? Mention it in the comments below, and we might just review it!
Printful is an incredibly customisable on-demand printing service, offering 249 different items to be customised, each one offering a multitude of base colours and multiple different parts to which you can add a design or pattern. The basic Tshirt offers 47 base colours, (of which 38 are currently in stock worldwide), the option to print, which allows you to customise the front, back, left sleeve, right sleeve, outside label and inside label with your own pattern and designs using text, clipart, files, images, premium images or one of their ‘Quick designs’ which are a wide range of clipart images that relate to motivation, seasons and events, friendship, the environment, pets, parties & fun, school, sports, gaming, and kids designs. You get the same design options if you choose to have the shirt embroidered, which gives you the option to customise the left or centre chest. A printed Tshirt starts at $13 and a embroidered one starts at $15. They ship worldwide, excluding a short list of countries, Cuba, Iran, Crimea, Syria, and North Korea.
While all of this sounds great, Printful often have incredibly long shipping times, much longer than they claim. Although this is the case with lots of businesses that are struggling in the current pandemic, if you need something within a set time it might be best to try a different option. Printful also offers to let you sell designs through their site, although you only keep a very small amount of the profit. Their print quality is also not as high as other services on this list, which makes them overall a mediocre service.
Printful is an option to consider if you need a highly customised item for a relatively low price, provided that the quality of the printing isn’t necessarily a priority. However, there are very few complaints about the embroiders they offer, so if you were in need of a relatively cheap option for a shirt with a custom embroidered logo, this is definitely an option to consider.
Rush Order Tees
Rush Order Tees is probably your best option for fast delivery, high quality customised clothing. Their Tshirts start at around $25 for a custom design on the front. Their Tshirts and printing are both high quality, and if you’re not happy with your order then you can contact their customer service to send you a free replacement. Rush Order Tees is probably one of the most reliable sites on this list, for delivery time and for quality, even if it’s at a slightly higher price. They aren’t lacking in customisation options either, as their products range from 19 to 26 base colours and you can place designs anywhere on the front, back, or sleeves. However, they only ship to the US, Canada, Hawaii and Alaska at the time being.
Rush Order Tees is your best option if you need high quality custom clothing very quickly and don’t mind paying a little bit more. Although, if you want it for a team or an organisation, or just want multiple copies yourself, there are discounts for buying in bulk.
Uber Prints has very similar customisation options to Rush order tees, and equally reliable customer service. The quality isn’t quite as high, but the delivery time is around the same for small orders and a standard Tshirt starts at only $15, and if you need them in large quantities that price can be cut in half. They offer digital printing and screen printing, with screen printing only available for orders of 12 items or more. They offer 22 colours for digital printing and 56 for screen printing. You also get a wide choice of different T-Shirts to choose from, with varying quality and price, so you can choose what’s best for your needs.
Uber prints is definitely a good option for bulk orders of custom clothing for teams or groups, and can be a great budget option for custom gifts. However, they currently only ship to the Continental USA, Alaska, and Hawaii.
So how many custom printing platforms did we miss? Hit the comments and tell us about the ones you like to use and why.