The Definitive Guide to T-Shirt Design and Manufacturing | Jeff Staple | Skillshare

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The Definitive Guide to T-Shirt Design and Manufacturing

teacher avatar Jeff Staple, Founder, Staple Design

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to Class


    • 2.

      T-Shirt Design Contest- ENTRIES DUE 12/18/15


    • 3.

      Your Assignment - Make a T-Shirt


    • 4.

      Power of the "Tee"


    • 5.

      Production Processes


    • 6.

      Types of Shirts


    • 7.

      T-Shirt Manufacturing


    • 8.



    • 9.



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About This Class

Between his global streetwear brand Staple Design and renowned retail store Reed Space, jeffstaple has designed and sorted through thousands of t-shirts over the past two decades.

In this class, he celebrates the power of the "tee" by providing insights on how to concept, design, and manufacture a shirt that can form the foundation of your business. 

This class is perfect for aspiring fashion entrepreneurs, designers, and everyone looking to spread a message in one of the most effective ways: a t-shirt. Learn everything you need to know about the types of tees available and what to expect when you dive in to making them.

As an added bonus, students who submit their actual t-shirt creations in the class have the opportunity to get purchased and placed in jeff's store, Reed Space. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Jeff Staple

Founder, Staple Design



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1. Welcome to Class: What's up? This is Jeff Staple, I'm the founder and creative director of Staple Design in Reed Space and this is my new Skillshare class. Hopefully, you've taken some of the other Skillshare classes that I've done. I took you through how to develop a brand and a creative company of your own. I've also taken you through how to do selling and marketing of that brand. But now, we're going to talk about the basic humble T-shirt and how to create a T-shirt. So, in the 18-year history that I've had my company now, we've developed and designed so many different things, from a clothing line obviously, to sneakers, to cameras, to parties, to retail stores. But, what I think is so cool, is that all of it started with these two hands, silk screening a T-shirt. That's how this entire global business/empire was started with the humble T-shirt in Parsons School of Design, in a silkscreen lab, using a $10 blank T-shirt that I bought on 14th Street, with inks that I bought on an art supply store. So, if I could do it, anybody can do it. So, in this class, I'm going to teach you how to make a T-shirt and it might seem simple. But, in actuality, there's so many different types of Ts. I'm going to try to take you through as many different styles and designs as possible. I'm also going to go into a little bit of the collaterals that go into making a T-shirt, as well as some of the different techniques that you can use and some of the pros and cons of each one. By the end of this class, you're going to have the know-how and the knowledge, and the tips, and the tools to be able to make a T-shirt. That's exactly what I want you to do after this class. I want you to make a T-shirt. That's the best way to make a great shirt is to start and just try to make a shirt. If you have the accessibility to have a silkscreener to make a shirt, by all means do it. If you can't and if you've got a Sharpie and a blank Haynes T-shirt, you can make a T-shirt too. 2. T-Shirt Design Contest- ENTRIES DUE 12/18/15: So, at the end of the class, after you guys submit all your t-shirt designs, I'm going to review all the shirts and I'm going to pick my favorites. I'm going to contact you and see if you want to sell it to my store read space in the Lower East Side of New York City. 3. Your Assignment - Make a T-Shirt: So, students in this class will be designing a t-shirt of their own. You can design it in any way you want and you can make it in any way you want as well. If you want to go to a silk screener and get it actually professionally made, you could definitely do that. But you can also just take a marker and mark up a blank t-shirt too, if that's the way you want to create your shirt. So, it can be done in any way. You could tie dye it. You could do it in any different way you want. Essentially, when a great t-shirt is really two things done well. One is concept and the other one is execution. It's pretty much everything in life actually. But in a t-shirt, have a great concept. So, have a great story. This is before you even start doing anything with the t-shirt. This all happens in your mind and in a sketchbook. You just have an idea that you want to get across. You have, whether it's just promoting your brand or something more high-brow conceptual, political, it could be any message that you want to set across, have that message baked in your head. Then, the execution part is thinking about how to best transcribe that message into a wearable garment. Sometimes a message can be conveyed best when the execution is actually dirty, or raw, or rough. The way the execution is handled is oftentimes influenced by what the message behind your concept is. So, execution is really key. The other thing that you have to think about is wearability. So, that goes into execution as well. It doesn't matter how cool your concept is and how great your execution is if you've made a t-shirt that nobody wants to wear, because you've then inherently robbed the power of the t-shirt. You've made a t-shirt that's awesome and cool, but sits in someone's drawer because it's unwearable. The great thing about a t-shirt is having it out there on the streets where multiple people see it. Hopefully, thousands of people are wearing it and your message is spreading like wildfire. So, have the concept, have the execution, but then think about will people where this damn thing. That's really, to me, what a great t-shirt is in compass, those three things. 4. Power of the "Tee": There's so many great creators, designers, and artists out there. A lot of them like me back in the day, didn't have the means to have a gallery show or an exhibition, or start out with a runway show, or put out a full page ad in the magazine. So, the only way we were able to really express our ideas was through very simplistic mediums, stickering campaign is great or are we pasting. But it's all sort of very legal in a way. When the T-shirt came about as this medium of being able to express our ideas, it was so cool because it was like graffiti where you can get it on a lot of different surfaces. But it was legal and not only was it legal, but it might actually be profitable, like you could actually make money doing this. So, here's a way that you can express your renegade thoughts and ideas, and do it in a fairly cheap accessible manner that anyone can get access to, and be able to actually make money off of it. So, many of my contemporaries in this industry now, these great brands that people love and that make up street culture or fashion, men's wear, whatever you want to call it. A lot of them started out just hand printing T-shirts. So, it's really a great way for an artist and a designer who has great vision who has great ideas, to be able to show the world, look at what I'm representing, look at what I'm talking about, using a $20 T-shirt or even like a $10 T-shirt, it's really quite a powerful medium. When I started the T-shirts in 1997 in the mid 90s, people weren't thinking so progressively about the T-shirt graphics. A lot of the T-shirt graphics were mainly things to promote their brand. So, it would be a shirt with a big logo on it, right? Like a big Nike logo or a big Adidas logo, or whatever it was. T-shirts were promotional materials, that's really how the T-shirts got to be a big business. Large companies would be like we're doing a function, we're doing an event, and we need a way to promote our name. Let's print our logo really big on a shirt and just give them out for free because it's so cheap. Then, what street art just started to do in the 80s and early 90s, was they took corporate logos and they started to flip them and do remixes on very corporate logos. To me it was really awesome, am sure it to the corporations it wasn't awesome. But, it was such a renegade way of saying Fsociety, F the system, we're going to do it in our own way, this is how we see things. The cool thing about a shirt is that you can make so little that the big company couldn't really do anything about it, because it was like little roaches everywhere. So, they couldn't really stomp all of them out. People like me were so infatuated by that. We were like collecting all of these quasi bootleg logo flipped T-shirts. So that, I think, was really the start of people expressing themselves using T-shirts as a medium. One of the first shirts that caught my eye was from this artist named Russ, who had a brand which was his name backwards called Ssur, S-S-U-R. That brand still exists today and it does really, really well today. But back then, he was manning this Booth and he made these shirts. He made one shirt that was the McDonald's logo, but then it said marijuana in it. Then, he made another shirt that was the Nike swoosh but it was a marijuana joint, and that the smoke made the swoosh logo. When I saw those, I was like, damn that was so awesome. I had to buy them and hook them up with my baggy UFO pants at the time. But those were such memorable shirts to me, and it's awesome to see that someone like Russ was able to build multiple stores, international business, and a global empire off of those shirts back in the day. Trend and T-shirts go hand in hand, and some people think that where fashion goes T-shirts go, but I actually think it's the other way around. I think, where T-shirts go fashion ends up going. That's how powerful I think the T-shirt is. Because again, it goes back to the idea that the only way fashion survives, is if it survives on the streets, right? People walking around the streets have to wear the clothes in order for any brand to survive. I don't care how innovative or high end couture you are, you can't survive on the runway alone. So, if that's the case, if it's the streets that dictates if a brand lives or dies, then it's the people who are living their lives on the streets and walking around on the streets every day, that have the ability to make these T-shirts. They're the ones that are really voicing their opinion with the tees. If you think about a T-shirt, they are almost like a ballot of a vote, like it's a casted vote saying this is what I want to be wearing, this is the trend that I'm going through my everyday life. So, maybe it's all about black, like, I'm going to wear all black Ts, really dark. I think, the streets then permeate that, you see a lot of black shirts in the streets. Then, I think, the stylist, the designers, and the editors, start seeing that too and they're like, "Man, maybe we should make our collection darker." Then, all of a sudden, one season someone's wearing neon pink, neon yellow, neon green, voell, and everyone's all bright and fluorescent, and then I think the designers see that and then start designing that into their collection. So, I really think it permeates and starts with a T-shirt. The other reason why I think the T-shirt is so powerful, because of the feeling that it honestly gives me. I've been designing T-shirts for 18 years now. To this day, every time I see somebody on the street wearing a staple shirt, I get goosebumps and I get giddy, the feeling never gets old. That's whether you've hand silkscreen the shirt yourself, or if you've got a factory making thousands of shirts for you in China. The fact that it came out of your brain and then it got transferred onto a piece of cotton, and now some bloke that you have no idea who this person is, he took his hard earned money and bought your idea, your seed of an idea. He paid money for that on a T-shirt, and now you're crossing paths and it's like, wow, I don't even know who that dude is and he plunked down 36 bucks with his idea that came out of my head that's now in a T-shirt. That just never gets old for me. That is so powerful when I see somebody that I don't know wearing a staple T-shirt. I really want, I mean, the greatest reward for this assignment is I want you to be able to design a shirt and show your homies and your family members who are going to wear it. It's going to be cool that they all rocket. But one day, if you design a good T-shirt, someone you don't know is going to just walk down the street with a T-shirt you designed, and I guarantee you you'll be hooked for life. 5. Production Processes : So, we've gone over a little bit about why t-shirts exists, why I love t-shirts, and the power of the t, now let's talk about how the damn ink gets on the actual cotton shirt. Let's talk about how these things are made, let's talk about process a little bit. So, everyone wants to own great t-shirts, everyone wants to make great t-shirts, but how do you even begin doing it? I think, obviously, in this day and age, you can Google it, or have somebody do it for you, you can take care of it, and farm it out. But I think better designers and great designers, what I've found is that, they actually understand how it happens from a mechanical level. So, I'm going to talk through that with you. The first way and the most popular way, the most utilitarian ways obviously, silk screening. This is essentially a silk screen. You've got a wood frame with what is called the silk part of the silk screen in the middle stretched out. So, it's like a canvas. Before the design is actually on it, this whole thing is clean. Okay. So, you've got your design on paper, you would probably then bring the paper sketch design into a digital form using Adobe illustrator, or Adobe Photoshop, and then you get a film made out of that artwork. So, you can take the piece of art that you've made, like this that I've made, and you could bring it to a place and they'll make a film. So, film is essentially a clear cell with your artwork in black on that clear cell. What they do is, they put this coding, and it's called the motion. It's like this goop, that goes all over this thing, and then you put your film on it, and then they shoot the screen with a really bright light. Depending on the screen, depending on the type of artwork, the bright light just bakes. Essentially, bakes the art into the motion. When they then spray off all of the motion, they washed the entire screen off, and they clean it all off. What will be left is, your artwork will literally be burned into this screen. This is the negative space. So, everything that wasn't artwork, this is all covered. Essentially, this is like a stencil, if you can imagine, and this is see-through. Now, when you've laid this down onto a surface like a piece of cotton, you put your silk screening over here, and then they have what's called the squeegee. Squeegee is essentially like a hard a piece of rubber with a wooden handle. So, in fact, this would probably actually work as a squeegee. So, you just put a dollop of ink there, you put it down where you want it on the on the shirt, or the fabric, and then you basically, once you do this, the ink will stop where it's blue, and where it's clear, the ink goes through and sits down on the t-shirt. Then you lift this up, and you have to actually flood it again. So you do this, and then you push it like that so you get a second hit and then you lift it up, and then the design will appear on the shirt. That's basically, how you get the design onto the cotton. Now, after its onto the cotton, you have to bake the ink into the cotton. If you don't do that, the first wash, you have a blank shirt again. So, what happens after that, is they run it through a dryer. They basically take the shirt lay it down on this flat dryer, and then it goes through like what you see at burger King, where burgers get made. The shirt goes to a drier for a couple of minutes, and then when it comes out, it's baked in. That's really why I think silk screening shirts have stood the test of time. It's also important to note that for each color of your design, you need one of these screens. So, one color per screen. So, if you have a piece of artwork that's got seven different colors on it, you need seven of these in order to make that. In fact, if you're doing a photo print, photo prints are often made up of four colors. So, it gets pretty technical but CMYK, which is Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and K is for black. Those four colors cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, can make all colors in the visible spectrum. Mind-blowing. But so, if you want a photo print, where a photo of a sky, or a sunset it's got like millions of different colors, CMYK can pretty much create all of those visible colors. So, what you'll get is, you'll do the same thing that I said with the film and shooting films, but what they would do is, someone who's more of an expert, would be able to take that photo file, that photograph, and be able to separate. It's called a color separation. They would separate out that photograph into the cyan, the magenta, the yellow, and the black films, and then you would see a CMYK version of that in your silk train as well. Then again, when they go down to, they would take this, and then they would do the cyan. Then put the magenta, and you have to blind it up perfectly, I mean, super perfect. If it's not perfect, but starts to look like a 3D photo where like it tries to be 3D, then you do the magenta, then you move that, and then you do the yellow, and then you move that and, then you do the black, and then boom, you've got a photo print. So, there's a couple of other different processes that I'll show you too. There is the humble airbrush. Airbrushing is great because it's like the kissing cousin of graffiti and spray paint. A lot of graffiti artists who are used to using spray cans, love airbrush because it's the same technique, but you can get it on a shirt and get it the standard shirts. So, this was really popular like in the 80's, and 90's. From a trend standpoint, it's not so popular now. It also doesn't hold up to time very well. So there's no way to really bake this in. It's almost like a piece of artwork on cotton if you will. A very popular way is heat transfers. So heat transfers, you might remember this, it's very similar to how you put a patch onto a pair of jeans. It's essentially artwork with glue on the back, and then you heat it with some sort of a heater or even an iron to be honest. The glue melts onto the shirt, and then your design is sitting on the garments. So, this is an example of a staple pigeon shirt that's been transferred, heat transferred. So, heat transfers are great. The pros of heat transfer are the minimums are super low. You can make one at a time, whereas on silk screening, it doesn't really benefit to make one silkscreen shirt at a time. In general, you really have to make around 70 minimum for silk screening to be cost effective, because there's an upfront charge in shooting the screen. So, to make the screen, it might costs 100 bucks, or 200 bucks depending on where you go. So, it doesn't make sense to make $100 screen to make one t-shirt. With heat transfer, because each of these things are made individually, you can make one t-shirt at a time with heat transfer. The downfall of heat transfer is, if you want to make a 100 shirts, or 1,000 shirts, it doesn't get any cheaper because you can't really automate the heat transfer process. It's still, someone has to place this down and figure it out, and then someone has to wait until it melts and then put it up. So, it's a very laborious way. It also doesn't hold up nearly as well in washings. You could see even this shirt if you get details on this, you can see it's starting to crack a little bit, which is just inherently characteristic of a heat transfer shirt. The reason why we did it just, so I can clarify, why we did a heat transfer shirt, is because this is done using 3M reflective. So, if I take a flash picture of this, it's completely reflective. So, reflective is really good for heat transfer. Another process that's been very popular recently, is called sublimation, dye sublimation. Allover print shirts have become very popular recently. You can actually silkscreen an allover print shirt. The way that works is, you have a massive silk screen, and you put the whole entire shirt down, sleeves and all, neckline and all, and you just print the whole damn thing. The problem that happens is, where you've got stich points on the shirt, like where the sleeve attaches, the ink bubbles, and you get like ripples in the ink it's not a smooth press. So, the way around that, is this process called dye sublimation, which means that this print, this photograph, is printed on the shirt before the shirt is made. It's printed as rolls, and they could get this really great photographic quality on it using dye sublimation. But with sublimation, you can't do 100 percent cotton sublimated shirts. There has to be some polyester in it, in order for the sublimation to catch, for the image to catch. So, you could do like an 80-20 cotton poly shirt, 50-50 cotton poly shirt. Some people prefer that their shirts be 100 percent cotton, there's like a feel for that obviously. Some people are cool with polyester-cotton shirts. The polyester-cotton shirt has this, I dare say, pantyhose effect to it, it's a little bit stretchy, it sort of drapes on you more, almost like under armour workout shirt, or something like that. So, some people don't like that, and some people are totally cool with it. But if you want this effect where you get the entire photograph on a shirt with no bumps in the ink, no variations, sublimation is the only way to do it. The other process now that's becoming super popular, is called DTG. It stands for Direct To Garment. Direct to garment, the easiest way to explain this is, if you've ever had an inkjet printer at home, directed garment is inkjet printing on a cotton t-shirt. So, they've developed inks that runs just like an inkjet printer. You hook it up to a computer, you've got your file, whatever you want, and you literally hit Command P print, you put your shirt in and it prints one at a time. So, pros and cons of direct to garment, are very much similar to heat transfer. If you're doing really low quantities, it's really good, you could get one t-shirt made for 20 bucks. But the more you do, it doesn't matter, it doesn't get any cheaper, it continues to be the same price. So, it's not cost effective if you're doing high volume, but the quality is actually much better than heat transfer. So, most people can't even discern the difference between direct to garment and silkscreen shirts. So, that's the advantage of going DTG. Quite honestly a lot of upstart brands now are using DTG because there's very little investment, they could try to make 12 shirts for their home use, and it might cause 20 bucks a shirt, which is expensive. A silk screened shirt might only cost you like 5 or $6. A director to garment may cost you 15 to $20 each, but you can make only 12 and you could just see what people react to those first 12 shirts without a huge investment. So, direct to garments getting really popular for that. The other way which is little less popular is embroidery, and I'm wearing an embroider t-shirt right now. So, this pigeon has been stitched onto this shirt with an embroidery machine. Embroidery is, I would call it fancy. I don't think many people have entire t-shirt lines based on embroidered shirts because it's really expensive. Also the back of embroidered shirts you could feel the threading on it, and because t-shirts are typically worn right up against your skin, you don't want to necessarily feel that stitching and that threading all over on your body. So, that's why even on this shirt, I did it on the pocket, so that you wouldn't feel the stitching. Embroidery is definitely a nice way to do little details on t-shirts. So now, let's go into some of the different t-shirts. 6. Types of Shirts: So, we've gone over different types of processes of manufacturing and making t -shirts, different ways that you can get your vision onto an actual piece of cotton. Now, we're going to talk about different types of t-shirts from a more conceptual, creative standpoint. So, probably the first and most powerful one, and the one that I said really started it off was the logo t-shirt. Our logo is the pigeon, hands down the most popular and best selling shirt we've ever done of all time is the big pigeon on a shirt. And honestly, as a designer, it pains me as a creative to constantly keep doing pigeon shirts, but they just keep selling, so I have to keep doing them. I think, if you look at any brand, like Ralph Lauren with the polo horse or Nike with the swoosh, Nike has been around for 35 years, how do they keep selling swoosh t-shirts? I don't know, but people keep buying them and people keep buying these pigeon shirts. So, we try to keep doing pigeon shirts, but we also try to flip them in different ways. So, this is a collaboration we did with ICNY, where it's a reflective pigeon shirt. And then, now we start filling pigeons and doing different effects with pigeons as well. So, this is a logo pigeon shirt. It's still a logo shirt, but now we've done this origami design with $100 bill. This was also really popular. So, I could have folded up this $100 bill in any way I wanted, but the fact that we made it so that Benjamin's eye was the pigeons eye, that's some nerd shit right there. See, it's shit like that, that when I see someone else do stuff like that, I'm like, "That's care. He cares." And again, a logo shirt, it's just a great way to get your brand across man. Your logo is your flag. It's the flag for your brand, and there's nothing wrong with flying the flag of your brand around all the time in as many different ways as you possibly can. I know a lot of super artistic creative people are like, "Fuck logo shirts man. They don't mean anything. It's all about telling a concept and telling a deeper meaning." And that's true, but you know what? A lot of the general public, they just want to be down with the brand. They just want to be represented. Next stop, we'll go in the photo tees. Photo tees is exactly what it sounds like. It is a photograph on a shirt, and this is a photo tee that we did. Photo tees are cool. Pluses and minuses of a photo tee are when you silkscreen a photo tee, you kind of have this huge crest on you; and it actually, you can feel it on you, literally. So, I am personally not a massive fan of photo tees, but sometimes there is no better way to get the message across than to just put the darn photo on a shirt. Another type of tee is the type tee. The type tee is one of my favorite types of t-shirts. Type tee, meaning you use typography to express your idea, words, fonts, typefaces, and these are some of the easiest to do also. I think that's why I love them so much because they're the most utilitarian. Who doesn't have Microsoft Word? If you have Microsoft Word, you can make a type tee. And type t-shirts are some of the most powerful t-shirts of all time. They really stand the test of time because it's just a statement on your body. It's one of the most the strongest statements you could make is with a word. The negative of a type tee, if there is a negative, is that people will be reading your chest all the time. They'll be looking like, "What does it say on your che- oh, okay." It's a conversation starter, but some people don't want that, some people want to be a little bit more subtle and not so obvious. So, I'm going to show you some of my favorite type tees. This is a old Staple classic type tee. Basically, all vernacular forms of the word money and cash done just super straight up. When I was thinking about this design, I definitely wanted to do a design based on money. The power of money, the power of cash, right? Maybe shows it globally as well, so all the different slang, vernaculars that people have all over the world and all over the country for money. So, that's why we did it like this. And then, when I was thinking about how to execute on it, there's a million and one ways you could executed this concept, but I thought, "Let me just type it out in a nice typeface, spaced out with commas and almost like a paragraph to see how it looks." And I was like, "Man, that's pretty powerful. That really says it, like succinctly." I could have done some graphic photograph, but then it would have taken an extra step for the viewer to understand the idea. I just wanted to be as obvious as possible and this was great for that. And then, in order to brand it, again, flying that flag of your brand, you want people to know it's a staple shirt, right? Because, so if I didn't have this, it's still a great t-shirt, but now it's a great t-shirt that nobody knows who made it. When I added this, now, it's a branded shirt, right? So, I put Staple NYC there, and then sort of at the 11th hour, I was like, "Wait a second, it's a money shirt stapled dollar sign, NYC with the cent sign." And that's just a nice little bonus cherry on top of the design. When you have your concept baked super good and then you go into the execution, shit like this happens much easier. Stuff like that, like that stroke of beauty, it just rolls off because you've got your concept so well baked. This stuff just happens. And those are the pleasant surprises that maybe the buyer of this shirt who first bought it was like, "Yo, I love this shirt because it has all the money words." But then maybe after the third time he wore it he's like, "Oh wait, the NYC has a cent sign and S is a dollar sign. It's awesome." So, we love those sort of hidden surprises too. Here are some other type tees. Type tees inherently end up being a little bit conceptual at the same time because there's only so many times you can write the name of your brand on a shirt using a font, in my opinion. So, inevitably, type tees end up being quite conceptual, like this one where we did this sort of collegiate style shirt, but then it says, "Academically ineligible." Which is a sort of a reverse mockery of the educational system. So, academically ineligible but still constantly learning. If you're not a great photographer, if you're not a great graphic designer, but you're more of a great illustrator, this is an example of an illustrated shirt. So, definitely, get your comic illustrations, your styles, your characters. Kidrobot is a great example of a illustrative shirt company. So, there's definitely a place for you if you are a great illustrator on t-shirts. The next one is the all over print shirt. So, all over print shirts had their heyday at one point when they first came out, kind of like in the late mid 2000's. All over print shirts were all the rage, and they sort of died down recently, but I feel now they haven't hit rock bottom, they've hit a lower more steady plateau where people can now do them every once in a while; but all over print shirts are obviously a massive statement because you're wearing this thing that's covering every square inch of your shirt. So, this is an all over print shirt that we did recently to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Nike pigeon dunk release. We took the cover of The New York Post which had the pigeon dunk on it and it said "Sneaker Riot" really big on it in sneaker frenzy, and we did a collage and we just did this all over print on it. Here's another all over print shirt, which I think is a nice, more timeless subtle way of doing an all over print t-shirt. So, all of these dots are 3M reflective. So, basically, if a car headlight hits your shirt, you've like a big glowing polka dot, basically, but it's good. The ICNY's thing is all about safety wear. So, this is a nice- another example of how you can do all over print shirt but not loud. It doesn't always have to be loud and very obvious. It could be subtle as well with all over print. Okay, so those are some of the different types of print t-shirt you could do. The other style that I wanted to go over a little bit is the cut and sew t-shirt. So, all of these shirts that I just showed you, you can pretty much do by buying a blank t-shirt at your local 99 cent store and printing on it after the fact. Cut and sew t-shirt, what that means is that the fabric is cut and then sewn into a t-shirt at your request. So, it's totally custom from the ground up, and you have to go to a separate manufacturing factory to do cut and sew, but I wanted to show you some of these as well. So, this is one of my favorite staple cut and sew shirt. So, what I'm talking about here with cut and sew is, as you can see the front is a pocket tee and then the back has a completely different pattern going on in the backside. So, the pocket detail is two pieces of fabric: the red and the navy sewn down on the chest, and then the pocket is sewn down on that, and then another piece of canvas to support the button is sewn down on that, and then the button is sewn to that and then the button has a Staple logo on it as well. I just basically went ham on this pocket tee. And then, with the sleeves as well, this pattern matches this pattern, so if you want you could roll up the sleeves like that and rock it like that too. Cut and sew tees are definitely like a black belt level of t-shirt making, but I just wanted to show that to you to give you some insight. Here's another one of my favorite cut and sew tees that's much simpler. This is actually a Chinese brand called NCS. So, there's a lot of great details going on on this as well. They've got a pocket tee with beading on it. This whole shirt's concept is all about the beading. So, again, you're not going to get beading done at a typical silk screen shop, you have to go to a real hands on cut and sew factory in order to do this. The other cool aspect about doing cut and sew shirt is that you actually get to customize the fit of the shirt, whether you want to do a tight fit, or a baggy fit, or a long fit. Here are two shirts, they both are the same size, right? They're both medium shirts, but let's look at do the width, you can see the difference, it's almost like a three inch difference in the width, in the same size shirt; and that's because I'm an American brand and I have to deal with fat American people, and this is a Chinese brand and they're all skinny Chinese people. So, their medium is much different than our medium, but it's just what you want to cater to. 7. T-Shirt Manufacturing: Up until now, we've gone into different methods of making shirts, how you get the graphic onto the shirt. We've gone into conceptual thinking, and thinking about different styles and graphics of shirts, and how you can do that. Now we're going to go into, how shirts actually get made. Really more of the production process, and down into the real nitty-gritty of how these things get done. I'm going to exhibit it using these three pigeon shirts that I've selected where, two of these won't make it, and only one of them will make it. In my head, I have different themes that I go on. One of the themes that I had was a nature, outdoor, hiking theme. The other theme I had was a pop art theme, and then the other theme that I had going was a floral design theme. This nature hiking one, has, again, this like tribalist pattern going on in it. As you can see on the bottom, we did this, it's called a "Peaking " actually, where it's actually mountain peaks but it looks like it's a running stitch. It's actually all silk screen. Again, for this one, we're talking about, a four color print here, and then we're talking about, a separate one color screen. This needs it's own screen separate from this because of how far away the placement is. Then we had to go and do the pop art option. Again, these are first samples, so they're not really up to quality that we want but it's just to give the buyers, and the marketing, and the sales people an idea. This one has a very pop art inspired fill on the pigeon, and then we did the bright yellow polka dots all over. Then we did the floral one, which, as you can see on the floral one, is scalloped on the bottom, like we mentioned before, and it's got a floral print on it. Just to give you an idea, the inspiration behind that came from me trolling the internet for floral print, and finding a lot of pop color stuff. Something like this would have been the inspiration for that, and then we would then go in and convert it, clean it up, and do our own remix on it if you will. These are three different ideas that we came up with. The winner ended up being this one. This one ended up being top winner, so these two were shelved for the time being. Shelved doesn't mean it's done forever, it just means it wasn't the right time and the right place for it. We keep these in archive, and there might be a time and place where these might come back and do actually really well. I think one of the most strong traits that creative and design people have to really accept and learn, is the idea of rejection. Rejection doesn't mean you suck, rejection just means that your idea wasn't right for that time and place. This ended up being the winner for the season. Now when we go into full production on this, we have to make a blueprint essentially, for how the factory is going to make this. What will we call that, is a tech pack. We have to make a tech pack, and I'm going to walk you through how a tech pack looks. It goes from, inspiration, to our rendition of it, and then application into the pigeon. The more precise you have your tech pack, the less mistakes the factory will hopefully make. If you have a half-ask tech pack, you might have to go through three, four, five rounds of samples before you get the one that you really like. Hopefully, if you have a really lock in stock tech pack, they'll nail it on the first or second try, which is the idea that we're going for because each round of samples that you do, you have to pay for them. As you can see, page one, how to make the T-Shirt. There's no graphic on this at all, this is just how to make the body. There's a lot of details going on here. There's the scallops, the hem on the bottom is the scallop, look here where it's curved on the bottom, and it's actually got a piece of taping on the bottom as well, it's got taping up here on the neck also. The sleeves as you can see, are different. The sleeves, you look at this area between the arm pit and then the bottom edge of the sleeve, it's very short. We didn't want a long tubular sleeve on this, we wanted it to be more of a "fashion cut." That's what this first page tells you. This first page tells you, Factory, this is what our shirt is going to look like. It's every measurement, every statistic going on on where the side vents are, where the placement of all the different trims are, everything is said on this first page. This is very important. As I mentioned, we go into the graphic, the main graphic is said here. You've got the dimensions, you've got the pantone colors, name of the file that is attached to this. Now we are already at three pages for this one T-Shirt. Those are those elements. Now you've got the body done, and then you've got the graphic done. Fabric is also very important, obviously. We also want to indicate to them what kind of fabric we want to use. We take pictures of the fabric we want to use. Sometimes we'll actually cut this out and send it to them if necessary because, this fabric, this cotton is actually called a slub cotton. It has this heathered look, whereas, these are solid. We wanted this kind of slub cotton heathered look instead. It just adds to the more fashion feel of it. Now we've got 90 percent of the shirt done. We've got the fabric, we've got the cut, the construction, we have the graphic, and we have the major trims. There's a couple of finishing pieces that the factory still has to do, namely, your label. The label on the shirt can be sometimes a woven label that's actually sewn in, it could be a printed label. We choose to use a printed label. Essentially, there is no label. As you can see, there's no label there, it's just a print directly onto the shirt. We do this because I personally hate itchy neck labels, and I always cut them out. Staple shirts used to use neck labels, and I'd be cutting my own stapled neck labels out, and I'm like, "Why am I cutting my own neck label out? Why don't I just change it so that it doesn't bother the wearer anymore." We converted all to this for our T-Shirts. We have to tell the factory, what medium looks like, what small looks like, and what 2X looks like. We don't want 2XL, we want the numeral 2XL, these are all things that you have to specify. In fact, all of these individual things require their own screen, so we have to shoot a screen for each and every one of these things. The other thing is, the care label. The care label as you start getting bigger and bigger, you have to tell the world where your stuff is made, what is made up of the content of it, and how to wash the thing, care labels. These are legal things that you have to do when you get to a certain level. If you're still making, 12, 30, 50 shirts for you and your friends, and selling them at a local boutique, you probably don't have to worry about this yet. It's when you start shipping them across state lines, and across country lines, that you got to start thinking about; how people care for the shirts, where they're made, and things like that. We actually designed the care label as well. We have to tell the factory, we want it three inches from the bottom hem, which is right up in here. You can't tell the factory, "Yeah, just put it up here." Because we're the wearer, it won't bother you. They'll be like, "I don't wear T-Shirts. I don't know what you're doing. I don't know what kind of pants you wear." They need to know, "Okay, three inches from the bottom hem? Got it, I understand now." You got to speak in their language. Then finally, for the last step is our hang tag. We actually design out all the hang-tags, how it gets looped in, what kind of rope they use, every single detail is managed in that, and then so they know where to put the hang-tag and how to make that as well. Once you have all of those things, now you're looking at, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, we have a nine page document, called a tech pack. This whole thing is the tech back. This nine page document, is how to make one T-shirt. That's one shirt. Now, your second T-shirt requires it's own nine page document. That's how T-shirts are made on this scale and this level. Just to give you a little bit of insight on how that's done. I don't expect all of you to go out and make a shirt with a nine page tech pack. Again, you could make a shirt with one Sharpie, and a blank Cannes T-shirt, you don't need a tech pack to make a T-shirt. But I do want to give you the direction of, if you eventually want your own brand and if you eventually want that brand to be widely distributed all over the world, and not made by your own two hands, but made by a factory, this is what's in your future, whether you like it or not. So, get ready for that. 8. Pricing: Let's talk a bit about pricing and why shirts cost the way they do. So, if you've noticed most T-shirts in the world are generally around $20 to $40, $30 being the sweet spot for T-shirts and you ever wonder why that is? If you break down all of the different elements that I just went through for how a shirt gets made, they're generally all within the same realm and the same universe. So, like I said, each screen that you make, each silk screened which represents each color of your shirt is about $100 a screen. Those are set up charges, meaning, you only have to do that one time. So, you make one set of screens and after you go through that order and you keep reordering, you don't have to keep paying the $100 set up charge, they keep those screens for you. The next thing is for each placement that a shirt is printed, so if you have one piece on the sleeve, one thing on the front, one thing on the back, the silk trainer are generally charges around 50 cents to $1 per hit as it's called, and the hit price depends on how big the screen is. So obviously, if you're doing a full back print, that might be $1. If you're doing a tiny little logo on the sleeve, that might be a quarter. If you're doing a chest, that might be 50 cents. So, each placement, you're looking at somewhere between 25 cents and $1. The actual blank shirt that you're buying, so assuming you're not doing a cut and sow shirt, you're going to a place to buy a blank T-shirt, that's generally in the range of $5. So, now between the screen and each print hit that you're doing and the cost of the shirt, you're looking at a total package of around $7 to $10 to make your shirt. That's how much you have to pay those silkscreener, the factory, the printer to get one shirt made, $7 to $10. That's your cost. In the industry term, that's called cost of goods sold, COG, cost of goods sold or COGs. So, now let's say you want to sell that shirt to a store. So, you're going to wholesale it to a retail store. That store is going to buy it from you for double the price usually, or a little bit more hopefully. So, if it costs you $7 to make a shirt, you can sell to the store for around $14 to $15 and that's called the wholesale price. That way, you make your money and the store can still take that amount that they've paid, $14, $15 and double it again to be about $30, $32 and that's the retail price, or MSRP, Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. So, those are the three stages that I just went through. Cost of goods sold, that's the amount of money that you pay to get a shirt made. Wholesale, that's the amount that the store pays you to have the shirt sold in their store. Then, MSRP or retail, that's the price that the customer pays the store for your shirt. So, you could see those three different breakdowns. So, seven to 15 to 30, and that's why most shirts in the world cost around $30. Now, why do some shirts cost 19.99 and even cheaper? Because they're making thousands, tens of thousands, if not millions of shirts, so they're able to drive the price down dramatically. Conversely, why are some shirts $80, $100, $200 bucks? Well, when you start getting into the way the print is made, the fabrication of the shirt, these things drive the price up. So, if some designer's using Egyptian cotton, 400 count, lambskin, child fetus fabric, then it's going to drive up the cost and that's why some of those things are more and more expensive. Also, limited editions get more and more expensive too. So, if you're doing a shirt run and there's only 20 shirts made, because it's only a 20 piece run, the factory is going to charge that designer more for that shirt to be made and he's going to pass on those expenses to the consumer of course. So, that's why there's that huge price variation. What should your shirt cost? What should you price your T-shirts at? Well, the one big question that is often asked is, who do you want to hang with? They're not asking about your friends in high school, they're talking about, who do you want to hang with on a hanger? So, what store do you envision your shirts in? What is your dream store. So, you go into that dream store, what brands is that dream store already carry? What's hanging up in that dream store? If you want your shirt to be hanging in there, you have to be the same price as that shirt. You can't be much lower or much higher. If you're much lower or much higher, that dream store of yours won't carry your brand. So, answering that question of who do you want to hang with, will help determine how much you should be charging for your shirts. I actually like to work backwards from how much you should charge for your shirts to determine where you should make your products, what kind of cotton you should use, what kind of printing you should use. So, it just gives you a reference point of where you can start. If you want to hang in a mall store and have a $30 T-shirt, you probably shouldn't start making T-shirts in Italy because then you're going to be making $200 T-shirts. But if you want to be in high end department stores, boutiques that are super high end, then sky is the limit. You can maybe make your shirts anywhere in the world that you want, but your quality has to match as well. So, you can't go into the middle of China and find the cheapest factory around to make your stuff and try to gouge them. You probably have to find some great artists and shirt makers in order to make your T-shirts. So, that's a bit of an idea of how pricing works. I actually taught another SkillShare class that goes really deep into sales and costing and I gave you spreadsheets and all these algorithms in terms of how to price your stuff out. So, definitely take that class, if you haven't done it in terms of learning about pricing. I just wanted to give you an overarching view of how most T-shirts are priced here. 9. Conclusion: All right. So, now I've taken you through the entire universe of Tees. Why do I make a Tee? Why do I love T-Shirts? We went through that. We went through different styles and types of Tees. We went through different ways of making the T-Shirt, and we actually got really nitty-gritty granular and how a T-shirt gets made at Staple, so that you can understand how we deal with our factories to get these shirts made. We went through pricing as well. I want you to go out there make the shirt of your dreams. Tell your message. Don't forget, have the message, have the concept, figure out the execution, know how to execute that shirt well, and make it wearable. Make a T-Shirt that people actually want to wear, they want to rock, they want to represent you, your vision, your brand, and just spread your words. Spread your message. The T-Shirt is a perfect medium to spread your message. So, use the power of the T-shirt and make your perfect T-shirt and send it up to me, and I want to take a look at it. So, good luck.