This marks the first in our custom shirt printing series where we review the top online companies for making customized clothing! We’ll be evaluating the shirts on the same set of criteria to show you how they measure up with price, appearance, shipping, site ease of use, and variety of shirt choice!
We’re starting things off with the behemoth Vistaprint, probably one of the first companies that comes up if you search for “custom shirt printing”. Vistaprint is one of the more affordable options and is great whether you’re planning on printing one shirt or 1000. Along with shirts, VP offers printing on practically every item you can think of, from glossy fliers, to mugs, to custom tote bags. Because of the breadth of options and the low prices, we expected Vistaprint to be towards the bottom of the heap, but we were proven seriously wrong!
What we ordered: A custom Veronica Mars “Mars Investigations” logo (black) on a SignatureSoft Women’s small t-shirt (white) with Inkjet printing. I found the image online, turned it into a PNG with transparent background using online software (thank you Pixlr!) and dropped it onto the front of the shirt.
Price: $9.50 – ★★★★★
One thing you’ll quickly notice about custom shirt printing companies is that they want you to order in volume. This is great if you’re churning out 100+ shirts for the annual family reunion, but less good if you’re like me and just wanted a custom Veronica Mars shirt. The low printing prices you’ll typically see in your google results are generally deceptive; sure it’s $5 per shirt if you order 1000, but if you just want one, you’re looking at $25, or perhaps no shirt at all. Vistaprint delivers both on price and on small scale. This was the cheapest of the shirts we bought and one of the highest quality.
Shipping: $5 (standard shipping) – ★★★★★
Vistaprint’s shipping wasn’t the absolute cheapest, but I must say they impressed me! When I ordered this shirt on May 6th, the estimated delivery date was the 17th, but they had it printed by the 7th, shipped by the 8th and it arrived on the 9th! A custom shirt! Serious points for speed, and for getting it to me within three days when I just paid for standard shipping. You can pay (a lot) for accelerated shipping, but having ordered other things with them before, I’ve learned I can count on them getting my orders to me well before promised, so unless you absolutely NEED your item by a particular day, I’d say go for standard and count on being pleasantly surprised.
Shirt Feel/Appearance/Cut – ★★★★★
Now we’re finally getting to the good stuff – how’d the damn thing look, feel and fit? I must say that I was *shocked* that for the price, the Vistaprint shirt ended up being one of the nicest ones we printed!
– Fit -★★★★★
As mentioned above, I ordered a women’s small in the inkjet printed SignatureSoft. I’m a petite person, just under 5’4″, about 120 pounds and with a substantial bust. The shirt fit exactly as I would have wanted it to, it has a flattering crew neckline, nicely fitted on the sides and not too stretched out over my chest area (I’m sure some of y’all know the struggle). More affordable shirts often look pretty boxy and unflattering on my figure, but Vistaprint delivered on this one!
– Fabric -★★★★★
Here’s another place that Vistaprint knocked it out of the park; the shirt is super comfy and soft! It has a bit of stretch to it and doesn’t feel like cardboard, A+ in my book!
– Quality of print -★★★★★
Admittedly I didn’t give Vistaprint too much of a challenge (white shirt, black logo), but it came out looking really good! The print looks quite sharp and any blurring around the edges I attribute to my own questionable image upload.
Choice of Shirts -★★★★
The choice of women’s shirts is one place where Vistaprint didn’t shine as much; for the shirt I ordered, I could only chose between four different cuts. The color pallet was more varied, but with regards to shape and neckline (in contrast to a company like Redbubble, for example), the options were limited. Given the quality and fit of the shirt I don’t fault them too much for this, but it is something to keep in mind. That said, in terms of THINGS to print on (aforementioned tote bags etc…) Vistaprint definitely takes the cake, so we’ll land them at four stars.
Site Ease of Use – ★★★★★
Okay so as a software developer, I’d like to think that I’m at least slightly better than the average person at all things computer, which makes me ashamed to admit that I had a bit of a confusing time using the Vistaprint site at first. You’ll see on the screenshot below that uploading your own image is literally the first option, but something about the way it’s designed made my eyes skip over it and onto the plentiful more complex (and frankly, not what I wanted) configurations below. After a few minutes of fussing (okay, and maybe some swearing), I realized my oversight and proceeded through the five or so clicks it took to make my custom shirt! Other than my initial confusion, the site was super easy to use and definitely would highly recommend, even for people that might not be super comfortable using a computer.
Some additional pluses:
– There’s generally at least one hefty discount you can take advantage of to bring the price down even further, especially if you’re a first time ordered.
– The shirts seem to wash well; granted, I did forget detergent, but the logo survived a wash and dry and the shirt didn’t seem to shrink too much.
– If you make an account (only need email/pw), they will save your design so you can reprint it on the same, or other products (see below)
So now that we’ve hit our key points, you can probably guess that my overall review is going to be two thumbs up! Taking all factors into consideration, I would give Vistaprint a SOLID 4.5 (maybe even closer to 5) stars on the whole experience! They’re not only incredibly affordable, they deliver excellent quality and customer service along the way! If you’re deciding whether or not us use VP for your next custom shirt endeavor, we highly recommend!
We’ve immortalized our thoughts in one of our ToonStyle youtube videos (also, the first in the series), so if you want to hear these thoughts straight out of the horses mouth (mine), or see more how the shirt looks on – head on over and toss us a thumbs up/comment while you’re at it 🙂
We’ll be continuing our custom print series weekly so keep an eye out for more videos to come; both here and on YouTube!