What is Contract Screenprinting?

R. Kayne
R. Kayne
Baseball bats may contain contract screenprinting labels.
Baseball bats may contain contract screenprinting labels.

Contract screenprinting is a service that transfers a design of your choice to garments, drinking cups, tote bags or other items, normally in bulk. Designs might be text, a logo, graphic, or a combination thereof. Contract screenprinting has been a very effective and popular means for promoting brand awareness through the years.

Since contract screenprinting deals in quantity orders, businesses routinely avail themselves of this service to resell the end product to their own customer base. Record companies use contract screenprinting to promote touring bands through merchandising. Corporations have shirts, hats, pens and other items printed with a company logo or promotional product. Clubs, sports teams, fraternities and sororities routinely use contract screenprinting, as do political campaigns.

Some vendors that provide contract screenprinting also sell the items they print upon. Commonly offered items include tee shirts, sweatshirts, sweat pants, baseball hats, coffee cups, plastic drinking mugs, tote bags and mousepads. Other printers will print on items you provide. For example if you wanted bowling shirts with the team name and logo, you could provide the shirts yourself.

As technology has made screenprinting easier and more affordable, minimum runs have been reduced, in many cases, from several hundred items to just half a dozen or so. This has made contract screenprinting accessible to small business, and even individuals. Whether sold or given away, printed mousepads, tee shirts, and hats continue to advertise for free and provide exposure. If the item is useful and of high quality, this creates an additional positive association with the product, company or brand name advertised.

Pricing of contract screenprinting varies widely, depending on many factors. Some online vendors have graphic tools available that allow customers to create a design on the website itself, or upload artwork in graphic files. Each screenprinter has its own protocols as to how materials should be submitted. When considering a quote, be careful not to overlook fine points. For example, if your design will be printed to a tee shirt, will it be printed on the back, front, or on both sides? Will your artwork need to be scaled up or down? Is the right number of colors included in the quote? Missing a detail can result in a run of items that are not what you envisioned, so be sure to double-check an order before placing it.

Contract screenprinting is a great way to personalize items and promote products, companies or brand awareness. If you consider how many people wear shirts, hats or jackets that bear words or logos, you can see why contract screenprinting is so valuable!

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    • Baseball bats may contain contract screenprinting labels.
      Baseball bats may contain contract screenprinting labels.