What to Know About Band Merch

Ben Buzzard
March 21, 2024
Two Color Band Logo Print on Tie Dyed Hoodie

Merchandise and apparel have long been an integral part of promoting bands and imprinting the bands identity into the minds of consumers around the world. Custom band tees serve not only as a marketing tool but also as a way to connect with fans on a more personal level. In this comprehensive guide we’ll take a look at the significance of high-quality garments and prints in amplifying your band’s presence. Whether you’re getting ready for a tour, promoting yourself locally, or just trying to expand your band’s merchandise line, this overview will help get you the knowledge needed to make an informed decision on your next printed apparel order.

A well designed shirt not only showcases your band’s aesthetic but also serves as a walking advertisement, spreading your music and message wherever the wearer may go. Understanding the nuances of selecting a shirt and print style that will make your fans want to wear them all the time is crucial when starting off in creating merchandise that will resonate with fans and stand the test of time.

Three shirts laid out on a wooden background. Left to right "YellaCatt", "The Outer Vibe", & "Almost Queen"
A small selection of band t-shirts we have printed including YellaCatt, The Outer Vibe, and Almost Queen.

Choosing the Right Shirt

The first important step in getting your band merch ready is selecting the perfect shirt for you. There are multiple factors that we need to take into consideration. Affordability, comfort, durability and style must all be taken into account. The streetwear style has been becoming increasingly popular and if this is the style you are looking for you may want to check out a garment like the Gildan Hammer T-Shirt, or the Hanes Beefy-T on the lower price range. If you have a little more budget the Comfort Colors 1717 is a great garment dyed choice, or for something American made the LA Apparel 1801GD is an amazing shirt that prints smooth. When looking for a more fashion forward t-shirt we would recommend the Bella+Canvas 3001, Next Level 3600, or anything from AS Colour.

Some of these garments may be a bit expensive when just starting out. When selling shirts at concerts the higher quality, more expensive garments may be worth it. If your fans are able to feel the quality of shirts at the merch stand and feel a soft shirt with a smooth print the chances are high that they will pick one up. When selling shirts online, although you still want to provide a good quality shirt to your fans, the feel of the shirt will not be the deciding factor in if someone purchases the shirt.

Printing Process Matters

Screen printing is more than just transferring ink onto fabric. The printing process has a significant impact on the final look of your band tees. You can have the highest quality t-shirt in the world, but if the screen print is rough or not in registration it will look like a poor quality shirt. There are many steps involved in creating a great print. From selecting the right ink for the look you are going for, to squeegee firmness and print pressures getting just one variable wrong can make for a bad print.

At Extreme Screen Print, our commitment to excellence is evident in our meticulous printing techniques. Whether your band’s logo is intricate or minimalist, our unparalleled expertise will leave you with a clear, softhand print every time. Whether you are choosing our Soft Plastisol, Discharge, or Wanterbased prints, you can be sure to receive the best quality every time.

Why Choose Our Soft Plastisol Prints

Plastisol ink can be printed onto most of the materials your apparel is going to be made out of, including cotton, polyester, rayon, hemp, and blends. Plastisol inks also have the best vibrancy of any type of screen printing ink. Plastisol's bright bold colors can be easily matched to any color, allowing you to keep brand consistency throughout all your products. Additionally, the colors will not fade wash after wash making the shirts a keepsake that can be handed down to the next generation of fans. Because of these features plastisol has become the go-to ink for most print shops. At Extreme we also use plastisol inks, but unlike other shops that may end up having rough, thick prints, we specialize in getting smooth thin prints that feel good to wear. We also have a large selection of stock plastisol colors with no ink mixing fees.

The versatility of plastisol also extends beyond just colors and garments. There are a wide variety of specialty inks available in plastisol formulations including Glow-in-the-dark, shimmers and metallics, color changing inks, and more. Whether you’re aiming for subtle tone-on-tone looks, a simple white print, or something extravagant there is a plastisol ink that will work for your needs. But plastisol isn’t the only good option for getting your shirts printed, water based inks can be a great option too.

Why Choose Waterbased and Discharge Inks

Music Festival Discharge Print
A Discharge Print on a Black Cotton Shirt

If you are looking for a more vintage look, or a print that will be breathable and have almost no feel, then waterbased inks might be the right choice. Waterbased inks sit in the fabrics rather than on top of the fabrics allowing the shirt to breathe and move easier. Though because it sits in the fabric, it will also take on the color of the fabric itself. Because of this, it is only recommended to print waterbased on light colored fabrics. Although it is possible to print on darker fabrics and have the print come out vibrant, the garment will have to be made out of natural fibers, ideally 100% cotton, and the use of a discharge additive is required. The discharge additive creates a chemical process that bleaches the color out of the threads when heat is applied, giving the shirt a natural cotton color that an ink color can be printed on top of. Synthetic fibers like polyester will lighten up a little bit, but not enough that you will be able to print waterbased colors on them.

Different Types of Band Tees

A t-shirt with your band's logo on it is always a great place to start when creating your first band tee, but there are plenty of different design types you can choose to expand your apparel arsenal and sell more garments. Chief among them is tour merch featuring a list of all your upcoming stops. This gives a more personal touch to the garments that the fan can point out which show that they attended. As well when a new album is released printing apparel with the album artwork or title is a popular way to get continued support from your fans. Most album artwork is going to be a more complex design that will require a high quality screen printer to get the design looking just right. Extreme Screen Prints specializes in high quality simulated process prints so you can rest assured that your shirts will come out looking just right.

Beyond the T-Shirt

Other than wearable garments there are various types of printed merchandise you might consider adding to your lineup to cater to different promo needs. Some popular options include hats, tote bags, can coolers, bandanas and so on. Adding more product styles to your lineup will give your fans more ways they are likely to support the band. Additionally doing limited-edition releases and collaborating with other bands or artists can create a lot of hype and anticipation among fans driving engagement and sales. By experimenting with different designs and merchandise you can find what works best for your fanbase and create a cohesive brand experience your customers will love.

If you are ready to get started on getting your band's name out there with merchandise we are ready to help you. You can get instant pricing on hundreds of garments and accessories to see what will work best for your needs and price ranges. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us.

Ben Buzzard
Last Updated:
March 21, 2024