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How to achieve a professional look on a tight budget


This is probably a topic that most brands think about. Most are interested in starting a clothing brand that has considered ways to spend less money while still looking professional.

3D global business - isolated over a white background

Being a well-trained designer as well as the business owner cuts down a lot of cost, because you don’t have to rely on another person to do all the miscellaneous design work. Everything from stickers to business cards to hangtags needs to have a prepped design file. Those files are not necessarily difficult to design, but hiring someone to do simple tasks is not very cost efficient. Even if you don’t have the skills to create every t-shirt design yourself, knowing how to use the tools so that you can prep files and design simple things like business cards and flyers is really cost effective. But obviously, if you’re not the hottest designer, don’t pretend that you are. You’re going to end up spending a lot of time on some shitty designs just because it’ll save you money. The product always comes first, so if you’re not satisfied with your design skills, then don’t use them for professional products. Most of your money should be going into the products anyway, so don’t try to save money by hiring a cheaper, less experienced designer or designing it yourself, because you usually get what you pay for.

distressed logoThe same goes with silk screening your designs by yourself. If you’re not a professional printer, you should leave the printing to the professionals. Sure it cuts down a lot of costs to have your own set up, but make sure you can get the consistency and quality with your prints that you’re looking for.

Another tip for creating a professional look in your e-commerce store is to have a more than one color option for your products. It usually doesn’t cost extra to print one design on multiple different colored shirts. Customers like to have options, so if your design looks good on another color as well, don’t limit yourself.

Professional and consistent photography is something that is crucial to branding, and often overlooked. Make sure you’re not using your cheap point and shoot, and use a camera with a decent sensor and manual settings, and make sure the lighting is even and adequate. You can even rent a nice camera if necessary.


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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