August 31, 2012

In Praise of Spreadshirt

Some of you may get tired of me hawking my t-shirts. If you’re one of those, I guess you can go ahead and plug your ears for this post. But I’d like to talk a bit about Spreadshirt and why I’ve chosen them to make my shirts.

I first started designing my own t-shirts several years ago, after I discovered that I could do so on CafePress. But the first time I bought one of my own designs (as a gift for my wife), I was quite disappointed with the quality. The shirt was so thin and lightweight that it was practically gauze, and the print was literally an iron-on graphic. I’m sure I could have made the same thing myself for less money.

At some point CafePress improved its printing techniques and t-shirt quality, but I was still disappointed. The printing on one of my shirts looked so faded, even when it was brand-new, that one of my coworkers thought it was an intentionally vintage look. The last straw was a problem with my account involving some rather inept customer service.

I went with Zazzle for a little while, but then I switched to Spreadshirt after I bought a shirt from another site that was printed through Spreadshirt. The printing was crisp and durable and has resisted fading or peeling even after several years of wear. I was sold when I saw that Spreadshirt allows users to upload vector graphics, which means that complex artwork can be scaled up or down without losing image quality. It has allowed me to create designs like Battlestar Grammatica and Word Nerd without worrying about the final product looking fuzzy or faded.

If you’ve never taken a look at my store, I’d encourage you to do so now. If you like a design but want it on a different product—let’s say you want to put Battlestar Grammatica on a laptop case—you can customize it in the Spreadshirt Marketplace. And of course, you can always create your own custom t-shirts and other products. You don’t even need to set up your own storefront to do so.

I know I’m never going to get rich selling t-shirts aimed at linguists and editors through my own site. But that’s okay. It’s a fun hobby, and earning a few extra bucks here and there is always nice. Oh, and this weekend (today, August 31st, through September 1st), you can get 20 percent off everything with the coupon code NICEWEEKEND. There’s no minimum purchase requirement. If you like what you see, please consider spreading the love.

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