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From time to time we get asked to help out with T Shirt printing for a charity or a non-profit organisation. When the Cystic Fibrosis approached us to help out with some T-Shirts for the Sydney Surf Classic Event, we could not say no. Printed on T Shirts supplied by our good friends at ASColour.

This was the outcome:

Nathan ‘Hog’ Hedge  - source:

Nathan ‘Hog’ Hedge – source:

Sydney Surf Clinic

Sydney Surf Clinic

And feedback from our client:

“Just wanted to say thank you so much for the T-shirts – we loved them! We had a surfing clinic with Nathan Hedge and and a couple of families that had kids with CF on Friday morning.  The kids had a great time and it was a joy to watch them have some fun!  Each of the kids got a T-shirt at the end. So thank you for putting these together for us at such short notice, I really appreciate all your help”.


So you want to start a clothing label? Here are some tips to get you started :)

some of the most popular clothing labels around

some of the most popular clothing labels around – Nike, Mambo, Stussy, Billabong, industrie

1) Establish a Clothing Label Name

Start a Clothing Label

The first thing you would need to begin with is a label name! What is it going to be called? Start by looking at some of the existing clothing companies out there. What are they called? e.g. Billabong, Mambo, etc. Will your name have some deeper meaning that connects you to the brand ID? It is all about the brainstorming process! Perhaps begin by writing down a few names on a piece of paper and run them past some friends and family and see if anything calls out to you. Your next step is to check to see it isn’t taken yet. You might come up with a great clothing label name, but it may also be taken by someone else. Register a company, and also don’t forget to register a website domain name.

2) And your Target Market is …?

who is your target market?

who is your target market?

Who is going to be your target market? Are you a surf/skate style brand, or are you an indie, underground designer illustrative style brand? Or are you targeting gyms and sports? Start with an alternative niche market or go with something that already works and add your unique twist so as to add value and offer some difference.

3) Computer, Paints, Pencils…It is time to get creative

TShirt Designs

TShirt Designs

Now that you have decided who your market is, you need to get some T-shirt designs – without this you will have no clothing to sell! Are you a self-confessed T-shirt designer? Then come up with some designs. Or you might find that you already have some designs you created in the past that may want to print onto a T-Shirt. If graphic design or any type of art is not your strongest suit – then hire someone who can help you express what you have in mind. Chances are you have a friend of a friend who is a regular design genius simply waiting to be discovered. Join forces, or alternatively pay them for their services.

Once you have a collection of designs together – work out which ones are the best of them. Discard of any of the “I’m not so sure if they will sell T-shirt designs.” Remember always show your designs to friends and ask for their honest opinion.

4) Off to the printers we go!

Against them Clothing Label

Against them Clothing Label – Printed by Pistol.

We won’t lie to you – but you’re going to need some money set aside to get you off the ground. Getting good quality items printed locally in Australia will set you back some dollars, but if you plan it right – you may see a profit at the end of the tunnel. Start by doing some research and visit  some printers in your local area. Setup some meetings with a few T-shirt companies and work out which ones share your vision and can meet your printing requirements as well as your budget.

Most T-shirt print companies can also set you up and help organise the ordering of your choice of garments whether they be hoodies, jumpers or T-shirts! They usually have the best connections with T Shirt suppliers and can recommend which ones fit, print and overall best suit  your needs. If sourcing the garments is something you have taken care of yourself all you will need is to contract a printer to see your designs come to to life. If you are unsure where to begin looking for some Australian based apparel suppliers here are a few to get you started: AS Colour, Gildan, Sportage.


5) Choose your weapon

Print Decoration Options - Screen, Transfers, Digital and Embroidery

Print Decoration Options – Screen, Transfers, Digital and Embroidery

Customised garments are ever so popular and it’s not so uncommon to walk down the street and see people of all ages wearing their very own customised garments. Upon closer inspection you will see everything from plain garments, printed, transferred prints to even embroidery.
The methods are endless, the most common being Screen Prints or and Embroidery but if you are after something slightly different in terms of feel or final output there are various methods for specialty printing including glitter transfers / rhinestones / poly flex prints / heat transfers.

Sample of a screen printed tshirt

Sample of a screen printed tshirt

Why choose Screen Printing? Screen Printing is great for customers looking for medium-large size print runs, their artwork contains a limited amount of colours – e.g. 1-8 and customers looking for retail quality. Once you get past the initial setup costs, print runs can be very cost effective. Screen Printing is great for producing solid PMS and colour matching artworks. Please note it’s best to always have an EPS – Vector Artwork file ready, to make it easy when printing.

Digitally printed tshirt

Sample of a Digitally printed tshirt

Why choose DTG – Digitally Printed Garments?
You may or may not have heard of digitally printed tees. This technology is quite new and there are many terms that people use to describe – digital prints. Direct to Garment printing is not a file that is printed onto paper then transferred onto a tshirt! The process involves a T-shirt is  loaded into a inkjet based printer – it prints directly onto the T-shirt using specifically formulated inks and essentially “stains” the fabric. Patented inks are used in the printer to ensure that the print does not wash off.  This method is perfect for anyone just starting out – looking to produce a small-medium size run of items. There is no limit to the amount of colours – so you can print full colour photos onto T-shirts. Its also perfect for fast turn around and even same day T-shirt printing. The downside to this method you ask? DTG printing has trouble producing bright solid colours and can be costly when producing bigger sized runs.

Screenshot of Pistol Online TShirt Designer

Screenshot of Pistol Online TShirt Designer

We have just finished updating our online tshirt design tool at Pistol –

The new online tshirt designer boasts new features including, increased browser support for browsers, faster loading times, increased upload file size, as well as many news styles added.

Custom Band Merchandise for Shock Daze

We just finished up printing up these cool band merchandise printing for one of Sydney’s top cover band’s – Shock Daze.


Let there be Rock!

5 reasons why you need a Digital T-Shirt Printer to Print your T-Shirts (DTG).

1) Your artwork contains alot of colours
So you just finished designing this awesome full colour design for a t-shirt. You get few quotes and realise how expensive it is to Screen print your image onto a tshirt and realise that your artwork will never see the light of day due the overwhelming cost to print. You also realise that turning this photo into only a 1 or 2 colour print will not work. Solution: Digital printing your t-shirts allows you to print your photo in full colour at a reasonable cost!
full colour tshirt prints

full colour tshirt prints

2) You only want 1 t-shirt printed
1 off custom tshirt

1 off custom tshirt

Yes its possible! Well with digital tshirt printing. Gone are the old days where you would need to get 500 tshirts screen printed only to have your tshirts sitting in a dark corner in your room to be lost to eternity. A digital tshirt printer allows you to print as low as 1 t-shirt. The cool thing is there is no setup cost – Basically a computer is connected to a digital printer which tells the printer where to print using a bunch of 1s and 0s. Oh and there are no messy screens needed to be setup which allows for a quick and smooth operation whilst printing.
3) You need it fast, Like today!
fast tshirt printer

fast tshirt printer

Generally with most screen printers, there is a 1-2 week turnaround time. This is due to the high volume of tshirts being printed as well as the setups take time. Sometimes as humans we leave things to the last minute or perhaps forget and then you need to have a tshirt printed for a certain occasion. With direct to digital printing you can produce a quick turn around when needed.
4) Your over thick rubbery prints on tshirts which crack
screen prints

screen prints

We all have those shirts in the closet which looked great when we bought it but soon realised that wearing it was a little uncomfortable due to the thickness of the ink on the shirts. In photo digital printing – the inks used a lighter and the printer, prints over the t-shirt staining the ink directly into the garment itself. This results in a more gentle, softer feel. You will find that on light coloured garments like white t-shirts, they require no under base, which means no layers of white on the tshirt and on darker garments will need to have 2 coats of ink – 1 for the underbase and the other for the colour on top.
5) You like keeping up with technology
close up of kornit direct to garment digital printer

close up of kornit direct to garment digital printer

So your the type of person who has the latest iphone, seen the latest movie and likes to keep up to date with worldy issues. Digital Printing on tshirts is a new technology. Its been around for under 10 years approx, started by a leading company called Kornit from Israel. Digital means easy to produce, and with this new technology it can only get better whilst new innovative features surround the digital print industry.

Need a digital tshirt printer? Get in touch with Pistol.

Sydney based underground / hip / indie clothing label Dirty Rotten takes advantage of using DTG on their prints. Inspired by art and surf culture – Dirty Rotten’s unique and wearable designs allows them to take use of printing.

Here are some photos from their FB page

Dirty Rotten

To order simply visit –

Retail Quality Screen Prints

Screen Prints are great for getting vibrant prints especially on larger runs and solid colours. Depending on the size of the job we recommend our customers the best options to take.

Hoide Printing

Close Up of a Hoodie using DTG printing

Its taken along time to perfect using DTG to print onto hoodies. Our recent purchase of a Kornit DTG printer has allowed us to achieve better quality prints as well as have more flexible solutions to offer to customers. Above you can see a close up of an artwork printed onto a Hoodie. As you can see alot of detail has been achieved, thanks to the help of using the right print settings.