Chewy In A Storm – T-Shirt from Bountee

Wookie in a Storm
Chewy

Bountee is a new t-shirt “print on demand” site, rather like Spreadshirt, CafePress, Goodstorm etc. Bountee just launched about a month ago and they seem to be focused on graphic designers, and i’ll say i’ve seen a pretty good quality of design on the site. I especially loved this picture of Chewy by Dale Hayward.

I emailed the guys at bountee about their printing process, as I think that is generally the achilies heel of print on demand, and heres what they had to say:

These are examples of the quality of print. We actually use a fairly new technology called DTG printing (Direct To Garment). It’s fairly comparable to screen printing to be honest, and certainly better than the transfer, vinyl or flock processes that CafePress, Zazzle and Spreadshirt currently use.

Feel free to debunk this if you have better information, as I have a continued interest in the printing process.

21 Responses to “Chewy In A Storm – T-Shirt from Bountee”

  1. Joe says:

    From everything I’ve read about DTG at T-shirtforums.com, it’s not as good as screenprinting yet, but it’s getting there.

  2. karl says:

    Thanks Joe, i asked them for a sample and their sending it off. I’ll be really interested how it looks and wears. I’ve already got a goodstorm shirt, maybe if I get a cafe press one and spreadshirt i’ll do a head to head comparison.

  3. p00neil says:

    They’re not so much a “print-on-demand” site, as much as “submit your design to be judged and then maybe we’ll print it” site, a la Threadless. Even if you have a market for a shirt, your design may not make it on to the site for your friends/customers to vote for it.

    As a former member/user, they are some great designs on the site, but the people who run Bountee seem to have A TON of problems with communication and customer service.

    Good luck to ‘em.

  4. monk1ne says:

    Just wanted to comment on the direct print process. I was recently at a screen printing trade show and saw some direct printing machines up close and in action.

    They are pretty cool and close to traditional screenprinting in that they use similar inks (watered down a bit). The machines are actually like a large version of an inkjet printer. The shirt goes on a platten and is moved electronically under the print head. The print head shoots the ink onto the shirt as it moves. Then the shirt has to be dried like traditional printing. It can be sent through a dryer or dried with a heat press.

    I think the process is way better than what cafepress and the like have to offer. The print size and placement are also way more flexible.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. karl says:

    Cool Monk1ne, appreciate the input, this sounds really cool

  6. nick m says:

    Printers in my part of the world have been pushing this. In fact, I was asked to go with this option. Texture-wise seems quite close to the screened variety, at least for the sample I was shown. It’s as if normal screen printing is becoming increasingly confined to the indie DIY set-ups.

  7. Bountee says:

    Hey – thanks for the post!

    We’ve got some pretty good photos from users who’ve received their shirts; these are great close-up shots of the print (and a nice comparison to the design as well).

    http://blog.bountee.com/2007/05/16/delivery/

    In reply to p00neil; I’m sorry you don’t seem to have had a good experience – but if you read the history on our blog you’ll see that we’ve tried to be as open as we can throughout the beta process.

    As for the comparison to Threadless – I would like to make a fine point if I may?

    We are NOT a ‘submit your design to be judged and then maybe we’ll print it’ site at all – we are a ‘submit your design, and then if you get ‘some’ positive approval from the community we WILL print it and sell if for you’ site.

    You only have to look at the 1000 designs submitted and made live within the past 6 weeks to see the variety of quality and style – http://www.bountee.com/search.jsp

    Cheers for the critique though – and we hope that we’re improving daily and turning into the kind of site that people want!

  8. [...] Chewy In A Storm – T-Shirt from Bountee at Tcritic [...]

  9. Alex says:

    I ordered one of my own shirts off Bountee, and it has come out really nice. I’d put it right up there with screen printing, and definitely recommend it.

  10. daledale says:

    hey hey thanks for the props yo! coming from having the shirt on my body, its mighty fine. the print came out a bit darker than i expected, but it’s in there good & ive washed it a few times with no difference & my washer beats the hell out of clothes.

    theyre a good gang over the lake at bountee, thanks!

  11. Josh says:

    Josh from Zazzle here. We’ve been pioneers in Direct-to-Garment printing and have been producing shirts this way for years. Our model has always been that we want the shirts we produce to be as good or better than retail quality. With DTG printing, you can have millions of vibrant colors and printing bonds to the fabric so you don’t have the decal effect of screenprinting or heat-transfer.

    We currently offer over 250 shirt styles and colors including American Apparel, organics, and more. We were also the first to launch on-demand production around dark apparel – it’s still a beta process, but the results you see now are pretty incredible compared to where this started in late 2005. We’d encourage anyone to try us out and check out the quality.

  12. Miles says:

    DTG has come a long way and depending on what you are doing may actually be a better route than screen-printing. The two big hurdles DTG has had to overcome are light colored inks on dark shirts (which Zazzle is the best that I’ve seen) and the printer setup & care on the production side. Screen printing is bullet proof on those two issues but can’t do the scaling & color changes you can do with digital printing.

    I think DTG is getting a lot better but there are pros & cons to both processes that you have to think about when setting up shop.

    Great discussion btw!

  13. karl says:

    Very cool discussion everyone, it’s really great to hear from folks who are using these processes. My next question will have to be around materials to print on, I know nothing beats cotton, but i’ve seen some amazing bamboo t-shirts, i’d love to figure out how to print reliably on that.

  14. Joe says:

    I would guess that the bamboo shirts you saw were a bamboo/cotton blend, because bamboo fabric is made using a simlar (but more eco-friendly) process as rayon, which would be pretty hard to print on if it weren’t blended with cotton fibers.

  15. Bountee says:

    I’d echo Josh from Zazzle’s comments too:

    “it’s still a beta process, but the results you see now are pretty incredible compared to where this started in late 2005.”

    There are some incredible developments being made in this area and the ability to produce/fabricate almost ‘anything to order’ makes for a potentially massive shift in our behaviour towards clothing in particular.

    It’s like Haute Couture for everyone! :)

  16. p00neil says:

    Hey Bountee,

    Thanks for the reply. I must say that I’m getting more information and feedback from you now than when I was a member.

    May I clarify your fine point? It it impossible for a member’s design to receive ANY approval from the community if the site never posts the design for viewing. That is what happened to me. I submitted a design, told my friends to go vote for it, and waited three weeks for it to “go live” on the site for voting. Then I received four emails from you saying it didn’t receive enough votes. Maybe that’s because no one in the community ever saw it. I have no problem if my design (good or bad as it was) didn’t get enough votes because not enough people liked it; my problem is that my design was never put on the site for *anyone* to see it and vote for it.

    And may I make another point? “Sorry but read the blog” exemplifies my experience with your level of customer service. Is “sorry but read the blog” your company’s best effort at correcting a customer’s bad experience? Unfortunately, that seems to be the case.

    And yes, your site still has a lot of great designs.

  17. YouDesignIt says:

    We currently use DTG for some of our offerings and have been pleasantly surprised with it. The process is improving but it does have a long way to go (too many hiccups). I definitely see it as the alternative to screen printing in the next 10 years.

  18. [...] Well, this issue as actually been covered by Karl already (there’s a lot of discussion on that post Tcritic post as well), and whilst I don’t really understand the technicalities of ‘Direct-to-Garment’ printing, they seem pretty confident about it, and the results seem to speak for themselves. [...]

  19. The Reviewer says:

    I would like to see a side by side comparison! I think that would be a great article.

  20. [...] of cool shirts to pick from, my favourite is Chewy in a Storm which tcritic blogged about a while back. This is an exclusive code for tjunction, so don’t say were not [...]

  21. Stinky19 says:

    I believe in encouraging children to independence, but only in baby steps. ,

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