The Growing Market Share of Custom T-shirt Printing
on Jun 1, 2020
The Growing Market Share of Custom T-shirt Printing

The Growing Market Share of Custom T-shirt Printing

Customized t-shirts are constantly being used to market brands and social causes. Whether you’re buying a t-shirt at a Disney theme park for your child or you’re wearing a t-shirt you received after a breast cancer awareness walk, customized t-shirts grab people’s attention. Last year, the custom t-shirt printing global market was valued at 3.4 billion dollars. 

Printing custom t-shirts is a great way to increase your brand visibility. 

Part of the reason for the upward growth year after year is due to the entertainment and sports industries. Instead of buying a generic t-shirt, consumers would rather spend the money on a t-shirt that has their favorite character, movie line, or logo printed on it. For example, gargantuan franchises like Marvel or Game of Thrones have a loyal following all over the world. The same goes for local sports clubs as well as national sports teams. 

Investing in quality textiles for your t-shirt is important. The longer your t-shirt lasts, the longer your “off the clock” marketing campaign will last. T-shirts are cheaper to print than using a traditional marketing medium like a TV commercial spot. 

There are three types of t-shirt printing:

  1. Screen printing
  2. Digital printing or Direct-to-Garment printing
  3. Plot printing

Screen printing is the largest piece of market share and is one more the traditional ways used to print t-shirts. You burn a piece of screen for each color and lay down the artwork in layers. Great for dark colored shirts, screen printing is commonly used for thicker, bolder designs. The downside is that it is labor intensive so often screen printing is done in other parts of the world where cost of labor is lower.

Digital printing is when your artwork is directly printed from the computer to your t-shirt.Great for lighter color shirts or when you are trying to print complex artwork with many shades (for example, a photo you took of Griffith Park during sunset). It also tends to be a quicker process than screen printing and is more detailed; however, the printer may not be able to print as many of them at a time.

Plot Printing holds the smallest piece of market share, but is steadily growing. Plot printing is when the design is mechanically cut from the plot foil and then melted onto the t-shirt. Plot printing is typically limited to only three colors in a design. Each color is its own foil and the design is then placed by hand on the t-shirt before being melted by a combination of heat and pressure. 

At Axiom Print, our method of printing shirts is a combination of plot and digital printing. 

Instead of mechanically cutting the design from foil, we digitally print the color design on foil. Then, we place that design on the t-shirt and use heat to melt it onto the fabric. If you’re interested in hiring us for your t-shirt printing needs, call us at 747-888-7777 or email us at

Overall, custom t-shirt printing is here to stay. Forecasts suggest that by 2027, the custom t-shirt printing market will reach 6.7 billion dollars worldwide.