Custom T-Shirt


The magic of printing custom t-shirts has a lot to do with the way colours are mixed and match to appeal to aesthetics. While organizations often select their brand colours to print custom t-shirts for their members, individuals can choose virtually any colour palette combination for t-shirt printing. While selecting the perfect colour to be printed on custom t-shirts, one needs to have an understanding of ‘Pantones’.

Pantone is a system of mixing colours used for printing t-shirts with inks. It is a specific way in which you can match colours and ensure that the specified printing inks create the desired texture and graphical output on your apparel. For printing your custom t-shirts, selecting the right type of Pantone is really important.

Here’s how you do it.

Exploring the Pantone Matching System

Customized printing of t-shirts is a relatively technical process. You need to be familiar with how printing methods work and planning your print design. While doing so, it is important to understand the basics of colour-matching systems called Pantones.

The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a way in which designers can specifically match a particular colour with a set of complimentary shades. If you choose to design your custom t-shirt in green colour, then the PMS would refer to a set of colours that match perfectly with green. This method, which is also called ‘spot colour,’ is used in large-scale garment printing.

Pantones are graphically represented with a colour chart. This allows the designer to know how a solid colour would look like on the garment in real life. The Pantone colour chart is filled with catalogues and codes to meet the global ink standards for garment printing. Leading custom t-shirt printing shops and companies have the Pantone book, which is an expensive, one-time purchase. This book provides the reference to designers and manufacturers for colour-matching patterns across multitudes of graphics.

Selecting the Right Pantones for Custom T-Shirts

The need to use Pantone arises while printing custom t-shirts with the screen printing method. To choose the right Pantone, you could match your printing designs with the Pantone that is relatively closest to your desired colours. Alternatively, you could also select a dedicated Pantone code for your design.

When the selected Pantone code is added to the visual printing system, you can preview it before it goes to production. This allows you to see how the colours would appear after they get printed on your t-shirt fabric. So, when your custom t-shirt gets printed, the PMS ensures that these colours match your original design and artwork seamlessly.

There are two specific ways in which Pantone books help you acquire the best-matching colours on your custom t-shirts:

  • Coated Colour Charts

Coated Pantone colour charts add a glossy finish to the colour imprints, and the colour swatches are produced with a saturated look. Coated colours can be used by sending the additional coated codes along with the Pantone codes for screen printing.

  • Uncoated Colour Charts

Uncoated Pantone colour charts do not add a gloss finish to the colour imprints. The printed colour on your custom t-shirt would appear in a “matte” format, which is less saturated. 

Depending on your artwork and design, you can choose between coated and uncoated colours while selecting the right Pantone codes for custom t-shirt printing.

Popular Pantones for Custom T-shirt Printing

When you flip through a Pantone colour book, you’d be totally confused while coming across a never-ending range of colours and vast colour palettes. Here are some of the most popular Pantones used by custom t-shirt manufacturers that could help you in your selection process:

Seasonal hues: Seasonal colours are the most-preferred palettes used for custom apparel. They promote the tone of holidays and are associated with a particular time of the year. A sandy beige (4525 C) or a bold pink (191 C) are regular favourites.

Signature hues: If you are designing custom t-shirts for your company, then you could select the signature hues, which generally range from complimentary green to complimentary purple. Colours from this palette can easily match the shades of your company logo.

Complimentary pairs: Classic Pantone colours can be paired with each other to grant a traditional yet contemporary look to your custom t-shirt. Popular Pantone combinations are Peach and Teal, Orange and Blue, Mint and Violet, and Red and Green.

In the realm of custom apparel design, selecting the right Pantone colours will always remain crucial. Choose a Pantone shade you vibe with the most, and flaunt your style!