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Zazzle Light Design on Dark T-shirt Review (Hanes)

Zazzle is a print on demand company that has been around for quite some time (they were founded in 2005) and becoming more popular each year. Like any other print on demand t-shirt company, they print your t-shirt only when an order is placed. Even though they have a large variety of product categories to choose from today, a few years back they started mainly with t-shirts.

Since they are quite a veteran when it comes to selling t-shirts online, and since they specifically have a “Geek” section under their Clothing & Accessories > T-shirts category now, we decided to buy one. Why not?

They’ve got some pretty decent geeky t-shirt designs on their site, but I decided this time I was going to make my own design. And so I opened up my favorite image editor and came up with one very simple, still pretty geeky design.

Nothing too fancy, but anyhow, here it is:

The original image is 2100 pixels width x 1800 pixels height, print size 14 inch x 12 inch (my resolution is 150 pixels per inch). I got this size from what people at Zazzle forum are sharing, and since these people have been designing t-shirts and whatnot on Zazzle for a long time, I supposed I shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

And now, this is how the design is supposed to look on a t-shirt, as modeled by a Zazzle model on their website (click the image to see it live on Zazzle website):

Pretty neat, huh? Nice and readable from miles away, so it seems. I was pretty excited and ordered one immediately, except that I chose a gray t-shirt to go along with the design. I thought gray would compliment the text pretty nicely.

Low and behold, this is the actual t-shirt I got (click the image to see it in full size):

As it turned out, the actual design ended up being too small compared to the simulated one above. I was pretty disappointed about that. But admittedly, the design should probably be at least 300 pixels per inch to begin with, while my design is only 150 pixels per inch. My fault. I’m not so sure now if I got this part from Zazzle forum or if I just absent-mindedly put 150 pixels per inch in the field when I created the graphic. Probably the latter. But anyhow, because of this, the quality of the print is also not very satisfying.

What I like about the print job is that the design is embedded into the t-shirt fabric rather than sitting on top of it. I always prefer this method of printing. What I don’t like, though, is the fact that the letters started cracking only after first wash.

This is a zoom in on the print, take a closer look at the letter “C”, you will see a tiny hole on the upper part of letter C, after only one wash. Sign that the print will not likely to last very long (click the image to see it in full size):

After a few more washes, more letters started to crack. The t-shirt has always been washed in cold water, with the t-shirt turned inside out each time, hang to dry, and never ironed. I blame this on the design still. I suppose if you start with a high quality design (higher pixels/dots per inch) the better your t-shirt will turn out. Oh, well, lesson learned.

The t-shirt itself is a pretty durable, high quality t-shirt (I chose Hanes). The fabric is pretty thick, and you can’t really see through it unless you hold it against the light, which is nice. I don’t like t-shirts that are too thin that you can see through it easily. After a few washes, the seams are still sturdy and perfectly intact. But I would prefer if the t-shirt isn’t too stiff, I’d like it a whole lot better if it is a little softer to the touch. Overall, though the t-shirt won’t be my most favorite t-shirt in the world, I’m still quite happy with it.

T-shirt quality: 3.9 / 5
Printing quality: 2.5 / 5
Website interface: 4.5 / 5
Shopping ease: 4.5 / 5

Overall: 3.9 / 5


Have been geeking out the universe since 20,000 B.C. writing apps on stone tablets. By apps, I mean apprehensions.

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