Category Archives: Image

How to Trademark Your Shirt Design

To trademark your T-shirt design is essential and should be handled with attention to details!  Please proceed with caution and put your best foot forward when it comes to trademarking your design.  While this will take work and effort, you’ll be glad you put the time in!

Here are a few best practices:

The Process:

The goal is to trademark your logo design.  There are a few things to know about this process.  The exclusionary rights go to the one who uses it first in a merchandise exchange.

The right to use the design depends on how far your sales “travel.”  In other words, if you sell your designed shirts in a state then you’ll have the exclusive right in that particular state.

Do Your Homework:

If you want to stand out and be noticed, then do your homework and lots of research.  Please be sure that you are ORIGINAL with your design.  This is truly essential for your brand and trademark.

Consider looking online and even search the US Patent Trademark Office online database for designs that yours may resemble.  Remember, you want to stand out rather than blend in or be mistaken for another brand.  Take great notes as you research and be sure you look at more than just your state.

Tell Everyone:

Now it’s time to let the public know about your latest and greatest trademarked design.  There are several steps.   First, register your design locally and then continue this process for any other state you plan to sell your design.

The basic steps to do this are to go to the secretary of state website to fill out the application, pay a fee and present your design.  This can get pricey but you’ll have officially given the public notice.

Time to Sell:

Officially, you can start selling and you should get on it immediately.  Spread the word to your area and beyond.  Always remember to save the receipt for your first sales per state.  This will show proof of first commerce.  Your trademark rights will apply in the states that you have sales.

The Next Level:

You’re now ready to go national.  Be thinking bigger and how you can expand your trademarked design.  At this point, you can go for a filing basis called “First Use.”  Simply put, this means that you are the first one to use the design for business purposes.

To conclude, these steps are all important.  The process will take some time but you’ll be glad you went through it.  Be sure to use a trademark symbol each time you use your design.

Garment Decorating Success!

The retail and clothing industry is flourishing and so is the art of garment decorating.  This technique to improve apparel appearance is wide spread throughout the industry.  There are so many options that it’s hard for a company to know which method is best.

For certain, plain is out and decorative is in.  Companies want to get the best bang for their buck when it comes to garment decorating.  There are several ways to do this and all of them end up with a great finished product.

How does one decide which method to use?  There are quite a few to choose from but check out the four below that have proven quite popular.

4 techniques for garment printing include:

  1. Screen Printing

This method is an oldie but a goody.  The process of screen printing onto a garment can cost more at the beginning but ultimately is worth the money later.

With this method, a picture is reproduced by dividing the design into a series of individual colors.  The sheer number of colors used for the garment can change the price.  The more you plan to print the less you’ll “feel” of the set up costs.

Screen printing involves exposing the colors on the screen and then aligning the press so that the colors will register correctly.  Remember, the more you print the better off you’ll be cost wise.

    2.  Digital Printing

This is a great method to decorate clothing because it can print without the initial set-up costs that you find in screen printing and other methods.  Companies like this option because it’s easier to customize their designs.  Digital printing is growing in popularity.

    3.  Dye Sublimation

This digital printing method is one where sublimation paper is put through a dye-sublimation inkjet printer and then the paper is pressed via a heat press.  The heat helps to inject the ink into the apparel item.  Dye sublimation works best on light colored clothing.

     4.  Print-cut decorating

The process of print-cut decorating is similar to dye sublimation; however, it is printed on a vinyl material rather than paper.  The extra vinyl material is diminished and leaves only the image area which is pressed onto a garment with heat.

Whether you want to screen print, use a digital technique, dye sublimation or print-cut decorate your product, you’ll be able to satisfy your customers with a variety of options.  Garment decorating is popular, easy, well received and offers a variety of techniques that are used in the market.

Artwork Ownership Basics – Who Really Owns Your Art?

When you have designers create artwork for your company, who owns the design? Are you allowed to use it anyway you like? Do you have to give credit? These are questions that might have answers that will surprise you.

In General, Who Actually Owns the Art?

As a general rule of thumb, you can assume that the person who drew the work actually retains the rights. Even if you were charged a fee for the artwork, the person who put it together actually owns the copyright.

The Copyright Act of 1976 (USC Title 17) was put into place in order to protect artists and their work. Independently contracted artists retain the rights to the work they create for their clients unless otherwise specified.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are some exceptions to the copyright act that was established. If an artist is work for hire, then the one who hired them owns the work.

For example, if a person is hired by a company and they pay an hourly or salary wage to the individual, then their artwork is owned by the one who pays the salary. That would be considered a duty or responsibility of the job.

If you hire a person on staff to draw or create artwork, then you have the rights to the work they create.

Agreements Should Be Made Ahead of Time

It is important that you understand that without an agreement, when you hire an independent contractor or firm, they have the rights to the artwork they put together for you. That is why it is very important to get written contracts ahead of time.

Be sure that you ask the firm or independent contractor to draft an agreement with you stating that you retain ownership of the artwork and that they relinquish the rights. The same goes with print shops.

If you do not own the rights to the artwork that is created for you, then the artist has the ability to charge you for its use. Basically, the fees you have paid to the artist is for their time, not their finished product. Get it in writing!

 

Performance Wear

Performance apparel is one of the fastest growing sectors of today’s garment industry.

What is performance apparel?

These are garments that perform with a purpose.  They help athletes and active people keep cool, comfortable, and dry through managing moisture.

Polyester fabric has become the fabric of choice by many of the manufactures as it can be engineered to wick moisture away from the body.  In its simplest form, Polyester is plastic.   The same material used in making beverage bottles.

So how do you embellish plastic?

Screen printing is one option.  But when you place ink on a water wicking shirt you terminate the breathability of the garment.  All of the sudden, you’re drenched in sweat!

Embroidery is a common choice by the corporate community.  They are looking for style, fashion, and notoriety.  The problem with embroidery can be the puckering effect.  Many embroiders treat polyester the same as cotton and are not making the necessary changes to their sewing process.

A relatively new alternative is laser etching.  Laser etching uses a light beam to peel back microscopic layers of the fabric to create a permanent toned-down marking.  Some of our clients like to refer to it as a tattoo effect.   The water wicking stays intact; now you are wearing cool and innovative clothing without the billboard effect.

View our video Embroidery VS. Laser Etching