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TerrificT is a Custom Apparel Decorator
We decorate custom apparel with screen-printing, digital printing (aka DTG) and embroidery. We have been doing this a long time, going back to 1987 when we started with homemade screen printing equipment. Those were the days before computer graphics, when we did everything by hand, including hand-cut rubylith (for those artisans who know what that is). This is also the time where is was still more common to call it silk screening, rather than screen printing.
From the beginning, we had a passion for screen printing 4-color process t-shirts. Mr. Terrific was an illustrator and was too young at the time to know that screen-printing full- color images was next to impossible. The reasons are too many to mention here, but the reality at the time was that any attempt at screen printing 4-color process on apparel was a disaster.
This was not acceptable to Mr. Terrific. Though very young, he had hands on education with offset (paper) printing. He knew it could be done and was determined to find a way. So began the life long passion for screen printing and the pursuit of excellence.
By the way, Mr. Terrific did master 4-color process and was producing excellent results all the way back in 1989. But mastering an art is relative to time. What we considered excellence decades ago, is now mediocre. TerrificT is committed to continually pushing the envelope of imprint & embroidery quality, always getting better and staying ahead of the competition.
Mr. Terrific & The TerrificT Story
He Had a Motive
It all started back in 1987 with Mr.Terrific & his pal "Shoe" Mackenzie. These guys were still in college and just
wanted money to go skiing (the kind that involves snow, mountains, and beer). They had the snow. They had the beer.
They didn't have the mountains.
Go West Young Man
Every Midwesterner knows you gotta go west, be it Colorado, Montana, Utah, Idaho or anyplace else in the
Rockies. For Mr. Terrific and Shoe it was "Colorado or Bust". Shoe was now an old pro at Colorado. Heck, he
had been at college in Colorado for two years and while he didn't get any smarter, he sure did ski a lot. From
the sounds of it, he was boundary skiing Telluride or partying at Red Rocks everyday and hanging with the best of
them. (crazy local dudes who apparently made the US Ski team look like a group of 8 year olds at ski school, who
Meanwhile, back at home, Mr. Terrific was attending classes to be a commercial artist. He had grand visions of being a highly sought after airbrush illustrator. He worked through the night most of the time and did well in school. But this didn't stop him from having fun. He found time to jam with his band and fly west or drive north to ski once in awhile.
So Shoe comes home for good. He couldn't afford to go to college and ski full-time. Yet, he couldn't stop yapping about how awesome it was. And Mr. Terrific, who's had a taste of it, couldn't stop listening to these tales of Rocky grandeur.
No one remembers who said it first, but it was along the lines of "So how are we going to make some cash to go skiing out west? "
. . . And that's when it started.
I Got An Idea
Mr. Terrific was in school for commercial illustration and his pal Shoe had just come home from college in
Colorado. He planned to join the same art program as Mr. Terrific. While brainstorming an idea to make ski money,
they thought of selling their art on t-shirts. They even illustrated a bunch of ideas for local parodies they
reckoned they could sell in volume to retail stores.
Mr. Terrific had already taken graphics classes in high school and was now two years into a college program. He figured they could screen print the designs in full color with 4- color process. The ideas kept flowing and the two young men spent weeks sharing ideas. But now it was time for rubber to hit the pavement.
Let’s Screen Print T-Shirts
So now Mr. Terrific & Shoe had to take action. Before they could even think of printing full color
graphics, they had to conquer a simple 1-color silkscreen. So the boys went out to a local art store and bought a
silkscreen, a squeegee and some inks.
They had accepted an order from Mr. Terrific's dad for some navy t-shirts with a gold imprint, using a design Mr. Terrific had created. So they created the screen and setup to print their first t-shirt, carefully following what little directions they had. Oh boy.
Now You See It, Now You Don’t
“Wow!”, they exclaimed. “That looks awesome.” Mr. Terrific was beyond excited. To see
artwork he had created become a real printed t-shirt was a pinnacle moment. He didn’t know it now, but he was
destined to be a screen-print entrepreneur, not a commercial artist. He was hooked.
But wait. Where did the imprint go? This was also the moment, where Mr. Terrific was now destined to a life of trial and error, research & development, and the growing pains for being a top notch screen printer.
The gold imprint on navy t-shirts vanished before their eyes. What happened? Where did it go? Literally the imprint disappeared within minutes of printing. Mr. Terrific went to the books. There was no internet then and very little in the graphics books mentioned about screen printing. Yet, reading between the lines, he figured it out. The inks they bought at the art store were water based and therefore, transparent. They were not opaque enough to cover a dark garment.
Getting A Screen Printing Job
One thing Mr. Terrific has always been, is resourceful. After all, printed t-shirts certainly existed in
1987. So how did the pros print them? Mr. Terrific got a tip from a friend. He went to pay a visit to a screen
printer in the next town over and ask some questions. Not only did he get answers, but he walked out with a trade
magazine, a cup of plastisol ink, instructions and a job.
It seems the screen printer liked Mr. Terrific and gave him all the tools he needed to successfully print on dark t-shirts. He also hired him to do artwork for his t-shirt business, having no issue with the fact that Mr. Terrific was starting his own screen print business.
And The Rest Is History
So now Mr. Terrific and his pal Shoe could get busy. They had some answers and a great working relationship
with an already successful screen printer. They scraped together a few hundred dollars, bought a few specific
necessities and made the rest of the equipment by hand.
They printed that first order of gold ink on navy for dad and it worked flawlessly.
Mr. Terrific managed to get a 10,000 piece printed bag order while still in college and went to the bank, purchase order in-hand, to finance the equipment they would need to produce the first BIG order.
Over the next 20 years, Mr. Terrific added multiple automatic screen printing machines & hundreds of embroidery heads to his operation. TerrificT has production conveniently located in 3 locations across the United States to better serve customers, with Fresno, California on the West Coast, Grand Rapids, Michigan in the Midwest and Binghamton, New York on the East Coast.
. . . and Yes. Mr. Terrific & Shoe did get to ski out west! Only, not as much as they did before they started screen printing. That's business for ya!
So What Now?
If you’ve read this far, you either have nothing else to do or you are serious about purchasing custom
screen printed or embroidered apparel. If you want excellent screen- printing & embroidery at great prices,
TerrificT is the place.
Contact TerrificT For Your Custom T-Shirts & Apparel
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chance you could make
me feel a little special today?"