DBH, TeePublic, Inkster Shirt Review
|17 min read
KiRAWRa's avatar
By KiRAWRa   |   
18 22 12K (1 Today)
Published:
Finally, here is my long-awaited quality review for the custom shirt-printing companies: Design by Humans, TeePublic, and Inkster! Why did I choose these three sites? They all had different and appealing perks. I recently purchased a few different clothing options from each company so I could assess the quality and help anyone who is have trouble deciding which they should buy from (or sell from!). There are about a bazillion different custom shirt printing companies out there, but I decided to go with these three in particular because:

- The upload process is easy for the artist
- They offer the largest payout to the artist
- The shirts are customizable / they offer a variety of products
- Their products look high-quality
- They frequently have sales and coupons

I will try to address as many aspects of each company as I can in this review, both for the seller (artist) and for the customer. Hopefully I'll cover everything, but if you have any further questions feel free to ask in the comments below! :)
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Design By Humans (DBH)

My Shop

Initial Impression/Why I signed up: One of the first custom shirt-printing companies I came across when I first started looking. Seemed like they had a large following, easy to navigate website, featured designs and held active design contests. Offered more than $2 artist payout per shirt. The company boasts "eco-friendly inks".
Products Available: T-shirts, Tank Tops, Racerbacks, Baseball Tees, Pull-over Hoodies, Zip-up Hoodies, Sweatshirts. They also offer non-clothing options like Art Prints and Phone Cases for a "one-stop shop" aspect.
Styles Available: Men, Women, Children. No unisex.
Colors Available: Large range of colors both light and dark across all product types. Artist can choose which colors to make available to avoid color-clash catastrophes!
Product Prices: T-Shirts: $24-$25. Tank Tops: $24. Sweatshirts and Hoodies: $44-$48. Prints: $18-$52 depending on size. Phone Cases: $35.
Artist Payout: About mid-range for artist payouts - not the best but also not the worst. Should be mentioned that even though this company's shirts are pricier than others, they also give a lower payout. T-Shirts: $3-$3.50. Tank Tops: $3. Sweatshirts and Hoodies: $4.50. Prints: $2.50-$6.50 depending on size. Phone Cases: $3.50-$4.

My Order: I wanted to try more than just T-shirts, so I ordered a zip-up hoodie from DBH. Since my budget was limited, it was the only thing I ordered.
Grand total: $34.00 + $7.79 shipping. When the package arrived, it also came with a coupon for 15% off my next order.
Size/Fit/Comfort: I ordered a Medium, one size up from my normal wear because it is a jacket. Most of the jackets I own are size large, but DBH sizes seem to run a little larger so make sure to check the size chart before ordering. The jacket is 80% cotton, 20% polyseter. Like all polyester jackets, it is very soft when new, but after several washes the inside will start to pill. Has two large tags in the back of the neck, more likely to cut those out. The hood is roomy, jacket is comfy, I like it a lot!
Print Outcome: Smells heavily of ink when first opened and may be a tad sticky, be sure to air it out or give it a wash. Printed image is HUGE across the front of the jacket, and the colors are pretty spot-on (which is concerning for heavily neon-colored designs like I have) minus some of the shaded areas getting a bit too dark. They clearly do color-checks, which is a big worry off the shoulders of the artist. Color separation seems a little fuzzy in some areas, but I attribute that to the porousness/stretchyness of the fabric, the design itself is probably as crisp as you can get with a jacket. One unfortunate bit is that my small signature text saying "©KIRAWRA" did not come out at all and rather just looks like a white smudge. Any letters would have to be much bigger to be legible.

(click images to view larger)



Extra info for Sellers:
- Very easy for artists to upload their work and customize the look of their products for size, color, and orientation.
- Models and templates are provided through an easy click-and-choose system.
- You can opt out of any color or product type if it doesn't suit your design.
- You are provided a graph with your stats, visits, and sales history.
- DBH also hosts design contests for chances to win money and get noticed.
- Unfortunately it is relatively hard to get noticed if you're starting out, as DBH tends to show only popular designs on the front page.
- DBH displays a variety of your designs at once so buyers see more of your available art.
- You can upload your own custom shop banners and integrate social media accounts.
- Sales give you a lower royalty.
Extra info for Buyers:
- Most designs are made available on a variety of clothing options as well as prints and phone cases.
- You can customize size, style, and colors as made available by the artist.
- The website's "recommended designs" are pretty accurate and chances are you'll go broke finding so much art you want to wear.
- Sales and coupons made available on a regular basis.
- You can follow artists you like and get email alerts whenever they upload something new.
- You can upload pictures of you wearing clothing you have purchased! (Seriously this is awesome from a seller's point of view! If you've purchased one of my shirts from here I would be ecstatic if you posted it n.n)
- Social media integration as well as the ability to add products to you Amazon wishlist.

Concluding Statement: DBH has good quality products and prints, and makes it easy for artists to sell more than just clothing. It is unfortunate that they are pricier than other sites along with a lower artist payout, but they offer products that many other sites do not. Because of this, I will continue hosting my designs with them! C:

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TeePublic

My Shop

Initial Impression/Why I signed up: Clean, easy to navigate website. New designs are shown right on the front page, making it easier to get noticed. Frequent sales and artist features. High royalty payout for artists.
Products Available: T-shirts, Tank Tops, Hoodies, Crewnecks. Also offers art, poster, and canvas prints.
Styles Available: Men, Women, Children. Unisex for some.
Colors Available: Large range of colors both light and dark across all product types. Artist can choose which colors to make available to avoid color-clash catastrophes!
Product Prices: T-shirts: $20. Tank Tops: $18. Hoodies: $35. Crewneck: $30. Art Print: $12-$20. Poster: $8-$15. Canvas: $65-$113.
Artist Payout: About the highest you can get for artist payouts that I have found. T-shirts: $4. Tank Tops: $4. Hoodies: $8. Crewneck: $6.50. Art Print: $6-$9. Poster: $3-$7. Canvas: $12-$21.

My Order: Three T-shirts, small. Since T-shirts don't have a unisex option, I chose male.
Grand total: $60.00 + $7.99 shipping. They have frequent sales, so I guarantee you can get a better deal on what you want if you wait for a sale.
Size/Fit/Comfort: Despite ordering male sizes, the shirts fit phenomenally (though they are a little long because of this). Shirts are pre-shrunk 100% cotton. The print isn't the smoothest feeling, but it softens up a little after washing. The shirts have printed-on care instructions and do not come with itchy tags!
Print Outcome: Smells heavily of ink when first opened, be sure to air it out or give it a wash. Printed image is very large across the tee and the colors are bright and vibrant! It is easy to see that they make sure to color-check the print, and these shirts actually color match my original designs the best out of all of my orders. The image itself is incredibly crisp and you are even able to read the little lettering of my "©KIRAWRA" signature. I have absolutely no complaints about these shirts and they are my favorite of the bunch!
Coupon Code: TeeHunter has an exclusive teepublic coupon code that offers 20% off to their readership!

(click images to view larger)





Extra info for Sellers:
- Very easy for artists to upload their work and customize the look of their products for size, color, and orientation.
- Templates are provided.
- You can opt out of any color or product type if it doesn't suit your design.
- TeePublic displays your recent sales, total sales, and royalty earnings.
- If you refer someone, you get a bonus $1 for every shirt they sell! (With that in mind, if you want to sign up, I would greatly appreciate it if you would do so via my referral link! Thanks! tee.pub/lic/NDqUkU2mNo8)
- You can upload your own custom shop banner and integrate social media accounts.
- Sales give you a lower royalty.
Extra info for Buyers:
- All new designs are automatically on sale for 24 hours after being uploaded!
- Frequent sales and coupons made available regularly.
- A variety of clothing options to choose from.
- You can customize size, style, and colors as made available by the artist.
- You can follow artists you like and get email alerts whenever they upload something new.
- Social media integration.

Concluding Statement: I couldn't be happier with the quality of the prints and my ordered shirts! I like the variety of clothing options and colors available as well as their reasonable prices and royalty payouts. TeePublic is my favorite of the three sites and the one I would reccommend buying from due to their constant sales.

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INKSTER

My Shop

Initial Impression/Why I signed up: Colorful website, new submissions are hosted right on the front page and it is relatively easy to get featured. Had the highest artist payout of any site at time of registration. However, they are currently undergoing a website and policy redesign. Website now features less new designs and more "inkster picks" in various categories. Website is a little more convoluted to navigate and I've had to reformat my profile banner and information after it was cleared. Personally I highly dislike the look of the new website. Seller profiles also only show 4 items at a time for whatever reason, causing buyers to have to click through them one at a time to see them all. Preview image on product page is small with a terrible Ebay-esque zoom feature.
Products Available: T-shirts, Hoodies, Tote Bags.
Styles Available: All sizes are unisex.
Colors Available: Very limited range of colors. Artist cannot choose which colors to make available, color-clash catastrophes are entirely possible. T-shirts come in: black, white, grey, tan, blue, red, and green. Hoodies come in black, grey, and blue. Tote Bags available only in tan.
Product Prices: T-Shirts: $20. Hoodies: $35. Totes: $15.
Artist Payout: Instead of setting royalty rate per-product, artists get 20% of all sales. This evens out to: T-Shirts: $4. Hoodies: $7. Totes: $3.

My Order: Two T-shirts. I prefer these designs to be printed on dark navy blue, but that color is not available on this site so I went with black.
Grand total: For some reason the receipt that came with my shirts had all the information except for the prices and payment. I kind of want prices listed on my receipt. Weird. I am going to guess that I paid $40.00 for two shirts plus $6.99 shipping as listed in their FAQ. When it arrived, my order also included some stickers, cards, and notes from what I assume were the employees handling my order. I think it was meant to be cute and funny but I was mostly just confused at some of the messages, which read: "The dingo will eat yo baby if you don't use this sticker", "My dad's name is Rachel!", and "No soup 4 u".
Size/Fit/Comfort: Brand new, both the print and shirt itself is incredibly smooth and soft. They are 100% ring-spun cotton. The shirts have printed-on care instructions and do not come with itchy tags! As a unisex shirt, it actually fits me just a tad snug across the chest and armpit areas. Forward shoulder movement feels a little restrictive, but the shirt is soft and stretchy.
Print Outcome: Smells heavily of ink when first opened, be sure to air it out or give it a wash. Printed image is decently large across the front. I am disappointed by the color outcome, the designs clearly printed too dark and I do not think they have a color-check system in place, meaning that what you see on the screen could have a wildly different outcome when printed on a shirt. This makes me uncomfortable since someone might decide not to buy more shirts if my design did not come out looking the way they expected. There is not good color definition in most places, on the raptor for example you can barely tell the difference between shaded and unshaded areas of the artwork. Both prints also have strange black flecks throughout the design and the color is not solid. Some areas are slightly shifted and you can see the under-layer of the print on the borders. Both prints are quite visually crisp, however one of them looks to have been smudged while printing. Luckily, the lettering of my "©KIRAWRA" signature can be clearly read.

(click images to view larger)





Extra info for Sellers:
- The upload process is a little tricky and time-consuming. They provide templates which you must apply your design to manually rather than just upload, and they require several different kinds of image files.
- Inkster holds new design contests every month to win $100 store credit and become a featured artist. To give other artists a chance, you are only able to win a contest once a year.
- Sales do NOT give you a reduced royalty! Shirts on sale are $14 and you still get your $4!
- Only one payout option, must have Paypal.
- Ability to customize color of products not specified by the artist, meaning someone who is not familiar with color theory may order a design on a terribly colored background and be disappointed with the following result.
- You can upload your own custom shop banner
- Limited social media integration to only Twitter and Tumblr
- You are provided a record of sales sorted by day, week and month, as well as your next total royalty payment.
- Newly uploaded designs go through an approval process and may not be available straight away.
- Inkster "reserves the right to remove a shirt that hasn’t had any sales within a month or so to keep the site clean and running smoothly."
- Layout does not really promote your other designs when viewing a product.
Extra info for Buyers:
- Has a list of "recently viewed items".
- "Compare Product" feature.
- Email Inkster for deals on bulk orders.
- Limited social media integration to only Twitter and Tumblr.
- Layout does not really promote other designs when viewing a product.
- Ability to add products to a wishlist.

Concluding Statement: I believe Inkster has a lot of potential and their royalty payments are some of the highest available, but the quality of the prints does not match what is available from other sites. I also dislike the new website layout due to the black-and-white contrast everywhere providing a poor canvas for viewing artwork. All of the ways in which you view designs throughout the website has also been greatly reduced, making it difficult to get noticed. The result of my printed shirts were discolored and smudgy. After taking the above into consideration, I have decided to pull my designs from Inkster. I will leave them up for a week or so after the posting of this review just in case anyone really wants to buy from them. Please look for my available designs on TeePublic and DBH!

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Thanks so much for reading! Hopefully now you feel a little more informed on what to expect from these three companies. If you have any further questions about the website or my pictured products, don't be afraid to post in the comments! Happy shopping! <3

Dinosaurs are Radioactive! by KiRAWRa Radioactive Styracosaurus by KiRAWRa Radioactive Quetzalcoatlus by KiRAWRa Radioactive Amargasaurus by KiRAWRa Radioactive Spinosaurus by KiRAWRa  Radioactive Carnotaurus by KiRAWRa Bat Nectar by KiRAWRa
Comments22
anonymous's avatar
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SweetLikeCinnamon03's avatar
SweetLikeCinnamon03Hobbyist Digital Artist
So while this is very old, I have one question. With Teepublic, how long did it take for the items to be both shipped out and arrive?
KiRAWRa's avatar
KiRAWRaProfessional Digital Artist
oh boy, it's been a while since I last ordered something from TeePublic! I don't think shipping took any longer than a week, though.
lokiie1984's avatar
As someone getting into using Teepublic, this review was very handy. Good to know that they do good printing. Was worried my stuff would look all weird and blurred out.
KiRAWRa's avatar
KiRAWRaProfessional Digital Artist
Awesome, thanks for reading!
My designs tend to be on the simpler side for usage in printing, but if you were to upload something heavily detailed there's chance you would see some reduction in clarity. I've purchased probably 10 or so shirts from TeePublic and I've been super happy with all of them, but the detailed painterly style images definitely come out a little less crisp. That's the only thing I'd say to look out for, and even then it's not even too big of a deal.
lokiie1984's avatar
I'm doing character shirts for people that played City of Heroes (mmo that was abruptly shut down a number of years ago) so i have been hoping they will print well but not sure. Your review does give me hope though.

You can see the design here, if you wanna give your opinion on how it might print. lokiie1984.deviantart.com/art/…
KiRAWRa's avatar
KiRAWRaProfessional Digital Artist
Well first off, I do hope you have a file larger than that :0
A 600px image isn't going to print well at all, you need something at 300dpi and I'd recommend at least 5 inches large.
But if that's just a preview of a larger image, then the next thing I'd point out is the fade you have going on with the text and the lightning. Low-transparency and fade effects like glow doesn't tend to print very well. Keep in mind this is going to be a template put onto clothing, so there's no way for the printer to really fade into the shirt like that, it's just going to come out choppy looking. I did a design once with a lot of fade art [x] and you can see [here] how it didn't translate well into the print version. Make note that most shirt designs have very clean-cut edges and use only a handful of colors that are striking and different. This character is very detailed and a lot of it is mostly ranges of the same color - just varying degrees of gray. Printed images don't quite have the range of color detail you are able to see on the computer, so I'm afraid that print design might just come out looking blurry and grey with choppy, desaturated fades after the color and detail reduction.
lokiie1984's avatar
Yea, the file itself was like 4500 x 5400 for their largest size wall art so i just used that. I was kinda worried the fading effects might look odd. But on the bright side the company has sent me a free sample printing of the design so if the package ever starts moving in the right direction, i can get a good look at it here soon. (It went from Iowa to Chicago, rather then Iowa to Wyoming, which added a few days to the delivery time. But it was free so i cant complain too much.

If it does come out looking really poor do you happen to know of any other way that i could put these characters on shirts? Even if it was just ironed on might work. Although i hear those don't last very long.

Either way, thanks for your input, it gives me an idea on what to expect at least. If the character looks ok, i could just remove any fading glow effect. Maybe they could at least get their characters done.
Mikemanoart's avatar
Very helpful, thank you!
jimalgar's avatar
jimalgarProfessional Digital Artist
Thanks for this review, I've found it really helpful. Have you ever tried out RedBubble? I'd love to know your thoughts on it as well.
alp-d's avatar
alp-dHobbyist General Artist
Hi, nice review :D and what about society6? Are you familiar with it?
I think sites like society6 and redbubble have a more wide product catalogue, while sites like teepublic and others are exclusive for tees, so if you are going to sell tees is better teepublic, and if you gonna sell mugs and stuff society6 or redbubble are better. That's what I think :la:
KiRAWRa's avatar
KiRAWRaProfessional Digital Artist
I am familiar with Redbubble and have purchased some things from there, but I chose not to sell through them because:
- the percentage of a sale you receive is pretty pitiful
- the artist has very little control over things like size and color
If you're not picky about profit and just want to see your art printed on cool things, Redbubble is fine and also has a large audience, but for something a little more professional I'd recommend other sites.
BackBreak408's avatar
I just ordered from TeePublic so I appreciate your review.

I got a size small shirt for my 5'5'' kinda buff male friend. He likes to wear smalls to show off his guns/muscles, but I am worried about shrinkage the shirt becoming even too small for him. 

Do you think I will run into this problem? How tall are you? I know you said the shirt had a bit of length to it. 
KiRAWRa's avatar
KiRAWRaProfessional Digital Artist
Glad I could help! :)
I am also 5'5"! The Teepublic FAQ mentions this about shrinkage:
"Expect about 5-7% (about a half a shirt size) shrinkage after normal wash for our cotton shirts."
raghadd's avatar
A very helpful review! thank you so much
KiRAWRa's avatar
KiRAWRaProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you for reading!
SergiuHKR's avatar
Can we interview you for TeeHunter.com? If yes, please please reach out, loving the designs.
LLimination's avatar
I agree, your review was super helpful and helped me choose the size of my order from Teepublic. Thank you so much!
KiRAWRa's avatar
KiRAWRaProfessional Digital Artist
You're so very welcome, thank you for taking the time to read through n.n
ElectronicVirus's avatar
ElectronicVirusHobbyist Digital Artist
This is actually a really helpful review! I have been considering joining Tee Public for a while and this solidified my decision on joining. The quality of their prints is good and I love how vibrant the colors came out! ( which is really nice because I love to work with bright colors)
KiRAWRa's avatar
KiRAWRaProfessional Digital Artist
I'm really glad I inadvertently tested them all with my brightest designs, since CMYK to RGB conversion can do some really weird shit to your art when printing, so I probably got the best taste of how they handle colors! Definitely give TeePublic a try ouo
p.s. your designs are awesome, I bet they'll look rad on shirts!
PatchKatz's avatar
PatchKatzHobbyist Writer
Let me say that you look absolutely adorable with the oversized hoodie >w<
I like the designs, and I have to agree that TeePublic seems to be the best of the three. The detail on the close-ups looks very crisp and smooth indeed.
KiRAWRa's avatar
KiRAWRaProfessional Digital Artist
pfft >w<
Yeh I'm super happy with how they came out!
anonymous's avatar
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