THE THREADLESS STORY
Threadless began as a small online design competition. The community voted on a winning design that was then printed on a t-shirt and put up for sale. In just over decade Threadless has become one of the largest international online t-shirt retailers — and is still printing community design competition winners. Their product offering has expanded from simply t-shirts to high end fashion pieces, iPhone cases, home decor compliments along with many other apparel and accessory items. Threadless strives to offer unlimited creative freedom to the community designers and then uphold the artist’s intention when translating the digital design to print. When it comes to printing on a t-shirt, unlimited creative freedom and accurate reproduction presents a challenge. Enter Sharprint.
Sharprint first met their Chicago neighbor, Threadless, in 2006. At the time, Threadles community artists were only able to incorporate 4-6 spot colors in a design. Sharprint had been printing simulated process for 20+ years and could offer over twice the number of colors artists could work with in terms of print capability. In addition, Sharprint had the ability to offer an extensive line of specialty inks including metallics, foils, high-powered glow, and high density to name a few. Talk about creative freedom!
As the artist’s representative, Threadless required physical printed proofs for all designs going to print. Sharprint worked with Threadless to design a specialized process for pre-press art handling and design proofing that is used to this day for efficient approvals on both ends. As the artists leveraged their new creative options, Sharprint was challenged to print bigger and in more non-traditional areas of the t-shirt. Rising to the challenge, Sharprint co-ordinated weekly internal R&D meetings to trouble shoot Threadless specific design aspects and leverage our equipment to it’s fullest.
Over the years, Sharprint has expanded it’s print capabilities to meet the needs of the Threadless artists and satisfy consumer demand. This has included, but is not limited to, water-based, discharge, all-over and digital printing. As Threadless continues to grow we look forward to sharing new decoration techniques, print processes, and creative freedoms to have at their disposal.
Tour of Sharprint's Ink Room - produced by Threadless