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Usually if you have a lot of colors in your design, the setup screen printing costs are usually very high and the printer will opt for digital print your design. Digital printing has no setup costs and allows for unlimited colors on your design, but the cost of each print is much higher than the cost of screen printing.
If you only make a small order (less than 12) shirt, feel free to go wild and have lots of gradients and colors you want on your design, because chances are it will be digitally printed custom t-shirts. To learn more about color, color suggestions check out my guide. You can but custom sublimation t-shirts from various online sources.
Shirt Color Matters too
Screen printing on a dark-colored shirt typically costs more than print on a light-colored shirt. The reason behind this is that for the color of the ink in their full vibrancy in dark clothes, the underlying ink is required.
The underlying ink is stored in, and then the true colors of your design placed upon it. Many screen printers call this process "flash", and it adds a small charge for each print.
In general, print your design on a light-colored shirt cheaper than dark-colored shirt (as a side note, a light-colored shirt is usually cheaper than a dark-colored shirt too).