How to count colors

Color swatches

They don’t teach you how to count screen printing colors in kindergarten.

That’s why many people, understandably, think that a logo that is light blue and dark blue is a 1-color logo. But for screen printing (and sometimes other design purposes, as well), it would be considered 2 colors.

Screen printing inks are mixed ahead of time and are applied to t-shirts one at a time, so each shade is counted as a separate color. A design with fewer colors will help you save money on screen printing costs.

2-color logos


WordUp AZ T-Shirts

WordUp t-shirt screen printing closeup

What do we do when an email comes in midday on a Tuesday from someone needing t-shirts printed for an event that Saturday?

We make it happen. 

Cody Landefeld was part of planning Gangplank Avondale’s WordUp event (pics), an unconference for WordPress developers. He created a t-shirt design and needed screen printing done in time for the fast-approaching event. We found shirts with enough kelly green stock available on short notice (it was right before St. Patrick’s Day, so this was an issue), and expedited the order for delivery on Friday.

When conference attendees arrived, the WordUp tees were there waiting for them.

The Best in Bags

Who do you want to reach? And what do they need to carry? Help them take a load off by giving them a useful product to remember your organization by. You can screen print bags or embroider them, and you don’t need to know anyone’s size (so there’s times to choose a tote over a t-shirt). Here are some of our faves to get you started.

For conference attendees: Totes

Put your event name on these totes and attendees can continue to use them as shopping bags, remembering your message long after the event.


cotton tote bag

1. Tight budget? The Budget Tote is a simple and cost-effective option for tradeshows, giveaways, and conferences. Straps come in Hunter, Black, Navy, Red, or Natural.


100% cotton tote with extra long handles

2. Need more room for swag? If exhibitors will be loading attendees down with catalogs, samples, or promotional products, the Port & Company Over-the-Shoulder Tote is a sturdier option with longer 11-inch handles to make it easier to carry it all through the convention hall.


Shopping tote made from 100% certified organic cotton.

3. Looking for a more environmentally-friendly bag? The Port Authority Organic Cotton Grocery Tote is made from 100% certified organic cotton.


For people with an active lifestyle: Drawstring bags

If your customer base is made up of runners, workout warriors, yogis, gym rats, or anyone who likes to get moving, they’ll appreciate a bag they can throw a change of clothes in and go.


 Polyester workout bag

4. The Liberty Bags “Coast to Coast”  Drawstring Bag includes a zipper pocket and is available in Black, Light Tan, Navy, Purple, Red, or Royal.


Bag made from natural fibers with rope straps.

5. For a more natural feel, go with the Alternative Jute Cinch Sack Backpack, made from natural vegetable fibers and rope straps that cinch it shut. It’s available in Lava Red, Iron, or Natural.


For travelers: Pack it in!

6.  Each of the Port Authority Stow N Go Totes (available in large or small) folds up into its own pocket. These are great to tuck into a suitcase or purse or to hang up by the attached carabiner in a car or RV. It comes in a wide variety of colors including Tangerine, Caronlina Blue, Black, Maroon, Royal, and Tropical Pink.

Messenger bag

7. The custom-weathered Alternative Muir Woods Messenger Bag would make a great gift for clients with carry on or as a thank you to your team. It’s a canvas/organic cotton blend and has 3 internal pockets and a magnetic closure on the main compartment. Colors include Grass, Sand, or Slate.


Totes awesome, right?! (Yes, that terrible pun is your reward for reading all the way to the bottom.)

Whether you’re looking for bags for conference attendees or customers, to thank volunteers or to promote to potential clients – or even if you’re still looking for shirtslet us know how we can help!

4 New Ways to Wear Your Organization or Event Name

There are some neat new apparel options out now for your company, club, team, organization or next event.

Here are some of my favorite functional, fashionable and funky finds!


1. Taller tees

Hanes Beefy T Tall T-Shirt
First, good news for the tall guys: Hanes Beefy Ts now come in tall sizes! I know some of you are always on the lookout for shirts with longer tails. Now you have a quality, heavyweight option for yourself or the tall guy(s) in your organization. Also, Hanes still lets you count each t-shirt in your order as a “box top” for your local school.


2. On-Trend Dolman Sleeve Tops

BELLA+CANVAS Women's Flowy Draped Sleeve Dolman Tee

BELLA+CANVAS Women’s Flowy Draped Sleeve Dolman Tees are great for women looking for a more sophisticated alternative to a basic t-shirt. We can incorporate your logo into a design that will fit the stylish look of the shirt either for fashion-forward employees or as part the branded merchandise you offer your fans!


3. Sun Shielding Hats

Adams® Extreme Outdoor Cap

If you work outside, Adams Extreme Outdoor Caps can help you brave the heat. It includes an extended visor and neck cape that rolls up when not in use. It has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of over 45. We can embroider them with your organization name, and even put each individual team member’s name on the other side, so no one gets their sweaty hats mixed up.


4. Custom T-Shirt Dying

We now offer custom dyed apparel. Whether you’re looking for trendy ombre or funky tie dye, we can customize your shirt with your colors and style. Super to show team spirit for sports or school shirts – or for any group that wants a unique look.

Stay tuned for our upcoming post on the best in bags.

In the meantime, what do you need? Contact us – we’re happy to help you outfit your team!

Shirts and hoodies. Word.(Camp)

WordCamp Phoenix has a reputation for being one of the best user conferences for website/blogging platform WordPress.  A big part of what makes it great is the army of volunteers who make it happen.

Event organizers entice (and thank) volunteers with a much-sought-after hoodie that is not available to the public. We were proud to be asked to be part of this event and provide the prized hoodies, as well as attendee t-shirts.

Really sweet WordCamp Phoenix t-shirts.

Since the event was in mid-January, we started early to work around the holiday schedule.

We searched high and low to find t-shirts in a shade of blue to match the WordPress logo. Once we found those, we chose hoodies in a mocha color that would complement the t-shirts and the travel motif designer Lori Pasulka had created for the event.

Our initial t-shirt design had the event name off to the side, so the printing would go over the sleeve a bit with the tagline running up right side and the logo on the back.

Original WCPHX t-shirt design.


The hoodies initially had the event name and tagline on the right side of the hoodie in the stencil font Lori had chosen for the website’s headings.

WordCamp Phoenix 13 hoodie design



When worn together, the t-shirts would just say “Word.”

WordCamp Phoenix 2013 hoodie and t-shirt design


The WordCamp team made some revisions to the fonts and placement of the designs before they were ready for us to send them to print.

WCPHX final hoodie and t-shirt designs

When we delivered the 18 boxes of t-shirts and hoodies to Gangplank, I think event organizer Carol Stambaugh may have literally jumped for joy! She loved the colors, simple designs and quality product.  In fact, there was so much buzz that a photo of the (previously) top secret hoodies was leaked on Facebook.

Boxes of t-shirts and hoodies

Due to the event’s popularity and last-minute registrations, Carol was concerned that there weren’t going to be enough shirts and wanted to know about the possibility of another run right before the event. Usually, a second run of a design is not cost effective. However, we were able to work it out, so that WordCamp Phoenix got the second order of tees at the same price point as the first. They were done by the first day of the event, in time to replenish their stock and make sure there were enough tees to go around.

Thanks to Carol and her team, WordCamp Phoenix was again a huge success! They did a super job. And I hope those WordPress blue t-shirts and super comfy hoodies helped at least a little.


April Holle and Carol Stambaugh with a hoodie and a shirt.

I’ll be posting photos from WordCamp on our Facebook page. (Which reminds me, have you liked our page yet? We post great things about community events and small business resources!)



3 Moments Behind the Scenes at Bold Avenue

Stage curtain

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at a few of last year’s projects, with sketches and stories that didn’t make it into the original posts.



While working on Bradford Jones Photography’s marketing collateral, he sent me a selection of his photos to choose from to use on the postcard. I emailed him to suggest we feature a particular photo of a bride hugging her dad – even though you could only see part of the man’s face and none of the woman’s, I felt it really told a story and would appeal to his target audience. After expounding on why the father/daughter photo would be particularly meaningful for this piece, Bradford let me know the photo was actually of a bride and groom. Whoops.


trivial pursuit game piece
Game piece by Leo Reynolds. CCL.
Early sketches for Audience Audit web icon project.
Preliminary sketches for Audience Audit web graphic project.
Audience Audit segmentation web icon
Final icon for Audience Audit website, “What the $%&# is Segmentation?” page.

Divide by Pie As a graphic designer, you always have to make sure your design elements communicate your intended message and don’t look like some other random object. Like a board game piece. Yeah.
I was hard at work on the web icons for Audience Audit, when I got suddenly worried that the segmentation icon (which is round and divided into wedges), might bear a passing resemblance to a Trivial Pursuit game piece. I googled Trivial Pursuit images. And I considered dividing the icon into 8 pieces instead of 6. But 6 worked so much better with the color palette and balanced out the triangles and other “threes” in the graphics so nicely. On top of that, Audience Audit often discovers about 6 segments of a client’s audience. (If you’re not familiar with their work, you can read more on their site.) The point is, 6 just seemed to be the right number. So I took one segment and moved it out, so it was partly outside of the circle – as if someone were serving up a piece of pie. A much tastier solution!

Mexican embroidery peacock design.
Photo via A Beautiful Mess.


Niki Blaker and I were given a jump start on designing the Ignite T-Shirts. The Ignite team and Splinter Creative had already chosen a palette of pink, purple and other vibrant colors and a look (Mexican floral embroidery style). It all looked great on the printed page.

The challenge came in translating those elements into something a diverse group of volunteers would all be happy to wear. When a design got too busy, Niki would look at me and say “Would you wear that?” “No,” I’d admit. “Would you?” If a concept passed that test, then we’d ask “Would Chris Conrey wear that?” (Why him? I’m not exactly sure. We were at Gangplank, and he probably walked by. Plus, we didn’t think he’d wear anything overly fussy or floral.)

Getting to a design that passed the Conrey test was definitely a high-five moment.

Ignite t-shirt design


What is the best file type to send to my graphic designer?

You need shirts. Or swag. Or signage. Or social media graphics. Or…something with your logo on it.

There’s a good chance that you have your logo in at least a couple different file formats on some harddrive someplace or attached to an email. Which version do you send us (or whoever is designing your stuff)?

New clients often ask us this. Although it may vary a bit depending on the project, here are some rules of thumb to guide you as you sift through all those files.


The best: Vector art.

The best type of file to send a graphic designer or printer will generally be vector art (a.k.a. vector graphics). These files are the most versatile and can be scaled to any size without getting distorted or pixilated. They are usually created by professional designers and may end with .eps, .ps, .ai, .svg or .pdf. (However, the only way to know for sure is to open the file in a program like Adobe Illustrator, so just send it on over. We’ll take a look and let you know if it works.)


Next best thing: High resolution.

If you don’t have a file with one of those extensions, the next best thing is the highest resolution file you have. Not sure which file is the highest resolution? I usually just suggest people send over the logo file with the biggest file size, and (again) we’ll take a look. For certain projects, this may work. Otherwise, the logo may need to be re-created and higher resolution in order to stay true to the original.

If all else fails…

  • The logo on your website is most likely too low resolution for printed materials (as well as signage, clothing, promotional products, etc.) but may work for web projects.
  • Individual, isolated images are better than graphics inserted into another program, such as Word or PowerPoint.
  • A transparent file (such as a transparent PNG) is better than a non-transparent file (JPG).
  • If you must email a logo from printed material, a high quality, color scan is better than a low quality, black and white copy. If possible, bring (or mail) us the hard copy, and we can make sure it’s scanned with the best resolution.
Note: Changing the name/extension of a file is not the same as changing the format. It is best to send files as they are, even if they are not in an ideal format.


Something to think about

Are you having trouble locating a good logo file, because it was created a long time ago? Or perhaps it was just a “starter” a friend or family member did as a favor to help you get going? It may be time to think about updating your logo and upgrading to a more professional image. I’m happy to have a conversation with you about that. Give me a call.



Here's to seven years!

7 years ago today, I started a business.

It begin as a side project, an experiment, the proverbial dipping in the toe. I found my stride, and the business flourished.

Now Bold Avenue is known for print design and t-shirt awesomeness and can manage the entire production process from design to delivery.

And we are going to be expanding our t-shirt services very soon and in a very exciting way! I can’t wait to see how things have grown and changed by this time next year!