Screenprinting Case Study: Afterburn Fitness - The 6 Things They're Doing Right

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#1 They Use High Quality Garments Like Bella-Canvas, All Sport, Tultex, and American Apparel

Shirt choice is one of the main decisions you have to make when getting customized apparel, and the quality can vary tremendously.  All of the shirts we would sell you would be a good durable quality, and you would never have to worry about the garment falling apart, so the entry level shirt is already a good choice.  But there are ways to make shirts even better.  We will be glad to guide you to the right shirt choice for your project, and for Afterburn fitness, they wanted to project an upscale image.  The feel and cut of the shirts produced by Tultex, American apparel, Bella Canvas, and All Sport (formerly Alo Sports and now a part of Bella Canvas) are softer and simply more enjoyable to wear.  Afterburn regularly chooses these types of shirts to host their prints.

To find out more about these companies click on the links below:

American Apparel, Tultex, Bella Canvas, All Sport

#2 They Have a Strategy for Men AND Women

Men and women generally have different tastes and interests when it comes to garments and artwork.  Afterburn knows this and so they will generally create one garment with women in mind, and another garment with men in mind when they are producing a new series of shirts.  Women who work out tend to prefer the tank top, whether loose-fitting or form-fitting.  While some men like tank tanks, they are generally happy with a crew neck shirt.  In the above examples, Afterburn created a tank top with artwork that women will appreciate, the I love squats theme.  And they also created a graphic that they placed on a women's alo sport tank top and a Bella-Canvas unisex crew neck t-shirt.

#3 Focus on the Details


There is certainly nothing wrong with placing your main artwork as a center-chest print because this is the easiest way to directly display your artwork on your garment.  But you don't have to stop with a center chest print if you don't want to, and Afterburn wants to push the garment several steps further than just the main center chest print. Each Afterburn design has a little something to punch it up to a more eye-catching decorated garment.  One way they achieve this is through creative print placements.  In #1 above, you can see a small sleeve print, which is the same design as the main chest print, but making it smaller and putting it on the sleeve gives it a more refined, formal and 'official' look, which elevates the status of the product as a whole.  Item #2 is a sleeve print on the length of the long sleeve of the hoodie.  This gives the garment the Olympic athlete vibe.  #3, in addition to the Alo brand garment with contrast stitching, there is a lower back print (at a slight angle to add interest).  #4 is a tank top with a 'yolk' print, which is a smaller print in the back of the neck area.

#4 Their Designs are Strong

Designs are typically divided into two basic areas: the message and the artwork elements that support the message.  Afterburn provides motivational sayings on some of their designs, such as the "Your Workout is My Warmup" message.  But even a message as strong as this one requires a stylistic typography that supports it.  One of the main design requirements is hierarchy, and in this design you see the focus on the right words to visually reinforce the message.  The "Strong Women Only Intimidate Weak Men" is visually supported by a stronger pink emphasizing the strong women, and a lighter pink calling attention to the weak men.  In some cases, the message is more "dressed up" as in the "dedicated competitor" design in the upper right.  The laurel wreath and shield elements help to underscore the official nature of the specific competition event they were doing at the time.   The "Damage Control" and "For the Athlete in All of Us" design don't have a design that supports the message directly, but they make the message look much more attractive and stylistic.  When you look at the other Afterburn designs displayed in this blog you can't help but be swept away by professionalism, strong attitude, and a level of motivation.  These are exactly the right emotions to hit if you are the kind of gym that Afterburn is.  Further, the message and artwork help to support, strengthen, and reinforce brand identity.  If you look at these shirts, you feel the pull of wanting to get them all, because they are so visually appealing.  The bottom line is that the design quality is such a necessary component of putting together a successful clothing line.  If you don't have a professional designer, we can definitely help you achieve this strong level of design to give your clothing line its best chance of success.

#5 Leverage 1 Setup Across Several Different Garments

 The screenprinting process requires each color to be loaded into its own screen.  This is a part of the setup and it takes a decent amount of time to prepare each job to print.  We use an automatic press, so once the job is set up, we can then print a large quantity of the item in a relatively short period of time.   This means there is no extra effort required to print on a different colored garment, and we can load whatever color or type of garment on the machine that we want.   So if compatible color schemes are used, we can print the same ink combination on different colored garments without any extra fuss and achieve variety in the process.  In this example, we printed the exact same design and color scheme on white and heather grey shirts.  The black and red are a perfect fit for both shirt colors, and create compelling variety.  This will give your customers options, and at no extra cost to the process.  And even better, now you have more products to sell and your customers have two shirts they could buy instead of just the one!  Why choose between heather grey and white?  They both look great, so why not get them both?!

#6 Because They are a Gym, Afterburn Has a Built-In Clientele for Their Clothing Line

Between their two locations in Valencia and South Bay in Southern California, Afterburn Fitness has roughly 2,000 customers.  These gym customers are built in t-shirt customers, but this is only because the Afterburn business model grooms the customer to want the t-shirts.  Afterburn has a different vibe and feel than your standard big box gym, and they really have a much different focus, and that focus is captured by the messaging on their shirts.  Any gym would not be able to put any design on any shirt and expect success.  But because everything is done well at Afterburn and in the right way, Afterburn does 1200-1500 garments per year - 40 different styles and designs with a gross revenue of $24,000.  By doing nothing more than having a storefront and designing shirts, they add an extra $24k in gross revenue. Plus every time you go out in public in Valencia, you’ll likely see someone wearing an Afterburn fitness shirt.  Their customers are paying them to advertise their product. Could your business use an extra $24,000 a year (or more) and advertising to go along with it, without much extra work?

To learn more about Afterburn Fitness find them on the web here

 If you have a business that you think could benefit from having a clothing line, or if you have a brand with t-shirts that isn't doing particularly give us a call at 909-981-0492 or email us at and let us help.  You can also find us on Yelp!

1 Response


May 28, 2016

Very interesting and insightful article!

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