“We take care of the small bands and businesses,” Dan Garza of A Small Print Shop told us, “We’re more for the little guys than the big guys.”
This desire to take care the little guys stems from once being them too. “Bands and screen printing go hand in hand,” Dan explained. Formerly in a band himself, he started taking on all of the design and print work that they needed done for their merchandise (or in band-speak, “merch”).
Since transitioning into the professional print world, they’ve seen the desires of the music world drastically change. “There’s basically been a reverse in the ‘indie’ world—people have gone from looking for handouts to looking for the nicest things,” Dan explained.
For example, the shop’s most recognizable work is the design they did for The Lumineers—a print that looks like an eye exam chart. The band wants all of their shirts printed on the softest tri-blends, with a great attention to detail and quality.
“If you make something brilliant for yourself, it’s brilliant for your final user too,” Dan explained, “Creating good work is good for your heart.”
With screen printing, they’re always learning their limitations and experimenting with new techniques. “We’re finding out what we can’t do and don’t have any shame about it,” Dan told us.
For instance, they’re testing printing halftones—they’ve created a screen to show them exactly what they’re capable of and how these tones work on different shirt shades. The same goes for discharge printing, a process that removes dye from a dyed shirt to leave the natural fabric or a white pigment. With these shirts, there’s no leave-behind feel of ink. Next up on their list? Waterbase printing.
“We’ll be stoked on a print for weeks knowing we can do it,” Dan told us.
Photos by Collin Hughes