How to Print the USA Flag on T-Shirts
We get the request to print the United States flag on shirts on a regular basis. When we first started printing, we didn’t think much of this request. However, after we hired a veteran of the Navy, we learned there is more to printing the flag than we had originally thought.
If you search online, there are a lot of guidelines for flag usage. Some of them are a bit vague, others don't account for all current and potential uses, but there are two really important guidelines for screen printing the American flag on shirts - ‘stars before bars’ and the official colors.
The most common placement for the U.S. flag on a shirt is a sleeve. The sleeve in which it is worn is up to the individual customer, but the direction the flag faces is not. As our employee was fond of saying, ‘stars before bars’. This means that the stars on the flag should be towards the front of the body and the "bars" or stripes on the flag follow behind. It is meant to mimic the way the flag would be positioned as it was held aloft and carried into battle.
Colors are often a subjective matter. People interpret colors differently, lighting can change, and that can lead to varying expectations for a print. Using Pantone colors helps us establish consistent expectations. For the U.S. flag, there are specific Pantone colors for the red and blue. The red in the flag is PMS 193 and the blue is PMS 282. The red is pretty traditional, but the blue is a bit surprising for some people because it is navy, not royal.
When we get a request to print the U.S. flag, these are the two standards that guide us and we make sure our customer understands before we print.