The DesignAShirt Story

Nearly 40 years of loving what we do.

Our Story - How DesignAShirt Began

The roots of our love for printing go back nearly 40 years. In the early 80′s, John Anton, a newly crowned Sun Devil was not quite sure about where his future was headed. In pursuit of a Marketing degree and armed with an entrepreneurial spirit, a whim and a soon to be maxed out credit card (the first of 67), John decided to print 200 t-shirts for an upcoming ASU vs. USC football game. Within 2-hours, John’s t-shirts quickly sold out. For the next couple of years, John became a permanent fixture at college events and became known as the campus t-shirt guy. After graduating from ASU with his degree and pressured to “find a real job”, John lasted 3-months in the corporate world before returning to his t-shirt business. John’s renewed belief in his business prompted him to purchase his own screen-printing equipment and set up shop in his garage. When his HOA finally caught on to what he was doing, he took a huge gamble, rented out his house, sold his car and used his life savings to buy a 3,600 sq. ft. warehouse on Scottsdale Road in Tempe, Arizona. With no where to live, John promptly moved into Anton Sport’s warehouse.

The first big break came with with an order to produce the official shirts of the PGA’s Phoenix Open. That order changed his life and his custom t-shirt & apparel business was off to a roaring start…In the ensuing years, Anton Sport (our sister company) grew to include a staff of 40+ employees and a major expansion that tripled the size of the building to over 10,000 sq. ft. and John saw this as an opportunity.

Website Launch

As the surge in online sales continued, John hired a software development company to build a web-based design system. No more waiting for proofs. No delays for artwork revisions. The customer would now be in complete control of the design process. Finally, after numerous delays and sleepless nights, went live in 2003. Today, has printed millions of custom t-shirts and apparel for our customers all over the U.S.A. 20 years later, our goal remains the same; provide exceptional quality products, prints, and experience to our customers. In 2022 we launched this new version of the website. A faster, more streamlined, experience was developed to give you a better flow in creating your own custom merch. 


DesignAShirt History Infographic