The artwork you upload should meet the following guidelines:

  1. The size of each image should not exceed 20 MB.
  1. The file formats supported are PNG and JPG; if an image has transparent pixels, PNG format is highly recommended.
  2. The image DPI (dots per inch) should be at least 150, preferably over that.

If the DPI is not high enough, the design may turn out to be pixelated. Higher DPI ensures that details can be printed out perfectly.

Although 150 DPI is sufficient in most cases, it won't hurt to make it even higher if the image contains intricate details. For the best print quality, you can start with 300 DPI.

When designing your artwork, create the files at 100% of the print dimensions at 300 DPI. This will ensure a sharp image that isn't blurry or pixelated. Your image should remain sharp even when your artwork elements are sized down for printing. Remember to not scale artwork up (unless it is a vector file) as this will also cause pixelation.

1. Choosing Colors:

Keep in mind, very subtle color differences between colors in your artwork and the base color of the product (for example, A dark gray design on a black shirt) may not print as expected. Typically, RGB screen colors appear more vibrant onscreen than CMYK colors printed on products.

Onscreen view Printed outcome
color saturation image example color saturation image example
color saturation image example color saturation image example
color saturation image example color saturation image example

2. Set a modest print size:

The size of a design should be based on the purpose of the shirt, the properties of the garment, and the characteristics of the design itself.

Keep in mind that certain shapes, like circles and squares, look better when sized smaller than standard. Consider the total surface area of the print, not just the width and height.

Pro tip: Sizing Print out your design with a home printer on regular paper (you may need to split between two or more sheets and then tape them together) and cut off the excess. Then hold it up to your own shirt in the mirror to get an idea of exactly how it will look.

3. Get the placement right:

Print placement differs from print location. It’s the exact measurement of where to print the design within the location.

If you’re choosing unique print placement, make sure you have a good reason. Many people new to T-shirt design don’t know that a standard full front placement isn’t halfway between the shirt’s top and bottom. It’s actually around 7-10 cm from the collar. So a common mistake is the belly print, and it’s never flattering.

4. Focus on fonts and typography:

Typography, in its most basic form, is the visual arrangement of words (not to be confused with the font, which is the style of the text). Anytime text gets printed or displayed, good or bad, there is typography involved.

In graphic design, typography is the art of typesetting: arranging type in a way that makes sense, along with choosing appropriate typefaces (fonts), making sure the letter spacing and line spacing is correct, and designing the way the words interact with the graphic elements to be aesthetically pleasing.

But you don’t need to be a trained artist to get the typography right. You just need to follow some basic rules.

Pro tip: Fonts If you remember only one rule of typography, make it this one: "Never use more than three different fonts in a design." It creates a busy and chaotic look. Plus, the graphic design police will come after you.

5. Ensure image quality:

One of the most common problems with customer-submitted art files is that images are “low resolution”.

Ideally, images should be 200 dpi or higher at full size. Up to 300 dpi is best. Images from the web are typically 72 dpi, and not at the size to be printed.

Another issue with low-res images is visible artifacts from compression. Keep in mind, the print will only be as clear as the image we’re starting with– so starting with a high-quality image is key.

6. Be careful with colors:

Color choice is one of the most important decisions. Not only for design reasons but if you want screen printing, to make sure the job fits your budget. More colors equal more cost per item. Typically, screen printing is better suited for solid colors and a limited color palette.

Pro tip: ColorsYou should think about colors from the moment you start design. Colors can actually have specific effects on people. Advertisers are well aware of this, and you should be too. It pays off to do some basic research about color theory. It will help you choose secondary and tertiary colors that will work best for your design.

7. Consider the contrast:

Contrast is a part of color choice, but it’s a specific and important part to consider. What exactly is contrast? Its the degree of visual difference between the darker and lighter parts of an image, or the way shades of colors correspond to each other.

High-contrast designs are easier to read and more in-your-face, while low-contrast designs are more subtle. The strongest contrast is always going to be black-on-white or vice versa. Bright colors on a dark background are going to be high contrast.

Pro tip: Contrast On dark backgrounds, the lightest colors visually come forward in space, while darker colors recede. On light backgrounds, the effect is the opposite: darker colors will visually come forward in space. Use this effect to your advantage as you plan out your design.

⇒ For more advice and inspiration, you can look at some real-life examples of T-shirt design improvements.

Last updated on 09/10/2023