Design Tips for Screen Printing

Woman typing on a computer with her co-worker, screen print and blog.

So, you have an idea for a cool t-shirt but don’t know where to start or how to bring your idea to life? That’s where we come in. Before you send your design off for screen printing, it’s important to take a few factors into consideration. We know that coming up with your design can be daunting, which is why we’ve assembled a list of things to consider and questions to ask yourself when creating your design. 


T-Shirt Styles
The style of your shirt will determine where and how big your design should be. For example, you’ll have to change your design if you’re planning on using a v-neck instead of a scoop neck.

  • What style of t-shirt are you printing on?
    • Scoop neck? Crew neck? A tank top? A pocket t-shirt?
  • Are you printing adult t-shirts or children’s t-shirts?

Some fabrics, like 100% cotton, are great for printing, and some fabrics are much harder to print on, like Nylon. Different fabrics absorb colors differently, so it’s beneficial to do your research before picking a fabric. It’s also important to choose your fabric based on how your t-shirt is going to be used.

  • What fabric are you printing on?
  • Do you need breathable and/or moisture-wicking fabric?
  • Are you looking for a soft and lightweight shirt or do you want a heavier fabric?

Consider Your Market
Considering your market is crucial to ensuring that your customers, team, or staff love the design. Do your research and find out what the current apparel and color trends are.

  • Who is your demographic?
  • What do they like to wear?
  • What colors are on trend currently?
  • Will your t-shirt design fit your target demographic?

Placement & Sizing
The placement of your design is so important because bad placement can kill your whole design. Nothing should be printed over seams, zippers, and pockets. In addition to the placement of your design, you will want to ensure that the size of the design works in conjunction with your placement choice. If you’re printing on a tank top or a children’s top, you’ll need to keep our design relatively small as to not overpower the shirt.

  • Where is your design going?
    • Left/right chest? Center chest? Across the shoulders? Full back?
  • Does your ideal placement work for the design you’ve created, or do you need to adjust something?

Detail is important to a design, but too much detail can be a design disaster. This is another reason where considering the size of the design you’re working with is key. If your design is very detailed, but you’re printing on a small area, most of that detail will be lost.

  • Is your design detailed?
  • Will the size of the t-shirt you’re using impact the details in your design?

It’s important to love the colors you’ve picked in your design, as well as how they’ll look on the t-shirt color you’ve picked. Try using a t-shirt template for a better idea of how your design would look once it’s mocked up…or ask us for advice! We’re always happy to give you suggestions and tweak your design, should it need it.

  • Will your selected ink colors look good with the color shirt you’ve picked?
  • Are the colors you’ve picked trending or are they season appropriate?



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