How to Prepare Artwork for T-shirt Printing


Custom printed t-shirts are in great demand nowadays. If you want to place your business or company on top of the chart and want to popularize it amidst the masses, go for a custom printed t-shirt that promotes the same. One major consideration when it comes to opting a custom printed t-shirt is that it is the most relatable and easily available garment in the apparel industry. T-shirts are worn by all age groups of people including children, youth, adults and also the elderly. Most of the t-shirts manufactured nowadays are unisex in nature and often bear plain designs that are worn by both men and women.

Printing your company’s logo on the custom printed t-shirts can be a great choice. It tends to catch more eyeballs, thereby diverting more attention to your business or company. But there are a few things that you need to take into consideration while preparing the artwork for your custom printed t-shirt. A little bit of forethought with respect to the print of your t-shirts can make the process smooth as well as rewarding.

Best design formats and programs

The preferred methodology to create your company’s logo and other designs is in vector format via Adobe Illustrator. We are saying this because vector files can be resized to any extent, without any loss in the quality of the design. You can also go for Photoshop or Fireworks in order to conjure your design but do remember that if you use a .jpg, .gif, or .bmp image, your image file might appear to be distorted after the render. In the mentioned case, the forming grid of pixels begins to distort once you start increasing or decreasing the size of the image. In applications like Photoshop, one major drawback is that you will get stuck to the dimensions that the designer initially used. If you want to try it your way and wish to scale the image up or down, it will distort the pixels and turn out to be blurry.

There are various file formats for different type of printing:

Direct to garment printing: File formats like- .jpg, .gif, .bmp, .tif, .psd, .pdf, .ai, .eps, can be used for the mentioned.

Screen printing: Use vector art in file formats like- .ai or .eps for best results.

What to do for Artworks that are hand-drawn?

If your artwork is hand-drawn and you want to print the same design as your company’s logo, then you will have to digitize it at some point of time. The design or logo needs to get digitized on a computer, in order to be rendered on custom t-shirts. One thing that you need to keep in mind is to scan your artwork in the correct resolution.

Take into consideration that if your artwork is drawn to size, then you should scan it at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). If the artwork was created at 50% scale, you should scan it at 600 dpi.

Key points to remember on how to prepare artwork for t-shirt printing

  • Specify colors

One major yet general mistake that everyone makes is to assume that the color showing on their device’s screen is the same as the color being reflected on the laptop or computer screen of the custom t-shirt printing company. The colors might differ on different screens if you design something on Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. The reason behind the varied colors is that different devices are calibrated differently. All of them display different shades of the same color.

To tackle this problem you should make sure that you specify the exact Pantone color number so that there is no difference in the shade of color that you chose for your artwork. Also, make a prior call to the printing company and put all your queries to rest beforehand than facing a tampered print later on.

  • Special effects

Some special effects like General filters, Reduced opacity, Drop shadows, Faded edges, Glow, etcetera look good on the screen of one’s computer but don’t translate that great when implemented on custom printed t-shirts. This is yet another reason for not opting for applications like Photoshop while preparing your design.

The special effects that you choose for your artwork should be compatible with printing techniques. If you are not a pro in this field and are riddled with the doubt regarding a filter that might or might not look good on a custom printed t-shirt, consult with the printing company’s professionals.

  • Save two copies

In case you need to change the layout or an aspect of the design for personal or printing reasons, saving two copies of the artwork proves to be a safety net. Many times people tend to delete the artwork after they send it to the printing company but it’s not a wise decision. Having a copy of the artwork will help you make changes and even enable you to re-design the artwork from scratch.

This was all about the computer apps and programs that are best for designing. We hope that you became familiar with the various forms and formats, and other technical aspects of the design process that one needs to consider while customizing printed t-shirts.


Leave a comment