How to prepare your artwork for custom t-shirt printing

Essential tips that will help you achieve professional results for your custom print shirts.

When you’re designing artwork for custom t-shirt printing, it’s imperative that you’ve done everything necessary to prepare the image. Making a digital copy of your artwork is just one of the essential steps towards transferring your artwork onto a t-shirt.

While there isn’t much else you have to do, preparing your artwork for printing has to be done correctly to achieve the desired outcome you’re after. Here at PrintLocker, we’ve taken on a broad range of custom t-shirt printing projects.

Sometimes the artwork we receive is ready for custom t-shirt printing. Other times the artwork requires a bit of tidying up before it’s ready to be transferred onto a t-shirt.

To help get your artwork ready for custom t-shirt printing, we’re listing our top tips for preparing your imagery.

Not sure if your artwork is ready for custom t-shirt printing? Ask one of our printing experts.

Print size

We always advise our clients that the best print size for a large image is 450 mm in length and about 350 mm in width. There’s no need to have expert image editing knowledge for this. Our designers can always alter the dimensions of your image after submission.

Software used in the custom t-shirt printing industry should pick up on print sizes that could result in distorted artwork. So you can rest assured your imagery won’t make it through the early stages of production until the print size has been adjusted correctly.

Image size

A common issue we see with image submissions is people sending through files that are either too large or too small. Image files sizes for custom t-shirt printing can change depending on where you’ve sourced or exported your files from.

We recommend keeping your file size under 15 mb. Any file larger than this size can take too long to upload. Keeping your file under 15 mb will help streamline the upload process so you can preview your t-shirt design sooner.

Acceptable file types

Not all file types are acceptable for custom t-shirt printing. Utilising the right file type will ensure the best quality for your artwork. We advise submitting your artwork at 300 dpi and preferably in RGB for the best results. Here at PrintLocker, we accept the following file types:

  • TIF
  • PNG
  • JPG
  • EPS
  • GIF


Custom T-shirt printing

Sometimes the printed result is still not exactly perfect. Even though you have gone through all the required image size tests and used the correct file types something just doesn’t seem right.

It’s not the end of the world when your custom t-shirt printing sample doesn’t work out the first time. A failed print is the opportunity to recognise what went wrong and fix it.

Artwork for your custom print shirts can be redrawn. When you have detailed imagery that needs to be sized up, it may cost a bit more to fix. With an experienced designer on your side, the end result will be worth it.

Pixel count

When we talk about pixel count, we refer to the resolution of your image. Resolution is by far one of the most important aspects of custom t-shirt printing.

Pixel count will affect your overall artwork representation. The more pixels, the clearer your artwork will be. Low resolution often results in artwork that is blurry or illegible.

We recommend submitting imagery at a resolution of 600 dpi. At this size, your imagery can be adjusted to a size between 200 and 300 dpi to achieve optimal results.

Scanning images

Scanning an image through is easy. However, the scanning process can pose several problems because it doesn’t always represent what the artwork’s “true” resolution appears to be.

Uploading your artwork for custom t-shirt printing will make it easier for your designer to rework and adjust it. If you want to scan your artwork, ensure that you achieve 600 dpi for it. Designers can always work around and touch up certain areas of concern when it comes to your image.

Why preparing your artwork is important

There are particular reasons why you should be careful when selecting the right image. Ultimately you want your artwork to be visible, attractive and attention-drawing. If you follow all of our tips mentioned above, you’ll have no problem recreating the artwork you desire on a t-shirt.

Our custom t-shirt printing experts can support you during the upload and review process for your artwork. With professional assistance, you’ll achieve professional results for your custom print shirts.

Stay on the right track for producing professional-looking custom print shirts. Contact our printing experts for a custom solution.

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