The T-Shirt Printing Checklist You Never Knew You Needed
Tips & Tricks
min read

The T-Shirt Printing Checklist You Never Knew You Needed

Preparing to place a custom t-shirt order? Make sure these boxes are checked, first.

So, you've finally been convinced that custom t-shirts can be instrumental in building team culture, sharing your message with the world, raising money, and more—what took you so long? 😉

Now that you're here, though, you've probably got a lot of questions—and want to make sure that you get all of the details just right. Luckily, we're kiiiiind of experts at the whole t-shirt printing thing, and we want to make sure you feel confident and comfortable placing your order. Simply follow these tips and you'll be on your way to wearable works of art in no time.

Some important things to note: 

- Each individual design you create is considered a separate order—which means that you'll need all of the details listed below for each unique design/order.

- As you move through the checklist, keep in mind that we don’t need every piece of information right away if you don’t have it (or don't know the answer). Our team is here to help guide you through the decision-making process and clear up any confusion.

With that, let's get into it! 

Part 1: Understanding the details

We're firm believers in the fact that context is everything—which is why we want to make sure you have all the resources you need in order to understand how the screen printing process works, how the look & feel of water based inks differs from other print methods, and how you can expect your finished product to look.

We'll get into some more important considerations—like when you need your finished shirts by, how many colors are in your design, how many add-ons you're going to incorporate, etc.—later, but for now, these are some basic things you should understand: 

Part 2: Your design

First things first: it's likely that when you begin a custom apparel purchase, you've already got a design in mind. Not so much? No problem—we can create one for you! Simply reach out to our team to get started, but be sure to include as much detail as possible when explaining what you’re looking to have generated. Rough sketches and pictures are always a great way to help convey your ideas to us. The more information you can provide us with, the quicker we can get your art together and get some t-shirts in your hands! 

Design size

Once your design concept is squared away, you'll run into some other important things to consider—one of which is the size of your design. T-shirt design can be rather subjective—meaning, the intended use may have an impact on which route you decide to pursue regarding the size and placement of your design on the garment. Standard placements include: front & center, left or right chest (or on the pocket, if your tee of choice has one of those), back, sleeve, etc. Depending on the type of design you're going with, either of these placements may serve you better than the others.

It is important to note that the size of the garment you are printing on can be a factor in this decision—as your design will likely not look the same on every single size you print (for example, a left chest logo print on a size XS will take up a great deal more real estate than it does on an XL).

Trying to determine how many of each size you should account for when placing your order? Our Size Breakdown Calculator is pretty clutch. We created it using tons of historical order information so that you can feel confident placing your order, even without passing out a T-Shirt Order Form and gathering sizes manually.

Number of colors

Another important consideration pertaining to your design is the number of colors it contains. Screen printing works in a way in which each individual color your design has requires a different screen to be burned—so if you've been wondering why your price goes up when you add more color, that's why! In this way, being aware of the ways in which color influences your total investment may end up influencing the direction you choose to take with your design.

Part 3: The shirt itself

Choosing the garment you print on is arguably the most important decision of all. The fabric blend you choose can have a major impact on the final result of your design—whether it looks more crisp, more vintage, etc.—and will also affect the overall feel/wear of your shirt.

Knowing who you’re selling to is a big factor in determining what shirt you should decide to print on.

You’ll know this better than we will—however, we can help guide you if you’re unsure, need some insight on current trends, or just are curious about what your design would look like on different garments.

Have you printed in the past and are looking to go in a different direction with this order? We always suggest asking your customers/employees/shirt-wearers first—they’ll tell you the truth! Maybe it’s time to switch brands or continue moving forward with what already works.

With all of that being said, before deciding on a brand or garment, it's always good to research your options.

Here’s what we need to know:
Manufacturer Name
Style #

Here’s an example using the above template:
Next Level Apparel

If you want to use two, three or even four different shirts for the same design make sure to list them out like so.

Part 4: The print style

The print style you choose (AKA the ink you choose to use to bring your design to life) is another huge factor to consider before placing your order.

A few questions to ask yourself: 

Are you going for a more vintage look/feel? 

Are your prioritizing bold look over comfortability and longevity? Or vice versa? 

Do you want your design to soak into the fabric of the shirt itself? 

Are there any current trends you'd like to consider? 

Once you've answered these questions, you'll be able to communicate the look you're going for to our team, and they'll be able to help determine the best print method for you.

Looking for maximum impact and texture? Puff ink or metallic ink (or even metallic foil) may be a good choice for you.

Going for a more subdued look that will last forever and get softer with every wash? Our SuperSoft Ink is a winner.

Talk to us

Need more information before making a decision or starting an order? Check out our Custom T-Shirt Buyers Guide, or simply reach out to our team for support. We'd love to help you feel confident as you approach your order! 

Custom T-Shirt Buyer's Guide Mockup

Get our free Custom T-Shirt Buyer's Guide

A 25+ page how-to guide full of tips, tricks, and money-saving recommendations.
Thank you! Check your email, the guide is headed your way!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.