How To Prep Your T-shirt Design File For Screen Printing


After you submit your order, our design team gets to work fast! They spend a meticulous amount of time creating the best high-res digital mock up for your approval. The custom screen printed t shirt mock up includes all the finite details, so you will know exactly what your shirt will look like once it’s printed. Here are 5 steps you don't want to miss when prepping your t-shirt design files to send to our team. 

1. Outline All Fonts

Before all of your files are submitted, the fonts should be “converted to outlines” or attached to your order. Unfortunately, when fonts are not outlined and we don’t have the font file in-house, the fonts used in the design will not show up in Illustrator. This means we are not able to properly mockup artwork for approval or printing. Here’s a quick and easy guide on converting text to outlines.


2. Embed All Linked Images

Before you submit your final file, any linked images should be “embedded” into the artwork not just pasted in. When elements in a design are not embedded or linked to your design, they are not part of the final art file which means we can’t see your awesome design. The same goes for any textures used in the art. This hinders us from making any needed adjustments to your artwork. If you are not familiar with the process, check out Adobe’s information on linked and embedded artwork.

3. Include PMS Color

Choose your design colors from a PMS book, which is a universal color pallet. Since screen colors can vary from monitor to monitor, what is see as a particular color on one could look  completely different on another. We want to mock up your shirt and mix the exact ink color you’re looking for, so you get the final results you want.


4. Adjust Negative Space

Negative space in a design is the space that surrounds certain elements of the object. The negative space draws attention to the positive space, or the design elements, of the subject. It can be everything from texturing, to shapes cut out in the design. Unfortunately, if the negative space is too small, the ink could close up which would distort your original design. The best way to avoid this is adjusting your negative space at any point in your design to be at least 1.5pt.

5. Check Text Size

To make sure any text in your design is legible, especially text in a custom printed tag, it needs to be at least 6pt. If the text in your printed tag is too small, it might not be readable once it’s printed. Although it’s something we always try and catch before printing, we have two sets of custom screen printed labels (tags) that you can use to create your tag art. Everything is already set, so you can just drop in your logo, additional details and submit with your order.


Once you’ve followed these simple 5 steps, upload your design to our free mockup tool for a quick look. If you’ve forgotten how, just can’t quite figure it out or just simply need a little help with any of these, let us know. We would love to help you out in the process of screen printing on t shirts. Give us a call or email us any time. 


Like this post? Share it.