The 5 Steps You Need to Prepare Your Design File for Screen Printing

Set your project up for success with these five steps.

Before your order moves into production, our team will provide you with a mockup of your design. In order for our designers to work their magic, they will need your files set up correctly. This ensures you see an accurate depiction of how your design will turn out once it’s printed. Follow these five steps to make sure your design file is set up for success.

preparing design files

1. Outline All Fonts  

Make sure to convert all text in your file to outlines, before you submit your design. Adobe Illustrator will not properly render the fonts used in the design if they are not outlined. If you need detailed instructions on how to get this done, check out Adobe’s Support page. Alternatively, you can also send the font files. That way our designers are equipped with the correct font to prepare the mockup for your review.

preparing design files

2. Size & Scale Text 

On the topic of text, make sure that the size of your text is legible and scaled properly in your design. Consider how far away you want people to be able to read the wording on the garment. If it’s meant to be a recognizable message, make sure the text is large enough so people aren’t having to squint. You want people to stare at your beautiful designs, but probably not that hard. 

Your design file should reflect the correct size and scale you want to see on the garment. Generally, the text should be no smaller than 10 pt for small text such as a tag line under a logo. Custom tag fonts should be no smaller than 6 pt. 

preparing design files

3. Consider Negative Space

Text isn’t the only thing you need to make sure is legible in your design. All elements should be placed in your design to ensure there is negative space around them. This ensures they do not bleed into one another in the screen printing process. 

In case negative space is a new term for you, it refers to the space around an object or element. To make sure your design doesn’t encounter any issues we recommend checking to make sure you have at least 1.5 pt of space around each element. Remember this includes cutouts or patterns within shapes.

pantone colors

4. Speak Our Color Language

Ok, so it’s not our color language, it’s Pantone’s Color System. Pantone colors or PMS colors are used in the printing world to ensure the color you want in your design is consistent with anything else you have printed, from paper products to your screen printed design. Use PMS colors in your design file to ensure the color you want is the color you get in your mockup and in your final product. 

preparing design files

5. Embed Linked Images in Your Design File

To make sure our designers can see your work of art, embed all images in the design file. If you paste in images (this includes any texture or patterns) we will not be able to see them unless you embed them. This ensures we’re equipped to make any adjustments needed for your mockup and ultimately the end product. If you need a step-by-step on this, here’s a guide on how to embed images from Adobe.

Now that you have the tools you need, to give us the tools we need to make your design come to life, contact us to get your order started, today. Looking for more design tips? Check out our blog on “How to Choose the Best Font for Your T-Shirt Design”.

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