How To Size And Place Graphics On Your T-Shirts


Hi there, welcome to

My name is Gary. I have been working as a brand graphic designer for 20 years now, and here I am to share my wealth of knowledge with you. I teach people how to design, market, and promote their t-shirt business.

I am writing this blog based on a lot of requests received by you guys. I am going to be writing about art, sizing, and placement.

Now, this is going to be a basic tutorial for art size and placement. The art sizing and placement for those oversized graphics are different from what I am going to write about in this blog.

So, these are going to be center front t-shirt designs, which is 98% of the t-shirt market.

So, let’s get started!

The following is a cool t-shirt design here. It’s a hip-hop t-shirt based on the classic logo of the amazing group RUN DMC, and this one is called, “DUMB MC’s”:

The Dumb MC’s concept is based on the current state of hip hop!

Also, here are some cool t-shirt designs for women’s t-shirts:

Now, the rule of thumb that I use 8.5 X 11, which in this size:

The second dimension that I use is 11 X 17, which is this:

Now, most of the printers can print both of these sizes.

In case you do not have a printer that can print 11 x 17, then take one 8.5 x 11 and rotate it!

Let me show you, and this is an 8.5 x 11:

Now, we have to turn it into the landscape by rotating it to 90 degrees:

You can see that two 8.5 x 11’s equal one 11 X 17:

You can see that I have the Dumb MCs graphic in landscape mode, and it is taking all the space:

So, it will go well on the t-shirt, as you can see, I do the same with all the women’s t-shirt as well:

Now, this is a general rule, and if you want the women’s t-shirt to have bigger graphics, then you can do that accordingly.

The rule of thumb that you have to keep size 11 x 17 for men, and 8.5 X 11 for women. When you can fit the t-shirt designs on this sheet size, then you are good to start!

So, I am going to print these out. Also, I am going to show you what it looks like, and how to do the sizing.

Let’s get into it.

So, I have a men’s medium sized t-shirt:

So, here are the things that you are going to need:

  1. Measuring tape or a ruler
  2. A pair of scissors
  3. Printed artwork

So, as a rule of thumb, I have used an 11 X 17 sheet, and this will do it!

This is unless you are doing a really big sized t-shirt like XL, 2XL, or bigger.

As you can see, this one is 11 inches.

Now, this is taking up a lot of space on a t-shirt:

I want to show you guys something, because big prints are very popular. Once you get into oversized prints, those are different, and we are not even mentioning those!

We are talking about the standard t-shirt size, and when you have one of these shirts, you have something big or wide.

When you put this t-shirt on anything, you can see an area from the side to right here:

Similarly, on the other side, you can see the area:

So, both of these parts are going to go around the person’s body, and when he wears this t-shirt, and you cannot see this area flat.

The prime area of the t-shirt is this one, and you want to stay here, which is right in the center of this t-shirt:

This area is approximately 10.5 – 11 inches in the center, and this is the area that looks best.

Now, we have our artwork right here:

This may look good, but the best way to place the artwork is to cut the artwork out of the paper.

So, after cutting this out, here it is:

Note: You are not required to have a background of the same color.

This was printed on a laser printer, and I know that there is a lot of ink that was on the part that was cut out, and we know that ink is money!

Lay your print down, and look at this now. It’s looking very nice!

When you are dealing with printing — and let’s say that you are going to send this to a printer — then how are they going to know exactly where you want it to be?

So, you have to tell them, and here is one of how you can tell them.

You have to give them measurement, and the best way to have them measure is that you tell them to measure from the center-front, or you can say that from the neck edge or the collar edge:

You can also measure them from the high point shoulder, and this is the high point shoulder:

But that’s ONLY If you have something printing over here:

However, for the most part, you have to stay here:

If this looks good to you, then you take your measuring tape, and take an estimated distance of 2.25 inches:

So, you have to place your artwork at a distance of 2.25 inches down from the center front of the t-shirt.

So now, I am going to show you the way that you will show someone like a screen printer or a digital printer, where you’ll want to place your artwork.

Once you have done that measurement, then go back to your artwork on a computer, and this is what I like to do: Where I want to show where to put it, it is right above the bar, and I like to put a little arrow down to show exactly where it is going to hit:

As it shows 2.25 inches down from the center front. So, you can mention the distance from the point to your artwork.

So, this was a brief rundown about how you have to size and place your graphics on a t-shirt.

I hope this helps. Cheers to your t-shirt business, and I wish you all the success in the world!

Thanks for reading!