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Printed Clothing Artwork Guidelines

A guide to producing artwork to be used for printed clothing.

This guide has been written to assist you in designing, producing and formatting artwork for use in printing on fabrics and clothing.

First of all it is useful to have a basic understanding of the printing process and how we take a piece of artwork and prepare it so that it can be used to print onto an item of clothing.

There are many different methods used to print clothing and technological advances have lead to many more printing alternatives entering the industry. Here at JKL Clothing we use two main techniques which account for 95% of the printed garments we produce. The guide will therefore concentrate on information relating to the techniques of screen printing and transfer printing. In regards to the artwork required there is little difference. First of all, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of each printing technique in order to appreciate how the artwork is taken from the screen and adapted so that it can be replicated onto an item of clothing.

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What is screen printing?

Screen printing is a method of print that uses ink and places it directly onto a garment. The technique involves placing the clothing item onto a flat surface and then squeezing the ink through a porous screen onto the garment. One colour at a time is printed onto the garment and for every colour a separate screen needs to be used so that the artwork design is built up to the finished print. The method of preparing the artwork for this type of printing is often referred to as “artwork separation”, as the original design needs to be separated into each individual colour in order to produce a separate screen.

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What is transfer printing?

Transfer printing is the simple method of printing a design onto special transfer paper and then applying this to a garment using an industrial heat press so that the transfer sticks to it. This method enables designs with large numbers of colours to be printed quickly in one go. Because the artwork does not need to be separated into individual colours it is often quicker and easier to take the original artwork design and produce the transfer print ready for application.

There are pro’s and con’s to both printing methods and these are covered in a separate guide

Now that you have a basic idea of each process we will take a look at what is required in regards to the design artwork to enable us to produce a detailed, clear, replicated print onto your chosen garment.

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Considerations when designing and producing your artwork logo

Size - Screen printing costs are not affected by the size of the logo, only by the number of colours. Therefore the only barrier to logo size when screen printing, is the garment itself. When transfer printing the size of the logo will have affect the costs involved. You may therefore wish to consider the size of the logo when in the design stage. Here at JKL we offer a design and artwork alteration service, so if you require your logo changing in any way to suit the clothing it is been applied to we can do that for you.

Number of colours - Screen printing is priced on the number of colours within the design. Each colour requires a separate screen to be produced and there is a cost associated with this work. Transfer prints are not priced per colour, so you are free to design your logo with as many colours as you want if you are going for this type of print when ordering your printed clothing. As mentioned above we can alter your logo in regards to the number of colours to fit in with your printed clothing budget.

Position/Location - This is another aspect that does not affect the price of your finished printed garment. The only considerations are the size of the garment itself (especially if you are having your design printed onto children’s clothing) and the printing techniques. We need to be able to lay the print area flat and either place a screen or heat press over it to apply the print.

Clothing item/Fabric - Certain garments accept a print better than others. Our most popular item of clothing is the printed t-shirt. Cotton is an ideal fabric on which to apply a print and our t-shirt printing department is kept busy all year round. Other fabrics do not accept print as easily, for example fleece. A further guide on printed garments can be found within our printed clothing page which provides more details on which types of garments are best for printing.

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Accepted Artwork Formats

Now that you have some parameters within which to work and have designed your logo, how can you send it to JKL Clothing? We accept artwork in many different formats, including the following:

  • Media – CD, DVD, USB etc
  • Emailed – jpeg, gif, tiff, AI, eps
  • Paper – letterhead, compliment slip

If your artwork is in a format other than those listed above, please get in touch or send it to us and we will usually be able to alter it into a format we can work with.

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So what happens when we receive your artwork design?

Depending on the type of print you are using for your printed clothing we will originate the artwork ready for use in the printing process. This may involve artwork separation for screen printing or simple adjustment for transfer print. We will then email you an electronic proof for your approval before we go ahead and print onto your clothing. This is your opportunity to amend or adjust the print before the final stage of applying it to your chosen garments.

At this stage there are costs involved in producing the artwork and electronic sample. These are charged for and will be included in your itemised quote. We refer to these costs as “set up costs”, which are one off charges based on each design we produce. Therefore when you return to us for more printed clothing at a later date the set up costs will have already been paid for and will no longer apply. You will just pay for the garment and print cost.

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We know that sourcing and ordering printed clothing can sometime be a daunting task and often appears complicated and long winded. JKL Clothing has tried to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. We have done this by investing in two key areas, our staff and technology.

We have trained staff on hand Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm ready to answer any questions you may have, recommend products and explain printing options. Please contact us as we are more than happy to help.

The other area of major investment is in technology, particularly our website. We have designed our website to be as intuitive, informative and as easy to use as possible. All our prices are transparent and we hope to have explained the printed clothing process in a straight forward easy to understand way.

There are many ways to get in touch with JKL Clothing regarding your printed clothing requirements. Either by phone, on 0114 239 8000, email –, or through a contact page on our website