Finding Design Sizes & Transfer Placement

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is how big to make a design for apparel printing. In this post, we’ll cover various design sizes, and how to determine the best size for what you are printing.

The first thing you’ll want to determine is the placement of the design. Will it be a full front graphic, a left chest, a back print, sleeve, etc?

There are some standard suggested sizes once you know where you want to print it on the apparel.

By the way, Dave offers a really neat tip on visualizing your design size before you print it in this video:



Full Front Design Sizes

When printing a design on the front of a shirt, knowing the range of sizes is important.

If printing on adult size shirts, the standard size is 11” x 11” (or 11” wide by proportionate height).


standard adult t-shirt design size


This will look good on almost any adult size.

For printing on youth sizes, a good design size is about 9” x 9”.

When printing on both youth and adult sizes, most of the time you can get away with getting one design size, generally around 10 to 10.5”. At that size, it will look good on youth and adult size shirts.

The key is knowing your smallest shirt size and your largest. Getting a design size that is not too big or too little will look great on a majority of the shirts, but also still look good on the smallest and largest shirts as well.

Family reunion shirt orders are a good example of this. In a family reunion order, you’ll have plenty of youth sizes mixed with lots of adult sizes.

[Related Content: How to Handle Multiple Shirt Sizes]


While there are suggested design sizes, it really comes down to your preference and the look you are going for.

Do you want large, bold graphics that take up as much space on the front of the t-shirt as possible? Our screen printed transfers have a sheet size of 11.25” x 14”, so fill it up with a max size print for that look!


Left Chest Design Sizes

Besides full front shirt designs, a left chest design is the next most common printing placement on a t-shirt.

Customers may call this printing placement by various names, such as left chest design, heart design, pocket design, etc. (Tip: if a customer calls it a pocket design, check to make sure if they actually want it printed on a pocket or not.)

The standard left chest size is around 4.5” x 4.5”, but you don’t want to go much larger than that.


printing a left chest shirt design


If you are actually printing on a pocket though, this will be smaller. Usually a design size of 3.5” x 3.5” will work, but measure the actual pocket to make sure you won’t be printing too close to the seams. You can always size the design a little smaller to be sure it will fit.

[Related Content: Left Chest Shirt Printing Placement]


Design Sizes for Sleeves

Printing down the side of a long sleeve is another common placement, especially on hoodies. The standard size for printing on a sleeve is 2” x 11.25”. However, depending on the look you want, you can size up to 2.5” x 14” for a larger, bold design size.

For short sleeves, a small 3” x 3” size will work for most shirt sizes. If printing on smaller youth sizes, you may want to go down to 2 or 2.5” wide for these sizes.


Cap and Visor Design Sizes

There are so many different styles and sizes of caps. Generally though, a standard cap design size is 4.75” x 2.75”. But if you can keep the height to around 2” or 2.25”, that will be better for printing to stay away from the crown of the hat.


cap printing sizes


For a visor, there is usually less height, so definitely keeping the height to 2” or less will work most of the time.


Yoke Prints

Branding your t-shirts is becoming more popular. Typically, the branding is done on the sleeves or on the back yoke.

The yoke is the upper back area between the shoulders, just below the neck.

If you want to add a print to the yoke area, a good design size is about 3” wide. Some brands keep it on the smaller side, about 2” or so for a logo, but anything between that 2 – 3” will look good.


t-shirt logo on back


Design Sizes for Inside Tag Prints

Another area to print that is quickly rising in popularity is the inside neck label tag area.

You can get blank t-shirts that come with tear-away neck tags so that you can replace them with your own branded shirt tags.

Transfers make printing tagless labels super easy.


tagless neck label


We recommend keeping the size to about 2.5” to 3” wide for a tag print.

If you are using the Tag Along™ HP Platen to print your shirt tags, the tag print area of the platen is about 3.25” x 3.25”, so keep that in mind for heat pressing.


print your own shirt tags


[Related Content: Brand Your T-Shirts with a Shirt Tag]


Watch for Obstructions

The above design sizes are recommendations, but it really comes down to the look you are going for and the apparel you are printing on.

Always keep an eye out for printing obstructions that will limit your print area and design size.


custom printed lunch tote bag


Try to avoid printing over seams or too close to seams. If you have seams, zippers, buttons, etc., you may want to scale down your design size.

[Related Content: Heat Printing Tips to Avoid Seams]

Don’t forget about fashion sizes, which could include form-fitting tops and bottoms. For example, a form-fitting junior sized female shirt will use a smaller transfer than a standard sized adult shirt.

If you would like to make the transfer sizes custom to the type of apparel you are heat pressing to, consider purchasing the garments before the transfers so that you can use a ruler to measure the space where you would like the design to be.


Use Gang Sheets for Multiple Design Sizes

One of the big benefits of screen printed transfers is the gang sheet. The transfer sheet size is 11.25” x 14”.

You can fill this space up with as much as you can fit for the same price. Therefore, if you can fit 2, 3, 4 or more images onto one sheet, then you are reducing your printing cost.

You can even get different size prints for the same job, without incurring any extra printing costs.


family reunion shirts different sizes


Placement and Position

Did you know that we not only provide tips to help you determine your transfer design sizes, but also where to place your transfers on apparel items?

When you are ready to heat press your custom heat applied transfers and need tips on where to place your transfer on the apparel item, check out the placement ebook.

heat transfer placement ebook

Here, you will find positioning tips for left chest, pant legs, and more.

[Related Content: Heat Transfer Placement and Position Guide]


Get a one page cheat sheet guide for all design sizes!

design sizes for t-shirts and more



Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 16 comments

What is the maximum size print for a hoodie with pocket – adult Small – 2x

Dealer Services

For an adult small 10″ tall x 11″ wide Use that size for all shirts Small and larger

Shalunda Sims

Do you all do image sizing for T-shirts?

Dealer Services

Hi Shalunda,
We will print the transfer at the size you submit. We do have recommended sizes for t-shirts, such as 11″ x 11″ for a full size adult front. You can find all of our recommended sizes in this post above. Please call us if you have any questions!

Dry Transfer Letters

I really want to start a clothing business and this is very helpful! I love how you even included a video and a chart. You do image sizing for t-shirts also right?

Steve Smith

I like how you mentioned that sizes of range would be important to be properly measured to ensure a proper design. My friend mentioned yesterday that he and his business partners are planning to give printed shirts as giveaways for their employees. He asked if I had any idea what would be the best option to consider. I’m thankful for this helpful article. I’ll tell him that they can consult a well-known screen printing service as they can provide more information about the design process.

Mia Evans

Thanks for pointing out that the print has to be not too close to the seams, zippers, buttons, and more. I will keep that in mind when I look for dri-fit long sleeve T-shirt screen printing services here in Riverside, California. It’s for the shirts that I wanted to give to my guests at my birthday celebration, because there will be extreme activities that are part of the program which is why they would have to wear those.

Braden Bills

My friend wants to make sure that he gets some high quality T-shirts made for his business. It makes sense that getting a good full front design would be beneficial. I’ll make sure that he knows to get a professional to help out with that.

steve smith

I like the tip you gave about how understanding detailed sizes for designs could help with the proper process. My brother told me yesterday that he and his business partner were hoping to find a reliable custom direct-to-garment printing service that could provide shirts as promotional products for their business event. He asked if I had any idea what would be the best option to consider. Thanks to this informative garment printing guide article, I’ll be sure to tell him that they can consult a well-known direct-to-garment printing service in town as they can provide information about their services.

Ahsan Ali


Thank you for sharing valuable information with us.

Eli Richardson

It really helped when you mentioned that full-front designs are great for printed shirts. In a few weeks, my friends and I will compete in an all-you-can-eat-wings contest. We’d like to order T-shirts with a fun design before the contest, so we’ll use your tips to help us pick the right sizes for our project.

Farwah Asmath

Are all the measurements in meters or inches?

Dealer Services

All measurements are in inches.

Millie Hue

It’s great to know that the same size for both adult and youth designs would be possible most of the time. I think that will save us money if the custom screen printing process and the company will only use one design. So I should consider the ideas we have and choose wisely from them before going to a professional to have our family reunion shirt made.

Susan Smith-Collins

Hi your measurement chart is great but I’m struggling with the size difference of a logo in the heart position for adults and kids tshirts how much smaller do I make them?

Dealer Services

A lot of it depends on the design, but for an adult left chest 4 or 4.5″ If it is rectangular go 4.5″ wide, smaller if it has height. For youth 3-3.5 depending on the design. I like to make a copy of my customer’s logo and cut it out to see if it will work (just a paper copy to size)


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