What You Need to Know: All Over Printing Design Requirements

Printing all over is a fun, creative style of t-shirt printing that requires more custom t-shirt design knowledge than any other printing method. The equipment used for all over printing is much different than standard screen printing, which creates “rules” and additional limitations. Broken Arrow’s goal is to provide you with the best looking all over print possible, so we really like to stick with these to ensure that you are happy with your final product. Our artist will take your custom t-shirt design idea and turn it into something that is doable and will work with the all over t-shirt printer. We’ve created a quick and simple guideline for you to understand some of the changes that will occur to your custom t-shirt design for your print all over the shirt. In addition to some changes that might be needed on your design, there are also a few limitations with the garment and garment colors. Check out our Garment Limitation page for more details.

Rule 1: Distress Over Seams & Edges to Minimize Unavoidable Printing Imperfections

Seams and edges do not lay out perfectly flat and therefore the ink can easily clump in those areas due to the rivets and threads. If we don’t do something special in this area, the inevitable bumps and lumps will occur in the print and you will get a less than desirable result. To minimize and hide these unavoidable printing imperfections, we require the portion of the design that goes over seams and edges is distressed. Distressing is the process of adding a pattern to your artwork to remove some of the spots of ink. This creates a weathered or vintage look. The distressing over seams helps to prevent the ink from clumping and smearing in these areas (Trust us - we've tried it without distressing and it's not pretty!). In addition to helping it print nicer, It also allows the imperfections that will happen to be much less obvious and more “on purpose”. Overall, you will get a much more satisfying result with distressing over the seams – and we require it!

all over printing

Rule 2: Avoid Front Collar Area when Printing All Over Back Prints

With custom t shirt designs for all over printing, there is a small area a few inches around the upper back collar of the shirt which is not recommended to print. When we print all over the shirts, the shirts are laid flat to print. If your back print when all the way to the collar, you would have the indentation from the front collar in that upper back region of the t-shirts, which would interfere with your all over custom t shirt design. It works best to avoid this area so your back print looks great! If for some reason you do need to print in this area, we will need to add distressing and have our artist work their magic to be sure an obvious collar area does not occur in the final print.

all over printing

Rule 3: Plan Your Design to Work on All Garment Sizes

The same size custom t shirt design is printed on all of the shirts with all over printing. The maximum print size can be 40 inches wide by 30 inches tall, which will span the entire length and width of most shirts from sizes small through 2X. With the same print size used to print all over the shirts, this means that some of the design will "fall off" the smaller sizes. This is important to consider to make sure that all of the pertinent information and design prints on all of the shirts. For example, you wouldn't want to have your text sized to take up the entire front of an XL shirt, and then be missing text on the smalls. Our artists will keep the information in mind, along with what shirt sizes are in your order when creating the custom t shirt design to make sure every shirt looks great! Our t shirt printers will also position the shirts accordingly as shown on your online proof to ensure the important details are printed on all of your shirts.

all over printing

These tips are not meant to be a guide to help you get the best possible results. If you have any specific questions regarding all over print limitations, please feel free to contact by e-mail or call toll free at 800.810.4692 and we'll be glad to assist you!

HELPFUL TIP: To help with your design, Broken Arrow has true to size shirt templates with all sizes from small to 2XL for you to download. These vector based files are compatible with Adobe Illustrator CS3 and above.
*Note: The template does not match all shirt brands, but should work for the majority of shirts.