These typography tips will ensure the type within your piece of design is a success – whether it is paper based, for the screen or for t-shirt screen printing…

trend tee

TIP ONE – Be aware of type “trends”.

Know that much like trends in fashion and style, typefaces too are effected in the same way. It’s good to know what’s ‘in’ but try not to rely too heavily on trends, because just using the latest typeface won’t make your work instantly great. Instead of simply surfing the net for new fonts, open a book, and research some tried and tested classics.


tips for perfect type for t-shirt printing

TIP TWO – Don’t use too many.

Less is more! So limit yourself. If you have ten different typefaces within one piece of design, it’s going to look crowded and cluttered. Remember, you can create variety in other ways like experimenting with font size, weight or case.


tips for perfect type for t-shirt printing

TIP THREE – Serif or Sans Serif?

Quick design lesson. Sans serif = type with no small projecting features called at the end of strokes. Sans serif fonts have a slightly more contemporary and clean feel to them, but a classic serif can be a great choice too.


tips for perfect type for t-shirt printing

TIP FOUR – Letter spacing.

Use leading, kerning and tracking to make sure there’s room for your type to be read and digested properly.

Leading = the space between the base lines of text.

Kerning = is the spacing in between individual characters.

Tracking = is the space between groups of letters rather than individual letters.

Whether you’re designing type within a logo or laying out a long-format piece, don’t just let the default setting decide.


tips for perfect type for t-shirt printing

TIP FIVE – Smaller is (sometimes) better.

This pretty much only applies to print/paper based design. The easiest way to make something look sophisticated and tasteful is to make the type smaller. Not illegibly small, but take a second look at your layout and see if you can’t nudge everything down a couple of point sizes. Having said that, tiny text doesn’t print onto garments that well – so don’t go too small when t-shirt screen printing or direct to garment printing. Small text is also problematic when creating logos for polo shirt embroidery.


tips for perfect type for t-shirt printing


TIP SIX – Be legal.


Just because you downloaded a typeface off the web or from a friend doesn’t mean you can use it wherever you want. Like stock photography: you have to know the copyrights before it goes to print.

tips for perfect type for t-shirt printing

TIP SEVEN – Keep typefaces different.

When choosing typefaces to work together, make sure they complement each other instead of matching. If you choose two that are too similar, it might look like a mistake or an inconsistency in the font.


tips for perfect type for t-shirt printing

TIP EIGHT – Remember legibility.

Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in the ‘look’ of things; there might be an amazing photo behind it, black on black might be super-slick, and the type might be tiny – and that’s the look you’re after. But at the end of the day, the single most important thing is that it is legible!


tips for perfect type for t-shirt printing

TIP NINE – Will it print well?

Be aware, some fonts that have fine, hair line sections – such as the font shown above. Those light lines won’t screen print well, so choose carefully.


tips for perfect type for t-shirt printing

TIP TEN – Take your time.

Picking the perfect typefaces can take a lot of work. It’s easy to start using your personal ‘defaults’ or favourite pairings. It’s worth spending time discovering new options, and making sure you’ve covered the above pointers.

Icon Printing are based in Shoreditch, London and are t-shirt direct to garment and t-shirt screen printing specialists. For more an instant quote, please visit our website. You can email us at:, or call on: 0207 183 8431