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Printful's Design Maker
Beginner's handbook

10 Things You Didn’t Know Printful’s Design Maker Could Do

By Reading Time: 7 minutes

Designing is hard. From coming up with an idea to choosing the right tool from the countless options on the market, the process can often be time-consuming, overwhelming, and tiring.

That’s where Printful’s Design Maker can help. From a humble mockup generator with limited features, it’s developed into an advanced design tool that lets you create stunning designs and download eye-catching mockups in just a few easy steps.

Want to learn more? Then sit back and let us show you how to make the most out of the design features it has (with free and downloadable typography graphics at the end). Open the Design Maker, choose a product, and let’s get started!

1. Create text designs

If text-based designs are your thing, then the built-in text design tool is the right option for you. With it, you can transform words into meaningful messages and gorgeous designs in the blink of an eye. Just click Add text in the Design tab and type in your text.

Text design screenshot

Here’s what you can do with the text design tool for different types of Printful products.

For DTG products:

  • Pick font, choose its size, and select text color
  • Adjust letter spacing, add outline and shadow
  • Choose distance and angle of the shadow
  • Adjust text arc
Printful Mockup generator text design

For embroidery products:

  • Pick a font and choose its size
  • Adjust letter spacing
  • Choose thread color
  • Set line height
Printful mockup generator embroidery text design

As a bonus, embroidery text designs made in our Design Maker have a reduced digitization fee—only $3.95 per file (for most designs, it’s $6.50 per file). Digitization is a one-time fee for every new embroidery design, and you can read more about it here.

For engraved products:

  • Pick a font and choose its size
  • Adjust letter spacing and text arc
  • Choose engraving style—outlined or filled
Printful mockup generator engraving text design

We’ve selected our fonts to ensure high-quality results for all fulfillment techniques. But if you have your own font, you’re free to use it too. Create your design in any image editor, upload it as a file, tweak it to your liking, and you’ll be all set!

2. Experiment with clipart and Quick Designs

The Design Maker has a clipart selection of over 50 collections and nearly 3000 individual designs you can use for free. From minimalistic designs and timeless classics to bright and bold design elements for special occasions, you’ll find the right clipart to fit your taste. Search by keywords or browse the collections to create fun and unique designs, all within our Design Maker.

In the Design Maker’s Design tab, hit Add clipart to check out different symbols, illustrations, and emojis created by our in-house designers.

Printful clipart selection

Choose line drawings for minimalist designs or add text designs to create original gifts. Spark your creativity by experimenting with color combos and different styles!

If you want to combine clipart with meaningful messages, our Quick Designs sound like the right fit for you. They’re pre-made compositions of text and clipart. Place them on your product and be all set in no time or adjust colors and wording to fit your taste to a tee.

To access Quick Designs, go to our Design Maker, click Quick Designs in the Design tab, and search for the perfect design either by browsing available categories or typing in a keyword.

Printful quick designs selection

3. Browse the Getty Images library

If designing from scratch isn’t your thing, you’re in luck! Printful integrates with one of the largest stock photography libraries—Getty Images. For you it means that the Design Maker has more than 80M photos and illustrations in countless searchable categories. So no matter your niche, you’ll find beautiful designs for your store.

The Getty Images library is available in the Design Maker. Under the Design tab, choose Premium Images, and there you can then search for any image. Play around with the images, create stunning designs, and then add the products to your store in just a few clicks!

For using a photo from Getty Images, you’ll need to pay only $1 per placement when you order or get a sale. If you want to skip the cost, subscribe to Printful Pro. With the plan, you can use Getty Images at no extra cost.

Printful getty images gif

4. Try our sample designs

Printful’s in-house designers have created fantastic sample designs you can use on your products for free. If you’re not too comfortable with the designing process yourself, it’s another great option to try out.

To use a sample design, hit Choose file in the Design Maker, then go To sample files, and choose a design you like.

printful sample designs

Some of the samples make great design backgrounds for all-over print products and many others, some can be used to add a splash of color to your design. And all of them can be combined in exciting and unexpected ways.

printful sample design mockup

5. Adjust design placement

Maybe you’ve created a design, but it’s not exactly what you were going for? Try adjusting the size, position, and angle of the design on the product. You can make adjustments to uploaded files and design elements you’ve chosen from the Design Maker.

printful design maker design placement

There are three ways you can make adjustments:

  • Click the buttons on the left to align, flip, or rotate
  • Crop the designs
  • Type a number in the rotation box
  • Use the blue anchor points to scale and rotate

You can also change the size of your design manually by altering the width and height of it under the Layers section (see the photo above).

To get a closer look at the print area and get the design placement just right, use the Design Maker’s zoom tool. It works for all Printful products except all-over print items.

Click Zoom in at the top right corner of the Design Maker. Adjust your design, and press “Zoom out” to see the entire product again.

printful design maker zoom option

6. Create designs with several layers

If several design elements have struck your fancy, don’t worry because the Design Maker lets you combine elements to create complex designs with several layers. You can upload your own files and use Printful’s sample designs, clipart, and text. Mix and match these elements to create original designs that will stand out!

printful mockup layered designs

Experiment with the order of your design layers. Select and drag layers to rearrange them, and find the order that complements your design the most.

7. Pick a background color and graphics

Spice up the background of your design with a splash of color and graphics for certain product categories. With the Design Maker, you can customize the background on mugs, phone cases, wall art, and all-over products (like leggings). We offer classic hues as well as some trendy options like tie-dye and dazzling graphics that are guaranteed to print well.

printful mockup background color

Background colors and graphics will help you save time you’d otherwise spend using image editing software. Choose a color or a graphic in the Design Maker, add design elements, and you’re good to go!

If it’s the other way around for you—you have a design with a busy background and want to tone it down a bit—we can also help. Our Background Removal Tool is a game-changer if you want to get sleek and polished designs that will pop on your chosen products. The feature is available exclusively as a part of Printful Pro subscription plan, and you can read more about it here.

8. Make patterns for all-over designs 

The pattern tool is a life-saver when you’re creating all-over print product designs. It’s free, easy to use, and it offers endless possibilities for original all-over designs. Pick a product and start designing!

printful all over design pattern

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Select an all-over product
  • Upload a design file, or use our sample designs or clipart
  • Click Make a pattern
  • Choose pattern type: block, half drop, brick, reflect, horizontal or vertical line
  • Adjust color, size and spacing of one component to modify entire pattern
printful all over design pattern tool

You can also: 

  • Add more design layers (in my case, more cherries!)
  • Pick a background color 

When you’re finished, go to the Mockup view in the top right corner of the Design Maker to check how the printed product will look. Beautiful, right?

printful all over pattern mockup view

9. Duplicate design elements

The duplication tool is a game-changer for creating designs with similar elements. Unlike the pattern tool, it places each duplicated item in a new layer, so you can also play around with the size, color, and alignment of each layer individually.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Upload a design element or pick one of ours
  • Click Duplicate
  • Arrange the items to create your design
printful mockup duplication tool

This tool comes in handy when transferring designs between print areas. You can choose which areas you want your design printed on for all-over print products or copy it on both sleeves or legs for all long-sleeve t-shirts, hoodies, and joggers. It’s as simple as that!

After that, you can adjust each placement as needed by adding more design elements, text, and a background color to take your design to the next level.

printful all over design duplication tool

10. Generate mockups 

With Printful’s Mockup Generator that’s a part of the Design Maker, creating mockups is as easy as ever. Instead of staging a real-life photoshoot, you can easily get the same result by previewing and downloading the mockups to use on your store. And the best part—the mockups show what your designs will look like in real life even with the tiniest details.

This time I’ll show you how to generate mockups for an embroidered hat, but the process is very similar for other products too. To start designing, follow these steps:

  • Pick a product
  • Upload your design or use one of ours
  • Choose up to 6 thread colors (only for embroidery products)
  • Let the Design Maker work its magic!
printful embroidery mockup

We have over 1400 mockups with different layouts and themes for you to choose from. Having as diverse mockups as possible is also what we’re working on. We’ve already introduced a great deal of new diverse mockup options, and more are still yet to come.

Want to take your mockups to the next level? Then our Custom Mockup Maker is exactly what you’re looking for. With it, you’ll be able to fully customize your mockups with 300+ built-in backgrounds and layouts, 100+ versatile design elements, as well as your logo and branding.

printful custom mockup maker

The Custom Mockup Maker is available exclusively as part of our Printful Pro subscription plan. Try the Custom Mockup Maker out for 14 days at no extra charge and create one-of-a-kind mockup images for your products. Click here to get started.

See what others have created by with the Design Maker

Design options that you can create with our Design Maker are endless. Check what awesome and unique designs our customers have created by using only this tool.

Kristy Messler-Hunt, Pure Amusement Farm

“I created this design solely using Printful’s Design Maker tool. I love working with Printful because of its user-friendly interface. It’s easy to add products directly to my Etsy shop.”

Ciprian Petre, Tee Gift:

“A little creativity might lead to some unexpected results. This design was made only with Printful’s Design Maker—very easy to use and provides realistic mockups so you’ll know how your product will turn out.”

Kathy Kayhour, Crimson+Clover:

“The Printful Design Maker is so easy to use. I was able to design a fun, festive holiday look for my shop in minutes.”

Your turn to design and shine

Now that you know all our Design Maker insider info, you can get your creativity flowing, play around, and create your next bestseller. Refer back to the tools and features we’ve covered and get to designing!

For more inspiration, make sure to watch our step-by-step video tutorial on how to design in our Design Maker.

And in case you’re looking for free, ready-to-use designs, make sure to download some awesome typography graphics below.

This article was originally published in November 2017; it has since been updated.

Daniela is a Content Marketing Specialist at Printful with a Bachelor’s degree in PR and a MBA. Her experience throughout the years has formed a strong passion for all things communication, social media, and storytelling.


  1. Galaxy

    hi there
    For my first designs here in Printful, I need help since by reading this article and many others and chatting with helping center, I got baffled. So please correct me where necessary.

    1) For DTG tees, when background color is the same as the color of garments, the BG has to be transparent while for AOP ones with the same situation, it has to be white.
    2) For both AOP and DTG tees, if the background differs from the color of garments, the background can be anything the designer wants.
    3) designers can not use Brush tools in photoshop cause the sharp brushes make the brush-drawn area looks transparent in printing and the softer ones make the area semi-transparent. If I got this part correct, hope someone tell me which tool I can use instead of brush tools when I wanna specify the border of an area by lines or something like that where has not to be transparent or semi-transparent after printing?
    4) As I read, vector pictures are not accepted for printing so we have to change them to raster. My question is if we need to make any changes to shapes made by shape tool in Photoshop cause as you know the shapes are vector?

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hey, thanks for reaching out! I’ll try to answer your questions down below one by one:
      * To answer the first and second questions, it’s important to understand that we only don’t print pure white color on white fabrics. All the other colors are always printed, no matter the color of the fabric. Background color (if there’s such) would be your choice.
      * Regarding the brush effect, the main thing to avoid in your DTG designs is transparency. You can replace this effect with half-toning, but transparencies don’t translate well on DTG prints.
      * To address your last question, Photoshop doesn’t create vector files. All the objects/shapes in Photoshop are in pixels. In cases when the design is created as a vector file (for example in Illustrator), there is no need to raster the objects in the work file. For printing purposes, we suggest exporting the print file in .png format with a transparent background. For the Photoshop files, we also recommend exporting the print file in .png format.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

      1. Galaxy

        sorry rewrite my Qs again to make it clear:

        using white color or transparency as background for my AOP designs?
        and when I don’t need any transparency in my design areas not as background but as a part of the design itself, which tool can I use instead of brush ones to avoid transparency made by brush tool?

        thx again

        1. Alise Zindiga

          Hey! It’s up to you to choose between transparency or white color. If it’s pure white we simply won’t print it, because the base fabric of AOP products is already white. Transparent background, however, will allow you to play around with other color backgrounds if you decide to do that in the future. You can learn how to use a brush without the transparencies from this video >
          Keep in mind that transparencies will work well on AOP products. You can also try it on white fabrics with the DTG printing method, as there’s no underbase for white fabrics.
          Last but not least, have a look at this article. I believe it will help you prepare the perfect print file >

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hey, Courtney, it’s not possible to upload other mockups to Printful. You’ll have to use another designing software to add designs to the purchased mockups. After that, you can upload these mockups directly to your store platform.

  2. kevin

    is there a way to print past the designated box? I have a design where it starts from the top of the tee to the bottom. But the box to print is too small. Would it still work or no?

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hey, Kevin, if you’re referring to DTG (direct-to-garment) printing, it’s not possible to print outside the designated box as it’s physically restricted by the size of the printing pallet. If you have larger designs, we suggest exploring our AOP (all-over print) products. AOP products are fully customizable not just on the front, but all the placements.

    1. Anna Marija Freimane

      Hi, Zafeiria, at the moment we’re planning to keep working only with polyester and polyester-spandex blends.
      We have introduced a Recycled polyester bikini and are planning to work on more products made from recycled polyester.:)

  3. Suman Thapa

    Hi. If the designed PNG file is scaled up just to have the preferred size of the graphics in the AOP product, keeping the minimum of 150 DPI in account, will the printing be done as the scaled file?

    1. Katherine Karklina

      Hi, Suman! Yes, if you scale the design up, it will be printed accordingly – just like in the mockup. If you don’t feel like enlarging the design makes it better, you can also try to keep it the original size, and then make it as a pattern across the garment with the help of our pattern tool.

    1. Katherine Karklina

      Hi, Hudson! A DTG printed graphic on a t-shirt or a hoodie can include as many colors as you’d like 😊 The price starts to vary if you’d like to add the design to several areas.

  4. Stephanie

    Say I found a clip art design that I liked in Printful’s catalog. Is it against policy to add color to these in a separate software program and then upload it on Printful to use on my Printful items that I will sell in my Shopify store?

    1. Esther Everson

      You can use our sample designs. There are several sample designs created by our design-team available for all Printful users. You can find them in the file library under the tab “Sample files”, which you can access either directly from your dashboard or when you’re submitting an order and press “Upload file.” There you’ll find designs for the different types of products we offer, including embroidery. These are royalty-free designs meant for both personal and commercial use, and there’s no attribution or permission required if you decide to use them. You can modify the designs if you wish but keep in mind that in this case they still have to comply with our acceptable content guidelines. Hope this helps!

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