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Blog / Beginner's handbook / How to Design a Hoodie with Printful: A Step-by-Step Guide

Beginner's handbook

How to Design a Hoodie with Printful: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Design a Hoodie with Printful: A Step-by-Step Guide
Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa

By Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa

12 min read

Want to design custom hoodies but feeling overwhelmed by the different styles, fabrics, and printing methods? Don’t fret, we’re here to equip you with all the knowledge you need to boost profits when selling hoodies online. 

Hoodies have evolved from leisure and athletic attire into fashion-forward pieces, becoming a key part of any wardrobe. A custom hoodie can easily elevate a casual streetwear outfit while also keeping you snuggly warm. Plus, they offer plenty of fabric real estate for artistic expression.

Let’s explore how to design a hoodie with your personalized print and logo, as well as best practices to make your hoodie business thrive.

When it comes to picking the best hoodies for printing, there are several things to consider first, like style, fabric, and fit.

Hoodies come in two main styles: pullover and zip-up.

Pullover hoodies typically have a kangaroo pocket and a drawstring hood and are made to be pulled on over the head. They’re simple to wear and have a laid-back, casual look.

printful hoodie

Source: Printful

Zip-up hoodies have a full zip closure that lets you wear them open or closed for various looks. They typically have a drawstring hood and two front pockets. They’re excellent as layering pieces or for athletes because they’re easy to remove and generally lightweight.

zip hoodie

Source: Etsy

One of the coolest things about hoodies is that most of them are unisex. So, you can borrow your partner’s hoodie whenever you’re chilly (and still look stylish). There are also hoodies designed specifically for men or women, and of course, don’t forget about youth hoodies.

I, for one, think the perfect hoodie should have pockets. Otherwise, where are you going to put your phone, wallet, or your cold hands? It seems like most people would agree because hoodies typically have front pockets—a great perk.

Here are some examples of each style from our list of the Best Hoodies for Printing

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Hoodie fabric type

Depending on the manufacturing process, hoodie fabric can have varying durability, appearance, and texture. Fabric blends combine different fiber types to take advantage of each one’s strengths and make up for their weaknesses.

Natural fibers, like cotton, are absorbent and breathable, and feel soft against the skin, making them ideal for daily wear. Polyester and other synthetic fibers resist wrinkles and shrinkage, and they’re more durable in the long term. It’s no wonder fabric blends are so popular with hoodies! 

Our best hoodies are made of high-quality cotton and polyester blends. Rest assured that your hoodie will be comfy, breathable, sturdy, and resist fading.

cotton polyester hoodie fabric printing results

Source: Printful

Hoodie fabric weight

Is fabric weight important for hoodies? Yes, fabric weight should influence your choice when selling custom sweatshirts.

Lighter, thinner fabrics are more breathable, making them perfect for layering or warmer weather. They’re great for blocking a chilly breeze while not breaking a sweat. Heavier, thicker fabrics offer more insulation and warmth. They can be made from thick cotton or fleece since both are suitable for colder climates.

When choosing a hoodie, consider your brand’s vision, customer demand, and the coming season. Nobody’s going to want a bulky hoodie in the summer months, but, in winter, that extra cozy, hefty layer can be your best friend.

bonfire hoodie design

Source: Etsy

Now that you’ve chosen a stylish sweatshirt with a blank canvas, let’s discuss printing methods.

DTG

DTG printing, or direct-to-garment printing, involves spraying ink directly onto the garment which penetrates the fabric’s fibers. It’s similar to printing on paper but applied to clothing.

This method works best with natural fibers, like 100% cotton, but it’s also great for cotton blends. DTG printing offers a wide range of vibrant colors and freedom of expression in the design process. The prints are soft, breathable, and very durable.

Unlike screen printing, you can create highly detailed designs that print beautifully. Direct-to-garment printing is also way more sustainable since there are no order minimums. This means you don’t need to print any garments in bulk without being sure they’ll sell—simply print your orders as they come in. What’s more, our DTG printing partner Kornit uses machines that produce almost zero wastewater and consume less energy.

Check out this article for an in-depth comparison of DTG printing vs. screen printing.

dtg printed hoodie

Source: Etsy

Sublimation

Sublimation printing allows you to create personalized hoodies with all-over prints. This means you don’t have to limit yourself to one area only—let your design or pattern be seen from any angle.

Some other pros of sublimation include vibrant and detailed prints, durability, and quick turnaround time. Sublimation printing is also more eco-friendly because it uses dry ink instead of water-based ink and solvents, which can get into the water system. This means that there’s minimum waste and a reduced environmental impact. 

As for the cons, sublimation only works on 100% polyester or blends with a high percentage of polyester. Also, you can only print on white or very light-colored apparel. This is because there’s no white ink in sublimation printing, and the inks can’t lighten the base color.

Nonetheless, it’s a great option for designing stylish sweatshirts with eye-catching all-over prints and patterns. To read more about sublimation printing, click here.

sublimation printing hoodie

Source: Printful

Embroidery

Embroidery never truly goes out of style. In fact, it’s grown in popularity over the past few years. The elegant details bring a sense of luxury to any custom hoodie, whether it’s a logo, a meaningful symbol, or a whimsical design.

Custom embroidery on hoodies is the ideal blend of artistic charm and casual comfort. The hoodie’s thick material also allows you to embroider larger designs that aren’t possible to put on a shirt.

Plus, the textured, raised finish of embroidery designs adds depth and dimension to the fabric.  These designs are alive and vibrant, and exude charm, personality, and uniqueness in every stitch. Let your creative spirit shine, as the colorful threads speak for you.

embroidered hoodie printful

Source: Printful

 

Now that you’ve chosen a good quality hoodie for your online business, and you’re settled on the fulfillment method, it’s time to start designing.

Whether you’re a skilled designer or a beginner, creating your own hoodie design doesn’t have to be hard. Simple, minimalistic designs are trending right now. Plus, to make creating complex designs easier, we offer free design templates and ready-made designs that you can use for your prints.

printful design maker hoodie

Source: Printful

 As for inspiration, you can find it anywhere—from other artists, nature, holiday seasons, world events, or your favorite hobbies. If you need some help getting those creative juices flowing, we’ve got a list of hoodie design ideas to get you started.

You can also hire a designer on Fiverr or another freelance platform. Remember, you’re not alone in the design process, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Read also: 11 Things You Didn’t Know Printful’s Design Maker Could Do

A few more tips for hoodie design inspiration:

  • Make a mood board with your favorite images. Browse platforms like Etsy or Instagram for some cute hoodie designs, or look at successful artists you’re into. Experiment with different designs until you find something you love.

  • Don’t forget to jot down any ideas that come to mind before they escape you. Use Notes or another app on your phone and get them written down, or carry a physical notepad to keep track of great ideas.

idea moodboard

Source: Canva

The success of your online store depends on the quality of your products, which depends on the quality of the print files you create. To make sure your hoodie design meets Printful’s high-quality standards, follow our guidelines for Printful print files.

Here’s where things can get a bit technical. Before placing your design on the product, you have to consider file format, maximum size, file resolution, and color profile. Also, check whether your hoodie design is acceptable (according to Printful’s Acceptable Content Guidelines).

We asked our team to answer all your possible questions regarding print files. You can find our Guide on Preparing the Perfect Print File here. We also have an article discussing the Top 10 Tips for a Perfect Design Print File that will be helpful.

printful file guidelines

Source: Printful

Remember to check out the different print file guidelines for each printing method. Here are some helpful resources:

How to Create the Perfect DTG file

How to Create the Perfect All-Over Print Design

How to Create the Perfect Embroidery file

If you still have questions, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to clear them up.

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Now that you have your print file ready, it’s time to place the design on your hoodie.

Customized hoodies often have designs front and center. This design placement makes sense: it’s direct, simple, and draws attention to your print or logo. But there are other places you can include brand references to make your custom hoodie even more personalized (more on that in a bit).

Learn more: The Ultimate Hoodie Design & Logo Placement Guide

When it comes to placing your design, you want to avoid any technical complications. These can drag out the fulfillment process and leave your customers waiting for their order. Don’t worry—the built-in tools in Printful’s Design Maker (Clipart, Text Tool, Quick Design, etc.) are a fail-proof way to make solid print files.

Here’s how to use Printful’s Design Maker to create your own hoodie design in a few simple steps:

Step #1: Pick a hoodie from our catalog

Open Printful’s Design Maker, click Start designing, search for hoodie, click on See matching products and choose a hoodie for your design.

printful design maker

hoodies in Printful's catalog

Step #2: Choose technique, color, and size

After picking one you like, choose the printing technique, hoodie color, and size, and click Create product template.

creating hoodie design in Printful

Step #3: Add your design and/or use our free templates

You can drop your print file where it says Drop your design here, or click Upload and you’ll be able to either add your print file or use one of our sample files. You can also use our free clipart, text, or quick designs. Or, hire a designer on Fiverr and get 10% off through Printful.

designing a hoodie with Printful

designing a hoodie with Printful

Step #4: Play with your design elements

Now comes the fun part—you can change the position, color, and size of each design element. Just make sure you stay within the printing area. Play with font type, or add an arc, outline, or shadow. Use the Layers tab to duplicate or delete layers. Experiment with different designs and customize them until you’re happy.

designing a hoodie with printful

 designing a hoodie with printful

Step #5: Design the back, outside label, and sleeves

This is your opportunity to really make your brand pop. Add a design element on the right or left sleeve or on the back of the sweatshirt. You can also add an outside label with your brand logo so that anyone who sees it knows how to find your awesome hoodies.

designing hoodie sleeves with Printful

 designing hoodie sleeves with Printful

designing hoodie outside label with Printful

Step #6: Create a mockup for your store

Once you’re happy with your hoodie design, click Continue, choose which sizes you want, and save the product template.

saving hoodie design template with Printful

saving hoodie design template with Printful

Now you can find it under your product templates. Click on it, and you’ll see options Add to store, Make an order, or Download mockups. You can create basic mockups or custom mockups with our templates or your own backgrounds. Your custom hoodie is ready to go!

printful product templates

hoodie product template

printful hoodie mockups

download custom mockups with Printful

6. Don’t forget about neck labels and sleeves

Want to know how you can increase your product value with a few small details? Use custom labels. Branded labels help personalize your product and remind your customers of your brand each time they wear your garment. Plus, they attract attention, acting as some good word-of-mouth marketing.

You can add your brand logo to the inside rear of the hoodie by the neck, or on the outside for more visibility. Some popular placement options for outside labels are the hoodie sleeves or the front of the hoodie by the neck.

A printed inside label needs to have all the mandatory product information, while an outside label can be almost anything—you can display your brand logo, a short text, or other graphics. Both are fantastic ways to make your brand stand out.

printful custom labels

Source: Printful

One thing to consider is that it’s not possible to have both custom inside and custom outside labels. You have to choose one or the other. Learn more about how to Put Your Brand First with Printful Inside and Outside Labels.

Before you list your custom sweatshirts online, order samples to check that everything is perfect. Product quality is one of the most important factors in ecommerce. Since your printing partner is responsible for product creation, printing, and packaging, they’re also in charge of quality assurance.

We definitely recommend ordering samples before you list your sweatshirts online, and making sure that all the features (and the process) are flawless. Here’s what you want to check:

  • Price

  • Colors

  • Material

  • Design

  • Quality

  • Delivery

  • Customer experience and more

There’s nothing more frustrating than realizing your design didn’t print the way you intended. . . from a less-than-stellar customer review.

hoodie design

Source: Bouncymustard

Customize your hoodie design until you’re fully satisfied with your product. Only then can you move on to the next phase.

You’ve created a hoodie with your own design and logo, and you’re happy with the sample orders you’ve received. It’s finally time to set a price and list your hoodies online.

Pricing a hoodie is similar to pricing a t-shirt, and you can find a complete guide on How to Price Custom Shirts on our blog. Here are the main steps to help you set a price that’ll ensure a solid profit:

i. Assess your product cost

Product cost is the total amount you spend to create your product. If you sell print-on-demand or dropshipping products, you’ll begin your product cost evaluation with the price you pay for each item. Don’t forget about fulfillment costs. 

The time you invest in creating intricate graphics, fonts, catchy patterns, and your logo also counts (time is money after all). If you outsource this part, consider the cost of hiring a designer.

ii. Choose a product pricing strategy

There are many product pricing strategies to choose from, but the most straightforward is cost-plus pricing. The formula is super simple: product costs + profit margin = your retail price. It’s important to choose a price that’ll make your business sustainable, so Printful’s profit calculator may come in handy.

Read about other pricing strategies here.

iii. Review your selling prices regularly

You’ve chosen a price, listed your hoodies online, and they’re selling like hotcakes. Now you can just lay back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, right? Wrong. Pricing your hoodies, or any product, is an ongoing process that you need to stay on top of.

Review your prices regularly. Keep up with supplier prices and ongoing trends, check your product demand, and keep a close eye on competitors—they’re probably watching you too.

custom hoodie design

Source: Instagram

For a quick overview, check out our video explaining How to Price Your Products.

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man with jacket
Printful logo
Create and sell custom products online
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You have what it takes 

Whether pullover or zip-up, light or hefty, sweatshirts are an irreplaceable wardrobe staple. So selling your own hoodies is a surefire way to grow an online business. And, as you can see, creating a custom hoodie that sells doesn’t have to be hard. With our free design tool (Printful’s Design Maker) and this complete guide, you can make your own hoodie in no time.

Remember that you’re not in this alone. From choosing the best hoodie style and fabric to making creative design print files and listing your custom hoodies online—don’t be afraid to seek out support every step of the way.

So start designing or hire a designer and make those customers happy. Everybody loves a personalized hoodie that keeps you warm and cozy! 

author

By Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa on Jul 17, 2023

Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa

Guest author

Zoe is a creative writer, multilingual translator, and certified yoga instructor with a passion for learning, traveling, and global cuisine. When she's not typing away at her PC, you can find her teaching yoga in the park, reading on the couch with her cat, or plunging in the Mediterranean.

Zoe is a creative writer, multilingual translator, and certified yoga instructor with a passion for learning, traveling, and global cuisine. When she's not typing away at her PC, you can find her teaching yoga in the park, reading on the couch with her cat, or plunging in the Mediterranean.