Apliiq's Ultimate Guide to Print Placements on Pants

Apliiq's Ultimate Guide to Print Placements on Pants

The Best Print Placement Options for Pants, Joggers, Leggings, and Shorts 

The print placement options on pants may seem endless. This guide will walk you through some of the top placements that will give your custom pant designs the professionalism they deserve.

Length is not the only way to make a statement. Design your pants to stand out with prints in the right locations. 

Whether you're looking to add your artwork to joggers, sweatpants, leggings or yoga pants, we'll show you our favorite recommendations which are sure to highlight your artwork in the best way.

This article will help you understand the best art for the right location for your brand.

In our experience there are 12 top placement areas for your prints on pants. We'll walk you through the artwork size recommendations and the placement options for each section and share photos of each as well to get your creative juices flowing. 

Top Placement Print Locations

Here are the best areas for placing prints on pants - in random order - for your consideration!
1. Classic Placement
2. Back Pocket
3. Ankle (front or back)
4. Shin
5. Waistband
6. Butt
7. Knee
8. Back Calf
9. Hip
10. Long Hip
11. Crotch
12. Edge Cuff (front or back)

This is no game of head shoulders knees and toes! But get ready for the hokey pokey because we're going to spin around while we put our right foot into each of these pant placement options in full detail with a perfect recipe of recommendations for success. Now that's what it's all about.

1. Classic Sweatpants Placement

This should bring back the nostalgia of your high school gym days with a print featured front and center down the leg. Just because it's a classic, doesn't mean it's boring, there are lots of design elements to plan. For example, consider the direction of the font, and if you want people to read it from top to bottom or bottom up. Do you want the artwork on the right or the left leg? Have you pondered the final look of the pants if you combine text and a small logo? Add your own spice to this tried and true placement!

The Specifications for the Classic Sweatpants Placement

Here are more details of the artwork recommended sizes and placement recommendations to get this classic sweatpants print look correct. 

Nothing says prints on pants like the Classic Print Placement. Jazz up this classic placement with unique fonts, interesting graphics, or powerful messages. You can't go wrong with this approach. However, if you want to elevate your design to the next level,  consider the following areas to add artwork on pants. 

2. Back Pocket Placement

The back pocket is a great little area to add a printed artwork. This is awesome for DTF Transfer printing because technically speaking transfer print can go in areas that other forms of printing have struggles - especially near seams and in tight areas. 

It's got a dreamy look and feel having artwork featured on the back pocket. Something magical about it.

Check out the details that you need to know for this back pocket placement.

The Specifications for The Back Pocket Print Placement

Delightful little prints make everyone happy in the back pocket print location. But the fun doesn't stop there!

3. Ankle Placement

Another bite sized location is on the front of the pants near the cuff in the ankle position.

Generally the print is about an inch or so above the cuff. The cuff location is great for small artworks. 

The Specifications for the Ankle Print Placement

Get creative with this placement by elongating the print upwards. Start the print 1" up from the cuff seam and take it as long as you like.  (We call the longer artwork in the same area the Shin placement, scroll down for more details). Remember the ankle area is not very large so the artwork cannot be more than 2" wide for leggings or yoga pants and cannot be wider than 3" for joggers and sweatpants.

Extra Notes for Ankle Position
The ankle position differs from the edge cuff placement because ankle always centered from right to left and edge cuff position follows the outer edge of the pant leg.  The Ankle position can be either on the front of the pants or the back of the pants. The Ankle and the Shin locations are super similar, main difference is the length of the artwork (Shin is longer and Ankle is smaller artwork).

4. Shin Placement

Much like it's friend the ankle print, the shin print captures an audience in a way that can't be missed. The shin print is great for larger artwork or wider artworks that don't quite fit near the narrow tapered cuff. If you play soccer, you think of this location as shin guards for the pants! Generally speaking it's below the knee and above the ankle and centered from right to left. 

The Specifications for Shin Print Placement

The shin location is an offbeat spot as good as any for printing. The pros of this location are that the artwork even 3" wide doesn't look too crowded as it's a bit farther up the leg than say the ankle print. Honestly, there aren't many cons - maybe just that we recommend a small artwork height for this location. If it's too long, it can run over the knee - certainly possible - but can look a little strange. This can vary per sweatpants style and also the size of the individual garment, so those are two points to keep in mind while designing.

5. Waistband Placement

The waistband is the perfect place for a tiny brand mark or logo. This calls the attention straight to your brand in a simple and elegant fashion. This location thanks the great Lulu Lemon for its fame and glory. If athletic wear isn't boasting a mini hit on the waist band, does it even exist? The waist band location is great for yoga pants and some leggings, but keep in mind that not all sweatpants have the waist band option available. Some sweats like Gildan 18200 and 18400 have a scrunchy waist band, so this location is not an option for that specific garment.

The Specifications for a Waistband Print Placement

The lower back has never been so nicely adorned as with the Waistband Print! 

6. Butt Placement

The gluteous maximus, the badunkadunk, the junk in the truck, the boootayyyy - whatever you want to call it, this tush print is where it's at. It's a staple in the pants print placements since Juicy exalted the spot in the 90s. Let's give up the glory to the Butt placement.

Find more details about the butt placement option in the information below.

The Specifications for the Butt Placement 

Fun for leggings and yoga pants. We can also do this butt placement for sweatpants, but beware as some sweatpants have pockets and that back pocket will certainly interfere with this placement option. As such, this placement option is only available for garments without a back pocket! 

Notes for Butt Placement
When pressing over the center seam, some distortion may occur. We cannot remake garments due to issues with the print at the center seam. We recommend to keep artwork on either side of the seam to avoid any potential issues. We also recommend using big thick fonts or artwork, especially at the center seam area so that the print transfers perfectly onto the garment.

7. Knee Placement

Similar to the Classic Placement, the Knee Placement is a bit lower and steals the center thunder. It's great for sports teams, your brand name, or artwork of any kind. 

Here's how we find the knee position and all the recommendations that we have to make your print fit this location perfectly.

The Specifications for Knee Placements 

The Knee placement gives pants a karate chop of action packed print perfection! Give it a try, we dare ya! This would be an awesome print placement for a dance crew or running team as it would be in full motion.

8. Back Calf Placement

A close relative of the Shin Placement, the Back Calf Placement follows many of the same guidelines and calls attention to the back of the pants. The ultimate mullet design for your joggers - business in the front and party in the back! 

The Specifications for the Back Calf Print Placement

Adding a print to the back calf position works well in combination with a small front hip placement. Explore how you might use this position to boost your pants design.

9. Hip Placement

A little flare goes a long way with the bold front placement of artwork on the hip. Make a big statement with a small touch.

You can do left or right hip placement. It's generally about 8" down from the waist band and about 1" away from the edge seam. Here are more details below.

The Specifications for The Hip Placement

The hip position is great for small artworks, but you can use that same starting point for a long hip placement. Check out the next option to see what happens when you elongate the hip placement. 

10. Long Hip

The long hip will take the usual hip for a nice walk and stretch all the way down the side edge of the pants, as long as you want... up to 19". Yes you heard that right, we can print up to 19" long. 
A great way to balance a large long print is to showcase a more subtle print. In the example above, the monotone green print on green joggers highlights the artwork by way of a contrasting difference in print texture compared to the material of the pants. 

While the Classic Placement is generally known for wider prints, since the Long Hip Placement is along the side edge, it's best for narrower artworks like 1" or 2" wide. Remember you can add a left or right long hip print! Get more info about the Long Hip Print Placement in the detailed description below.

The Specification for the Long Hip Placement

11. Crotch Placement

Some people may ask, "But why??" and to that, we answer, "But why not?!" Sometimes you need your crotch to do the talking for you and a giant print front and center says it all. It's a bold position, probably not recommended for the family friendly brands, but it will undoubtedly bring attention. Use this placement option wisely and watch the good times unfold!

Good news for those that were worried...

Get the max out of the Crotch Print Placement by following the specs below. 

The Specifications for the Crotch Placement

Keep in mind that for most pants, two pieces of materials that form the legs are joined at a front seam right at the crotch area. There may also be pockets or a faux fly seam. The seam is not ideal for printing over and some distortion or loss of detail may occur there. Apliiq cannot be responsible for quality issues when pressing over seams, because even if we try again, we'll likely see the same results. We highly recommend not adding thin lines/shapes or small fonts in the center of the artwork to avoid issues when pressing over the seams. Big fonts and bold shapes should work pretty well in most cases.

12. Edge Cuff Placement

Oh the Edge Cuff Placement, what an under-rated, yet deserving print placement location! If the long hip placement and the ankle placement had a baby, this would be their beautiful offspring. Edge Cuff Placement has the artwork length and the edge placement of the long hip, but it's relocated down south in the comfortable ankle territory.

The Specification for the Edge Cuff Placement

This placement is more subtle than than others in this list. Let's call it the hidden gem. Consider using bright colors or fancy artwork to make it really pop. Keep in mind that this will follow the outer edge of the pants which is tapered - that is why we recommend thin/narrow artwork for this location. 

The edge cuff position can really change the look of the garment depending on the artwork - use your imagination!

Extra Notes for Edge Cuff Position
Remember for this placement, the print follows the edge of the pant leg. The pant leg may be tapered and more narrow at the bottom. That is why we recommend no more than 2" wide artwork for leggings and yoga pants and no more than 3" wide artwork for joggers and sweatpants. 

Edge cuff position can be used on the front or back of the pants! Double the creative adventure, yay!

Know How, Now What?

Congratulations!! You made it through the world's most extensive pants print placement guide. Hallelujah! The knowledge is yours, don't wait too long to start creating - that's the fun part. Add your artwork to some pants and play around with the location. Add notes for our artists to get your design exactly how you want it. We know these positions well, so have no fear that your sketches and plans will come to be just as you're expecting.

If you're still craving edification, we have some more recommendations for you in the following sections. Let the journey continue!

How to Design with Multiple Prints

Consider mixing and matching placements - without overdoing it! Or else... things can get crazy!

Maybe a small hip on the front and a back calf print. Or a classic print placement on the front with a back pocket. We recommend 1 or 2 prints per garment. At Apliiq, we're minimalists, so we appreciate giving space and breath to each print so it can be a focal point. Adding a front classic print and a back pocket together go well together for example. Check out this shin print with back pocket below!

However, maximalism is another design methodology in its own way. We caution against too many prints on one garment because overall the design can look overdone and they're also expensive (especially if you're dropshipping them for your customer). That said, the sky's the limit with prints on pants, so add as many as you like. We're here to support your creative visions and bring them to life. 

Complementary Styles or Matching Sets

Think about offering complimentary designs for mens and womens matching sets for joggers and leggings. Use similar artwork or similar fonts to tie the collection together but change the colors or messaging.

Another idea, while designing the perfect pair of pants or shorts, think of how you could create an entire collection based around the pants by adding a tee, hat, or hoody to complete the look.

Be free to use colors in your artwork to match to your favorite hoody style!

It's all about bringing your brand to the forefront of the design process for creating the custom apparel that's right for your style. Develop a unity with branding for your pants too. Maybe all the sweatpants and joggers have different hip artwork but they have the same cuff artwork or label on the cuff! Labels can help to unify an entire collection. If you don't have labels for your brand, learn more about how labels can help you

Which Services Can Use These Placements?

Not all decoration services are created equal. Digital printing requires garments to be loaded onto a machine and the print area is rather limited. Similarly, for embroidery, hoops are used to hold the garments in place while the garments are on the machines. Good news though, our newest decoration service, Transfer Printing, brings freedom to design in more locations than ever! Now that you found your favorite location, learn which services are available for that specific placement option and other limitations.

Placement Area
DTF - Transfer Printing
DTG - Digital Printing
1. Classic Placement

Max size 13" x 3.5"

Max size 13" x 3.5"
2. Back Pocket

 3. Ankle (Front or Back)

4. Shin

5. Butt

6. Butt

7. Knee
Max size 13" x 3.5"
Max size 4" x 4"
8. Back Calf

9. Hip

10. Long Hip

11. Crotch

12. Edge Cuff (front or back)

You'll notice that all of these options are available for Transfer Printing. This is wonderful news that our newest service allows for more placement options above and beyond the classic and knee placements. We're just as thrilled as you are (if not more!) to see what you come up with!  Remember to select Transfer Printing while designing to use these new locations. We will continue to support existing designs that were created with digital printing in the Classic and Knee position. 

The Print Placement Lessons Recap

  1. Consider the best placement for the size/shape of the artwork you have
  2. Prints can be different sizes
    1. small pops of eye catching brilliance 
    2. big and bold statements
    3. subtle mysteries to discover and appreciate
  3. Reflect on the right position for you
    1. From hip to cuff, there are many print positions along the way
    2. Right or left pant leg
    3. Front or back of the pant leg
  4. Decide on front print placements (hip, long hip, classic, crotch, knee, shin, ankle, and edge cuff)
  5. Imagine back prints placements (waist band, butt, pocket, calf, edge cuff, ankle)
  6. Think through different garments specifically and the placement options they offer (leggings versus sweatpants)
  7. Evaluate if multiple prints are for you (more interesting design vs more affordable options)
  8. Complement your pants with other items like hoodies or tees or hats
  9. Use labels on your pants and other garments to create a unified collection

Go forth and conquer!

    • Related Articles

    • Ideal Print Size & File Quality Standards

      Apliiq always wants to produce the highest quality products for your brand. To consistently achieve great results, you will need to provide high quality artwork. The Apliiq website will assess the quality of your files when you upload and size them ...
    • How To Prepare Artwork For Screen Print

      This article covers artwork requirements for achieving great print quality when using screen printing File Resolution Recommend: 300 dpi Acceptable: 150 dpi Not acceptable: less than 150 dpi Files Size Files must be provided at the size you need to ...
    • Ultimate Guide to Custom Printing: Digital Print (DTG), Transfer Print (DTF) and Screen Printing

      Choosing the Perfect Print for Your Brand At Apliiq, we have three main ways of printing on custom apparel. This is a comprehensive guide to understanding the subtle differences between our offered printing services. Review the process, the benefits, ...
    • How To Nail Standard Artwork Placements For Your Clothing Line

      Are you having trouble figuring out the "right" artwork placements to make your designs look great?  If so, fear not, with a few simple tips you will know all the fundamentals to ensure your finished products turn out great.  Let's jump in and ...
    • Artwork Requirements - Your Responsibilities

      In making custom apparel, great results start with great artwork and well thought out designs. Specific requirements for each type of production service we offer can be found here. It is solely your responsibility to review, understand, and provide ...