Let's get art smart

When it comes to custom printing, the quality of the artwork matters the most.  So how do you make sure your design looks great in print? It starts by understanding a few basic print file requirements.

Mastering DTG files

DTG is great for complex, vibrant artwork and images. For those details and colors to translate,  start with a high quality design. We print PNG files of at least 150 dpi (dots per inch), so your design should really meet or exceed that minimum for it to look its best. Image resolution also comes into play.  While it’s often confused for the size of the file, resolution is really a measurement of the pixels in a design, expressed in height and width.  Say you want a 10″ by 10″ design on your t-shirts. To get that size at 150 dpi, make sure your design is sized at 1,500 pixels high by 1,500 pixels wide. When in doubt, submitting an image in the highest resolution possible is always a good rule of thumb. High res images can always be scaled down, but low res images that are scaled up often look blurry. 

Pro tips: 

  • Stay away from designs with transparent elements. They’ll look speckled against the white underbase we use on t-shirts to make the colors in your design pop.
  • Ditch the solid background. Your design will look cleaner, and you’ll avoid the mismatch of a white background on a white t-shirt, or a black background on a black t-shirt. 
  • Give your colors a boost by increasing the contrast and saturation. It may look really bright on your computer screen, but in print it will look just right.
  • Upload your graphics in RGB mode. Our software works with this color scheme, so it’s likely there will be fewer color deviations than with CMYK files.

Mastering screenprint files 

Save your artwork for screen printing in a vector format and send it to us as an EPS file. If you’re not familiar with vectors, they’re the preferred source file for logos, icons, typography, and other hard edged graphics because they can be resized without losing image quality. This is because the vector format relies on math formulas to create the image, whereas other formats, such as the raster, use pixels. That’s why raster images will look blurry when enlarged, but vector designs will maintain their image quality.  Also, if your design includes any text, make sure you choose “Create Outlines” before you submit the file to us. Putting your text in “outlines” locks the text to it can’t be edited and the font can’t be changed in case we don’t have your font.

Pro tips:

  • Choose all your colors wisely. The level of contrast between the color of ink and the color of garment will determine design visibility. If you want a highly visible design, go for maximum contrast between the ink and fabric colors.
  • Think big. Small designs and type can easily be filled in by the ink. To avoid it, use fonts at or above 10 points and lines and outlines at or above 1 point.  
  • Cool it on the special effects. That gradient or drop shadow might look good on the computer screen, but it won’t translate well to a mesh screen.
  • Just like with DTG files, use RGB for screen printing.

What else should I know?

Our mock-up tool will give you a great idea of how your design will look on your garments, but bear in mind, this is just a quick visual reference tool. As noted above, the quality of your print really depends on the quality of your design. This is why our graphic design team reviews each design before an order is printed. If we spot an issue with your design, rest assured, we’ll let you know. Finally,  it’s always helpful to know maximum print requirements to ensure your design will look and fit well on your chosen garment. You can find our print dimensions here.

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