Artwork Design for DTG & DTF

Last updated: August 17, 2023
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All good quality prints begin with good quality artwork. The best quality shirts, perfect pretreat application, and excellent inks & printers cannot correct problems with the actual image being printed.

Image Creation Guidelines

Aesthetic qualities aside, there are a few important considerations when creating or sourcing any artwork for DTG & DTF printing.

  • Transparent background: Unless you want a rectangular print for creative reasons, be sure to make the background transparent. This will not only make the subject of your artwork pop visually, it will also save all the ink that would otherwise be used to print the background.
  • 300 DPI resolution: The higher the resolution of your artwork, the better your print can look. We recommend using 300 DPI to avoid jagged edges on curves.
  • Size artwork to desired print size: Expanding or zooming in on artwork causes jaggy curves, so create your designs at the size you’ll be printing or larger.
  • PNG: Our recommended file format is PNG for storage efficiency (with lossless compression) and support for transparent backgrounds & opacity. TIF, PSD, JPG, GIF, and other formats also work with our DirectRip software, but PNG has the best combination of features, is most commonly used, and is widely supported by graphics creation & editing software.
  • RGB: Yes, your printer uses four-color CMYK inks, plus white for the underbase and highlights. However, the DirectRip software is optimized to convert the RGB colors commonly used for PC computer graphic work to CMYK+W when printing. So we recommend using RGB for your design.

Working with Customer-Provided Images

Customers may request that you print a design that they provide to you as a graphic file. This in itself is not a problem, but it’s important to check the parameters of their designs and let them know proactively if you have quality concerns. As mentioned above, make sure any file you accept is 300 DPI and sized appropriately for the size of print they want to have.

Downsizing is easy & quick to do in DirectRip, so oversized images are fine. But images that are much smaller than the desired print size will not result in the quality of print that you want associated with your DTG printing business.

The same goes for use of clip art or images saved from the Internet. Make sure they’re designed for larger format printing using the parameters referenced above.

Your printer can produce incredible quality prints! Don’t let your reputation for quality printing take a hit due to poor quality source graphics.

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