Today we’ll be talking about how to properly prepare your artwork for print in order to make the whole process go faster, and without any unexpected surprises. If you want to watch this tutorial in video form, click here.

A little preface as well, this tutorial is to help you make the whole process go as smooth as possible. Our team is here to assist you every step of the way and we won’t just print something we know will look horrible just because it was sent through that way. This is just to eliminate as much back and forth as possible to avoid any unnecessary delays in the manufacturing process. 

Setting up your software

As with anything in life, it’s easier to be prepared than to try and solve problems as they come up. This is very true when you’re making a design for a specific purpose, like being printed onto a t-shirt. If you start correctly it will make your life a whole lot easier down the line. Also, if you aren’t designing yourself it’s a good idea to brief the designer on what the design will be used for, and what format you’ll need the final design in to prevent more back and forth later down the line. 

So all you have to do to set up your design, no matter what software you’re using, is to make sure that you’re designing the correct size and resolution. So here in photoshop for example, you’ll want to set it up to the size that you’re going to print it, with a resolution of 300 PPI. If you’re unsure of what the final size of the print will be, a good idea is to design it to be A2 (42cm x 59.4cm) in size, as that’s the largest we can print. So even if it ends up being just a 10cmx10cm pocket print, you’ll be sorted as your resolution can never be too high.

Also, to ensure that your colours will be correct, set your file to CMYK colour as opposed to RGB. If you design something in RGB and then it’s converted to CMYK this can have quite a drastic effect on some colour ranges and they’ll end up different from what they were in your design.

Cropping

The next step after you’re finished making your design, is to crop the file in so there’s as little blank space to the top and on the sides as possible. The reason this is super important is that our software measures the size of the file, not the design, so if you say you want it 12cm wide but there’s 4cm of blank space on each side, it’ll end up being printed 8cm too small. The more precise your file is, the more precise our printing will be.

Removing the background

Next up is removing the background. Nearly any photo editor or design software will have a background removal feature, however the easiest way to do it is to create your design on a separate layer from your background, and then just delete the background layer when you’re done. If you do use the remove background feature in your software, it’s a good idea to check that it didn’t leave anything behind by temporarily putting a contrasting colour on the bottom layer to double check that everything was removed.

Format

Last step is to export your file into the file that you’ll send to us. We can print nearly any format, however there are some formats that work best. If you set up the file properly then this step is super easy, simply export, select PNG format, and make sure that Transparency is on. Another format that works really well if you’re working with graphic design software is a transparent vector. These formats will ensure that your file stays high-resolution as jpegs and other formats could compress your file.

And there you have it! If you follow these four steps every time you prep a t-shirt design you can be sure of consistently high-quality prints with no surprises, and that the whole printing process will move as quickly as possible as this will eliminate any back and forth that might have to happen before printing begins.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions, we’ll answer each and every one.

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