Apparel Print File Requirements
What is Direct-to-garment printing?
Direct-to-garment (DTG) printing is a printing method that uses ink to print directly onto the fabric or item of your choice. The ink goes straight into the fibers of the fabric, so you don’t feel the design or ink when you touch it.
We use DTG to print most of your products on demand because there’s almost no setup time, which means we can print the designs quickly and send them your way as soon as possible.
Guidelines for DTG design printing
Save the file as a PNG
When creating your own file in software like Adobe Photoshop, we suggest using a transparent background and saving your file as a PNG file. JPG files don't support transparent backgrounds, which means your design might be printed with a white background, diminishing the quality of your design.
Choose the right color space
Create your print file in the sRGB color profile, specifically sRGB IEC61966-2.1. This is the format our system reads when it receives your file. Our printers then convert your submitted file into CMYK format. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (or black). Sometimes converting from sRGB to CMYK slightly changes colors, but using the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 will ensure the best possible accuracy.
Use the right DPI
DPI (dots per inch) refers to the number of printed dots within one inch of an image printed by a printer. This is different from pixels per inch, or PPI, which refers to the number of pixels contained within one inch of an image on a computer monitor.
The more dots per printed inch, the higher the print quality (and the more sharpness and detail). Using the correct DPI ensures fast processing and accurate prints, so be sure to check file guidelines when choosing your products. For most products, your print file has to be at least 300 DPI. It’s also best not to exceed 300 DPI.
Keep the DPI high when changing file size
The actual size of your file is its measurement in inches. Let’s say it’s 5 inches by 5 inches with 100 DPI. If you double the size to 10 inches by 10 inches, the DPI is cut in half to 50. Be careful not to decrease DPI when changing the actual size of your design file.
Consider ribbing, seams, and stitching
Flat surfaces are the easiest to print on. If you choose a product like a sweatshirt or hoodie with seams, pockets, and zippers, you should consider these elements during your design process.
Ribbed garments are printed unstretched, which means the ink only sets on top of the ribs. When worn, the print can stretch and reveal these gaps. This is something we suggest considering when preparing your designs.
Guidelines for Embroidery design printing
Avoid using very small letters because the embroidered text might not be legible. Keep the text at least 0.25'' in height and at least 0.05'' thick.
The minimum recommended line thickness for the regular satin stitch is 0.05''. For thinner lines we’ll use run stitch (a single line of stitches).
You can measure the text in Illustrator either by using the measuring tool, or by converting the font point size to inches.
0.25'' is equivalent to approximately 36pt, and the letters will also have the necessary thickness. But this depends on the font. We recommend using simple fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Myriad pro.
Distressed or textured graphics
With distressed or textured graphics many details might be lost during embroidery depending on the texture size. For these files, we’ll only be able to use flat embroidery, and extremely thin parts are likely to be run stitched.
Negative space objects
These are the empty spaces in the artwork - This can cause several problems.
Avoid these issues by filling the negative spaces with another color.
We can only embroider solid shapes and colors. Gradients won’t work because we can’t transition from one color thread to another.
You’ll have to convert gradients to a one color graphic, and split multiple color graphics with gradients into solid colors.
Graphics that cover a large part of the embroidery area will likely exceed the maximum stitch count of 15,000. Remove all backgrounds from your files to make sure they don't exceed this count.
If you’d like to keep the background, we’ll have to reduce the size of the graphic by up to 50%.
It’s not possible to embroider photographic images as they are. Photographic images have to be recreated to include solid shapes and colors.
Additional charges may apply if we need to edit, adjust or change your file and we will send you a quote, along with detailed changes that are required and you will have the option to accept or have the work completed by your own choice of independent party before submitting the file again.
If you have any questions about your files and their suitability for printing please send us an email and attach an image for us to look at.