Print on demand - Tips and Best Practices
In this article:
Keep expectations reasonable
We do our absolute best with your printing, from our high-quality DTG machines to our post-print quality checks. But, we do also ask that you keep your expectations reasonable.
Sadly, it's not possible to make a print that comes out looking exactly as the design does on your computer screen. Even if you have calibrated your monitor to a specific color profile, there are various factors that influence the final appearance of colors on a printed product. Because of this, we can’t guarantee 100% color accuracy. It will be very close, but depending on the colors you've chosen and even the fabrics that you've chosen, it may look slightly different.
To understand more about the colors we can print and how results vary based on the fabric, read on.
Colors and printing
When you're reading about printing and color, there are a few terms that it's good to become familiar with:
- Gamut - the term for the color range or color spectrum
- RBG - Red, Green, Blue gamut
- CMYK - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (or black) gamut
Different results for different fabrics
We offer several types or makeups of fabrics that can be printed on. Prints show up differently on each type of fabric.
- 100% cotton - your print will be full opacity and very clear, crisp designs
- Poly blends (50% cotton/50% polyester) - your print will be partial opacity with a more faded design with a vintage effect
- Tri-blends (50% polyester/25% cotton/25% rayon or 50% polyester/37% ring-spun combed cotton/13% rayon) - your design will be partial opacity with a more faded design with a vintage effect
Fabric made of 100% cotton has a tight weave, resulting in a design with full opacity. The ink applies primarily to the top of the fabric.
Fabric made of poly and tri-blend has a looser weave and creates a faded or vintage look. The ink will settle into the weave of the fabric, which is what creates that more faded or less opaque look. Less ink remains on the top of the fabric, making the design more faded.
Thicker fabric, like hoodies, are also more likely to absorb ink, so the final print can have a bit of a faded effect.
The term "giclée" is generally used to suggest high-quality printing and Sellfy is capable of producing these high-quality prints. The best way to describe the printing technique used by our supplier would be Multicolor Inkjet Printing which uses water-based colors and ensures museum quality.
Guidelines for the best results (Giclée printing)
- Use high-resolution images
Giclée printing requires high-res images to produce the best quality prints (at least 300 DPI). This ensures that your prints will look impeccable both from afar and up close with a magnifying glass.
- Create files in sRGB color profile
A giclée print is a replica of your original work and to ensure the end results matches the design you see on your screen, you'll need to set your color profile to sRGB.
- Check for bleeds and template guidelines
Bleeds are an extra inch or so of the image that extends beyond the trim of the print. If your giclée print has elements that line the edge of the page, you’ll need to include bleeds in your file. This ensures that there are no white borders around the edges of the print when it’s trimmed down to size.
Practices we recommend
For creating the best quality merchandise, follow our tips below.
Use PNG or JPEG format with at least 150 DPI
We recommend using PNG for designs with a transparent background. For other designs, we advise preparing files in JPEG instead. For any format, please ensure that you have at least 150 DPI. 300 DPI is ultimately recommended.
Create files in CYMK or sRGB color profile
To ensure your design looks the same when printed as it does on screen, make sure you create your print file in the CYMK or the sRGB color profile. Need to convert a file from RGB? Here is a free tool that can help!
Create designs with the necessary DPI
Simply typing in a new resolution value into the file won't result in a higher resolution print. If your graphic's resolution is too low, the best solution is to recreate it. Higher resolution will mean a higher DPI or dots per inch. It means how many dots of color there are per inch of your design.
Practices to avoid
Note: Only use final designs for creating merch. It's not possible to make changes to your design once it's been uploaded to Sellfy.
There are a few things that we'd advise against, to help create a professional merchandise look. Though the creative process is completely up to you, please read the following.
Do not apply black designs on black garments
Black ink will appear gray and fuzzy on black garments because of the white under base used during printing. Leave these areas fully transparent when designing for black garments. This will allow the black from the clothing to come through the design, instead of using ink for these areas.
Do not use neon RGB colors
Some colors can't be replicated with our ink and printers, this includes neon colors and some others in the RGB spectrum. If you upload a file of this type, will do our best to recreate it, but please know it won't look the same. Instead, we recommend creating a design in the CYMK or sRGB color profiles. These, our printers are capable of recreating.
Avoid borders when designing sleeve prints
We advise against using graphics with perfect borders for sleeve printing since the print can warp slightly when the sleeve is being pulled off the pallet.
Avoid semi-transparent designs
Semi-transparent graphics (or elements with lowered opacity) don't translate well in DTG (Direct-to-garment) printing. We advise using solid colors or simulating semi-transparency by halftoning.