UPDATED DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR ARTISTS
The industry has shifted. And so have we. It’s a new, exciting world of ‘Direct to Garment’ digital printing (DTG). And new times call for new design guidelines. We’ve received a lot of questions about our old 6-color limit, whether we still need color-separated files, about halftones vs. gradients, and why nacho cheese is so tasty. So here are our answers (minus the nachos) in a handy-dandy acronym to help you REMEMBER the new guidelines:
S is for SIZING
- Print-Ready PNG files should all be formatted as a 4500 x 5400 pixel canvas (15” x 18”) at 300 DPI. To avoid submission issues, the final file size should be 25 MBs or less.
- All Design Mockup images should be sized at 600 x600 pixels, and should be smaller than 350 KB.
- Design Thumbnails (Derby submissions only) should 186 x 186 pixels, and should also be smaller than 350 KB.
P is for PLACEMENT
- When designing your shirt, keep all art within the 15 x18 printable window (see image below). Anything extending beyond that window will not be printed.
- Size and place your artwork within the 15 x18 frame where you would like it to be printed. We’ll use your placement and sizing as a guide for the final production files, but may make some adjustments to improve the printability or wearability of the design.
Please note that the top of the printable area sits approximately 3 centimeters (1.25 inches) below the neckline. This is the highest we are able to print.
A is for Artwork
We no longer impose a 6-color limit on your artwork. Yep! Our new color limit is NO LIMITS! Your designs can contain as many colors and gradients as you would like. Let the rejoicing begin!
However, if this new “sky is the limit” approach to colors is too ambiguous for you because you’re a person who likes to have a few parameters, then here’s our suggestion: we’ve found that in most designs, 6-12 colors should be more than enough. But feel free to ignore that advice.
Just be aware that using a large number of colors may limit the range of non-apparel products that we are able to print your design on in some instances (such as converting a design to a single color for etching on to tumblers).
T is for Transparencies
DTG printers have come a long way when it comes to printing partially-transparent artwork directly on a garment. But determining how transparent your artwork should is not an exact science. Yet.
For now, you can handle partial transparencies in your designs in one of two ways:
- 1- Convert the partially transparent art into halftones. We’ve found that halftones of 30 LPI or larger tend to work best. Note: HTs that are 1 pixel or smaller will be choked back and will not be visible in the final print.
- 2- Leave the partially transparent artwork in your design, but try to keep the opacity at 25% or higher. Basically, err on the side of LESS transparency that you think you might need.
To clarify, the above options are only necessary when the partially transparent pixels are being printed directly on the shirt. Transparencies or gradients that are used over a solid color (to add shading or highlights, for example), are not typically an issue.
E is for Export
Before you submit your art to Woot!, it must be converted to a 15 x 18" PNG at 300 DPI with a transparent background.
Most of the problems we encounter when processing art files are caused by the way a design has been exported. To avoid common mistakes or errors with your export settings, check out this tutorial for creating radical, correctly-formatted Print-Ready PNG files!
Summary: You’ll do GREAT if you remember S.P.A.T.E.!
Weigh in on the forums if you have any questions, and make sure you head over here to download and start using our updated design templates!