How can you tell if your uploaded graphic will print crisp and clean on the shirt? Here’s a quick and easy test: before uploading your graphic to the Design Studio, print it from your printer at the size you want to print on the shirt. If the print looks blurry, chunky or dirty, it won’t look any better on the shirt.
So how do you fix this? Making the graphic high resolution is the best place to start. If you are using a vector-based graphics program such as Adobe® Illustrator®, be sure to export your file with a resolution of 300 dpi. If you are using a raster-based program such as Adobe® Photoshop®, start the process by working with a resolution of 300 dpi. In some programs the resolution may be referred to as ppi (pixels per inch); for our purposes this is the same as dpi. A common mistake is to use 72 dpi, which is perfect for on-screen viewing, but will produce poor print results. It’s also important for the graphic to be the size you intend to print on the garment. For instance, if you want your graphic to print 10”w x 11”h, make it 10”w x 11”h at 300 dpi. If you start with dimensions smaller than you intend the final print to be, you are essentially decreasing the resolution of the image when you enlarge it.
Another cause of poor quality graphics is using too much compression when saving your jpeg. Although compression is beneficial because it makes the file size smaller, using too much compression will leave unintended distortions and “artifacts” in your design that will translate to the print on the shirt. A good alternative to the jpeg format is the png format. Not only is it a “lossless” file type (therefore leaving you with no compression artifacts) but it also maintains transparency in the image. This is helpful when you want the garment color to show through particular areas of your design.
Remember, these tips apply only to images that you create on your computer and upload to the Design Studio. The tools available in the Design Studio are completely vector-based so they are not subject to the resolution concerns as are raster images (jpeg, png, gif, tiff, bmp, etc).