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Artwork Info

Because screen printing is a specialized printing process with its own specific requirements for artwork, it is not as simple as creating a graphic for a website or an image for a digitally printed shirt. Whether you have experience in graphic design for screen printing or not, you basically have three options for creating your artwork to be screen printed on your shirts.

You Have Three Options:

1) Have Our Professional Graphic Designers Do The Work For You.

Our design rates are very competitive, from simple artwork prep and color separation, to optimizing your existing artwork for screen printing, to a full-on original design creation, we can handle your every need. To see our services and pricing, see our Artwork Services Page.

2) Have Your Own Graphic Designers Do The Work For You.

If you have someone else do your design work for you, be sure that they are experienced in prepping art for screen printing on clothing items. If they are not and they create a graphic for you that needs further prepping for screen printing, this will be an extra cost for you. Be careful! Again, our rates are very competitive and our designers are top notch. To see our services and pricing, see our Artwork Services Page.

3) Design Your Own Graphics.

If you decide to design your own graphics to be screen printed on your shirts, please take a moment and read through the rest of this page. It will give you a crash course in how to make sure your artwork will print and look the best on a screen printed shirt.


How To Create Your Own Graphics For Screen Printed Apparel

Artwork Requirements

Notice: to upload your artwork, you will be given an upload link in your order purchase confirmation email when your order of a new design is complete. The upload link is not on this page.

Your artwork must be “camera-ready” before you send it to us to print on your shirt. After placing your order, you will receive a link to our Artwork Upload page where you will be able to upload your artwork files to our remote server.

This means that your artwork must meet the following requirements:

  1. Pro graphics file format, e.g. PSD, AI, etc.
  2. 300 dpi at full print size if using pixel based software (photoshop etc), or vector format if using vector based software (adobe illustrator etc).
  3. Colors separated onto individual layers.
  4. No obscene, pornographic, or profane material included in the artwork.

If you upload your artwork and it is not ready for printing, we will notify you by email.

Watch this Help Video here to see exactly what we mean by “camera-ready.”

Formats that we can accept for artwork:

1. Digital vector artwork saved from Adobe Illustrator CS3 (or earlier) or Macromedia Freehand MX (or earlier). Convert all text to paths/outlines to eliminate the need for the fonts to be present when we open your file. Paths also make logos more stable and less likely for spacing to change between letters or words. PLEASE INCLUDE ALL FONTS AND IMAGES IF YOU USE THEM. DO NOT EMBED IMPORTED IMAGES. LINK ALL IMPORTED IMAGES TO THE FILE.

2. Digital artwork saved as a TIFF, PSD, or JPEG file from Adobe Photoshop CS3 (or earlier) or another similar pixel based graphics program. These images MUST be created at 300 DPI resolution at the final size you want your image to print. (i.e. if you’re printing a 3″ x 6″ shirt design, the artwork should be created at that size at 300 DPI aka 900 x 1800 pixels). If you save a file as a JPEG, DO NOT compress it below a 9/high quality. The more you compress a JPEG the worse it will look when printed. Avoid JPEG’s if you can. DO NOT TAKE ARTWORK FROM THE WEB. It is usually saved at 72 DPI, which will print HORRIBLY (and may also be illegal if the image does not belong to you)! Do not resize/blow up an image from 72 DPI to 300 DPI as it will still print badly (a low resolution pixel image will look even more pixelated when blown up). If you are sending Black & White art with gradients, make sure to change it to Grayscale Mode before saving. If the artwork is solid Black & White change it to Bitmap mode. Doing these things will reduce your file size enabling you to upload the file to us easily.

Recommended Ink Colors To Use

Colors are a tricky thing. They may look the way you want them on your computer screen, but look differently when printed on a shirt. This is the same with any kind of computer and any kind of printing. To avoid any disappointments with your order, it is HIGHLY recommended that you stick to the standard screen-printing ink colors. If you stick to the standard colors, there will be much higher chance that your colors will come out printed the way that you intended when designing your artwork. Check out this Standard Screen Printing Ink Color Chart.

Gradients, Drop Shadows, Photographs

There is always a difference between the appearance of a digital artwork file on the computer monitor and what can be produced when it is actually printed. Below is a example of a gradient (aka fading and lighting effects). In Photoshop the gradient is produced by varying tones of the different color pixels – white and turquoise. This gives the appearance of a smooth gradient when viewed on your computer monitor. When the same image is screenprinted, you are trying to recreate that gradient using only one color of ink. In printing, this is called a halftone screen. A halftone screen is comprised of tiny halftone dots of ink used to recreate gradients or the various tones in a photograph. It is a similar process to what you see with pictures in a newspaper. The example below shows an enlarged section of a design with a gradient and a close-up view of what this would look like when screen printed onto a tshirt. Close up you can see the dots, but at a distance of about 2 to 3 ft. your eye blends the dots into a smooth gradient.

It is NOT recommended to use gradients in screen printing!
Designs or photographs with fine shading may drop out and will be created using halftone dots. Use solid fills and outlines for best results.

Computer view vs. Screen Printed view

Template Files to use when creating your artwork…

Use Illustrator files for vector based graphics programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Use PDF/TIFF files for pixel based graphics programs such as Adobe Photoshop.

If you have questions regarding artwork, contact us by submitting an email.

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