T-Shirt Design: The Basics
This section has been included in our ever expanding Learning Centre, due to popular demand. Many users of our website ask us for design tips, the best file formats for designs uploaded and other graphical related questions every day. Whether you are a beginner or a graphical genius, this section should assist you.
What software should I use?
Use a software you are comfortable with! Don't throw yourself in at the deepend with software you have no idea how to use. Most image editing programs are made to be straightforward with a plethora of features for the more advanced users at the click of a button. The main pieces of software we use at PrintPit are, Gimp, CorelDraw and Adobe Photoshop. Don't worry if your program of choice is not listed here - it's not the end of the world, you probably already know what you're doing!
GIMP is an open source, free, image editing program available for Windows and Mac OS. It is ideal for beginners and is simplistic to use. It can be downloaded here.
CorelDraw can range in price dependant on the version of the software, but is the usually much cheaper paid piece of recommended software to edit all your images. It can be downloaded here.
Adobe Photoshop is the media industries standard software of choice. With it being created for use in the industry, and for individuals too, it has a larger price tag. Buying the software outright can be very expensive (some cases over £1,000), however Adobe's Creative Cloud packs allow access for a very cheap price. A 30 day trial can be downloaded from here, and if you so wish a small monthly subscription can be purchased for access to the software and lifetime upgrades.
Please be aware however, that all these programs achieve a similar outcome - it is down to personal preference which one you use!
What are the optimal settings for my T-Shirt / Mug Design?
We recommend making an image in the best quality as possible. As standard we recommend making a document at 300PPI (PPI means Pixels Per Inch), or in more regular terms 4200 by 4800 pixels. This is due to our standard print area for garments being 14x16inches. Images that are slightly more square, such as 4200px x 4200px, will be fine for printing onto mugs, but as with garments the higher quality, the better the result.
Don't worry if your designs are not this large, less intricate designs print perfectly fine at 100PPI (1400 by 1600 pixels). Like any photos you would print on a regular inkjet printer, the better the source file, the better quality of the print. If you upload low quality images to our designer, please be aware that the item will still be created with your design and may not be at optimum quality.
Most programs the image size can be set upon creation of your blank image. You can do this in Photoshop as below.
Other image editing programs will have similar options, just simply create an image 4200x4800 pixels.
Tips and Tricks
Following a few tips will ensure you create the best quality images for use in our custom product designer here at PrintPit.
- Avoid creating images with white backgrounds - simply use transparent ones instead. This ensures that if you create a design and wish to make it on both white and black garments, it requires minimal or no editing. This also means when we create your item, it does not have any large blocks of colour which may make your item look less professional.
- Save out your images with the transparency! Our favourite format for great quality, and not huge file sizes is PNG. Almost every image editing program allows you to save out in PNG files.
- Don't use black on a black garment, or red on a red garment - it will look awful! (White on a white garment technically is ignored by the printer, and will simply print nothing where the white ink should go.
- Don't use small images, the bigger, the better! (You don't have to go too overboard however, as there is only a maximum quality we can process/you'll have the time to upload).
- Don't be afraid to ask or search - Google and YouTube have hours and hours of tutorials and assistance that can help simply resolve thousands of issues or problems that you may run into.
- Just remember that we're not all excellent graphic designers - if you're starting your first couple of designs don't be afraid to tweak things here and there until you are happy with the final project.
- Finally, let your creativity run free! You don't always have to follow the crowd, if you want to make a T-Shirt with a photo of a cow on, while everyone around you is creating images of sheep, don't be afraid to be different!