Create the perfect Print file

Created by Jake Adams, Modified on Fri, 12 Jan 2024 at 10:38 PM by Jake Adams

Learn about the most common issues with DTG files and how to avoid them

Set your DTG designs up for success

Save the file as a PNG

When creating your own file in software like Adobe Photoshop, we suggest using a transparent background and saving your file as a PNG file. JPG files don't support transparent backgrounds, which means your design might be printed with a white background, diminishing the quality of your design. Before uploading any design files to Trade Embroidery, we recommend checking its transparency in your graphic editor and reading our transparency guide.

Choose the right color space

Create your print file in the sRGB color profile, specifically sRGB IEC61966-2.1. This is the format our system reads when it receives your file. Our printers then convert your submitted file into CMYK format. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (or black). Sometimes converting from sRGB to CMYK slightly changes colors, but using the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 will ensure the best possible accuracy.

Use the right DPI

DPI (dots per inch) refers to the number of printed dots within one inch of an image printed by a printer. This is different from pixels per inch, or PPI, which refers to the number of pixels contained within one inch of an image on a computer monitor.

The more dots per printed inch, the higher the print quality (and the more sharpness and detail). Using the correct DPI ensures fast processing and accurate prints, so be sure to check file guidelines when choosing your products. For most Trade Embroidery products, your print file has to be at least 150 DPI to ensure optimal print quality. 

Keep the DPI high when changing file size

The actual size of your file is its measurement in inches. Let’s say it’s 5 inches by 5 inches with 100 DPI. If you double the size to 10 inches by 10 inches, the DPI is cut in half to 50. Be careful not to decrease DPI when changing the actual size of your design file.

Consider ribbing, seams, and stitching

Flat surfaces are the easiest to print on. If you choose a product like a sweatshirt or hoodie with seams, pockets, and zippers, you should consider these elements during your design process.

Avoid common issues

Light text, white garment

Light ink is usually not visible on light-colored material because the ink used in the DTG printing process is very thin. We recommend adding a darker color background for your designs with light text to make the text easy to read.

Black text, black garment

A white underbase is added to any prints that aren’t white themselves. This means that two layers of white ink are printed, first followed by one layer of color, to make sure the color of your design really pops.

When you choose to print a black design on a black or dark-colored garment, the white underbase can cause the design to look more gray than black. Using a white or light-colored background will help your text stand out on the dark fabric.

Small text

Small text can bleed together and is difficult to see in final products. The smallest font that will be legible under the right conditions is about 6-8pt or 10-12 pixels in height. Use large text and follow the product guidelines for the best results.

Neon colors and pastels

Hot pink, lime green, construction orange, highlighter yellow, and pastel shades do not convert well to CMYK, which is the format our printers read. Instead, consider other bold colors like mauve, emerald, and burnt orange.

Overlapping dark colors

If your design is mostly made up of several dark colors, there’s a risk they’ll blend together in the printed version and you’ll lose the color nuance you saw on your computer screen.

Closeup photographs of white printed on different garments

Certain 100% cotton apparel offer heather colors, which are 90% cotton, 10% polyester blends. DTG printing on these garments will have a bit of a vintage feel, but not as much as a true poly or tri-blend.

Get a beautiful print result

Your printed design will never exactly match what you see on your screen, but if you’re careful and take our advice, you can get a result you and your customers love!

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