Printing Techniques

Spreadshirt offers a variety of printing techniques like digital direct, flex and flock printing. Whenever you shop in the Marketplace or personalise a product with the T-Shirt Designer, a suitable print method is pre-set depending on the graphics file. Vector graphics are best suited for flex prints, flock prints and thermal sublimation, whereas pixel graphics are good for digital printing and thermal sublimation. Let’s examine the look and application of the different print methods a bit more closely.

This is how we print: Plotting

Flex printing (smooth)

Smooth (flex print)


The design is printed on matte foil and then heat-pressed on the product. More about flex printing

Flock printing (velvety)

Velvety (flock print)


The design is cut out of a velvety foil and then heat-pressed on the product. More about flock printing

Special (flex printing)

Special (flex print)


This special kind of flex printing is made by applying special effect foils, e.g. glitter or reflective foils. More about special flex printing

This is how we print: Digital Print

Digital direct

Digital Direct


In computer-controlled production, the colours are sprayed on the item. More about Digital Direct

Thermo sublimation

Thermo sublimation


The design is initially printed on a transfer foil and then printed on the product by means of thermal evaporation. More about thermal evaporation

Digital Transfer/
Laser Transfer

Laser Transfer


The design is initially printed on a transfer foil and then printed on the product by applying heat. White products receive a transparent foil, colour products a white transfer foil.

Why can’t I put some designs on certain products?

If you create a product with the T-Shirt Designer, please try personalising it with a different product. Take a closer look at the reasons why this may be necessary:

Print method not suitable for a product

We want you to have long-lasting enjoyment of your Spreadshirt products. This is why we extensively test and wash every product before we add it to our product range. Only products showing flawless and proper results with a certain print method are added. And since the determination of a print method depends on the graphics file, some designs cannot be printed with the print method cleared for the product in question. Sports gear, for example, is not suitable for digital direct printing of pixel graphic files. Here you should only use vector graphics or text.

Vector design too large

As mentioned above, flex prints and flock prints require the use of vector graphics. Vector graphics can’t be scaled down at will, though, because fine lines cannot be thinner than 1.5mm to avoid them from tearing later. This means that the design can only be scaled down until the smallest element is still as big as 1.5mm. If you choose a product with a very small printable area - e.g. on a baby bib or baseball cap - the vector graphics file may be too big for the product. The same holds true for large-scale vector graphics with very fine elements. Consider changing the product or adjusting the design accordingly.

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