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Optimising pixel graphics

Pixel graphics are photos or images that consist of a combination of pixels. Each pixel holds colour information, the sum of which compose the digital image. Spreadshirt uses pixel graphics in digital printing, laser transfer and thermal sublimation. In the following, we’ll give you tips for perfect print results and creation of pixel graphics.

Important for a perfect print: Data format and resolution

Your designs can be printed if they meet these requirements:

  • File formats PNG, JPG, BMP or GIF
  • Maximum file size 10 MB
  • Largest width or length at least 4000 pixels
  • Design has no background

Although we accept several file formats, we recommend you create your designs in PNG format. The big advantage: Only .png files support transparent backgrounds.

For optimal print results, a sufficiently high resolution and size of your design is crucial. Our recommendation is: Set up the longest side of your design with at least 4000 pixels. This allows your design to be scaled razor-sharp on any print area – regardless of the product, without loss of quality.

If the resolution is too low, the pixels will be clearly visible.

Designs without background

Printing photos on T-shirts is extremely popular. Show photos to their best advantage and remove disturbing elements in the background – i.e. have the actual design without a distracting background. It is not enough to simply make the background white, because the white area will show in the print. It will be visible on both coloured and white products. The background of an image needs to be transparent so that our printers can ignore it. That's why it's important to save your cropped image as a PNG.

Design with background vs. cropped design.

No colour transitions with transparencies

To make sure that your design can shine on coloured products in its full brilliant glory, our printers spray a white top coat on the product before printing. Your actual design will then be printed on this layer. This is why your design must not contain any transparency transitions, meaning colour transitions from transparent to opaque. Why is this? In the semi-transparent areas, not only the product colour but also the white layer would shine through. Adjustment tip for advanced users: To create an effect similar to transparency transitions, use raster and halftone effects in your graphics program, such as "dissolve" or "dither”. You can find more tips on our forum.

Consider colour differences in the CMYK and RGB mode

On a monitor screen, colours often appear brighter than on the printed shirt. To make the colours of your printed T-shirt look as intense as on the monitor, try the following:

  • Increase the brightness of your design. The printed product will never come out as brightly as the same image on the monitor. Please remember, that the monitor has its own light source whereas the print only reflects the light.
  • Increase the contrast and saturation of your graphics to a very high degree. What may look a bit ”too much” on the screen will look just right in print.
  • Always upload your graphics in RGB mode. Our software systems work with this colour scheme, and that's why smaller colour deviations are to be expected with RGB files when compared to CMYK files.

From left to right: Perfect – design too dark – contrast too low – saturation too low.

File templates

Format Product examples Illustrator template Photoshop template
Men’s Premium T-Shirt
Mug unicoloured
Baby T-Shirt
Aprons
Tote bags
Pillows
Stickers

Download

Download
Snapback cap
Panorama mug
Lunchbox

Download

Download

Self-help tips

Do you have more questions or particular problems? We’ll find a solution together! On our forum, you’ll get help from other designers and our experienced moderators. People share valuable tips and tricks that may come in handy. You’ll also get new inspiration for fresh design ideas.

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