Printing Techniques

Spreadshirt offers a variety of printing techniques like digital direct, flex and flock printing. Whenever you shop in the Marketplace or personalize a product with the T-Shirt Designer, a suitable print method is determined depending on formant of the graphics file. Vector graphics are best suited for flex prints, flock prints and thermal sublimation, whereaspixel graphics are best suited for digital direct 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 printing)


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

Flock Printing (velvety)

Velvety (Flock printing)


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

Special (Flex printing)

Special (Flex printing)


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

This is how we print: Digital printing

Digital Direct

Digital Direct


In computer-controlled production, the colors 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

Thermal 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, color 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 personalizing it on a different product. Here are some 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. We only add products once they have shown proper results with a certain print method. And since the determination of a print method depends on the graphics file format, 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 tearing later on. This means that the design can only be scaled down until the smallest element is no smaller than 1.5mm. If you choose a product with a very small printable area - e.g. 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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