What is the Best File Format for T-Shirt Printing? – What’s Best?

What is the Best File Format for T-Shirt Printing?

What is the best file format for t-shirt printing? If you are planning on venturing into the printing business, you have probably asked yourself this question. JPEG and PNG are the most suitable print file formats when it comes to t-shirt printing. 

What is the Best File Format for T-Shirt Printing?

Before printing t-shirts, there are guidelines to follow to get the best results. With these simple rules, you will get the best possible outcome whether you are printing images, logos, plain words or both.

What is the Best File Format for T-Shirt Printing?
What is the Best File Format for T-Shirt Printing?

What to Consider Before Printing

One of the major things to put into consideration before printing is the maximum size of the area to be printed on. The recommended image size for t-shirts is 12×6 inches. This will ensure that the dimensions are accurate and little to no adjusting of DPI (Dots per Inch) settings is needed. The other thing to consider is the file resolution. Most items require that the print file should be 150 DPI, and this is the least required resolution for t-shirt printing. The recommended resolution for printing t-shirts is 300 DPI. The accepted print file format is the other major ideal to get right. Illustrator, JPEG, PSD and DSC 2.0, PNG, PDF and TIFF are the best file formats for t-shirt printing. There are actually many benefits to PNG files. However, it is important to note that when JPEG file is saved, it is compressed and artifacts built in the process. These artifacts are used as part of the print in the RIP process. This may answer your question as to whether JPEG or PDF files are better for printing

Things You Should Avoid When Printing

  • Avoid using low quality files as they will turn out blurry or pixelated if you scale them up. As stated above, t-shirts need print files with resolutions of 300 DPI and above for the highest quality photo format.
  • Avoid using transparencies wrongly. To know if the print file has transparent elements, turn off the solid white background in the editor. The grid will be visible through the elements if they are transparent. Wrong use of transparencies will cause the white underbase to be visible, resulting in a speckled look. This is often associated with low quality and should be avoided. You can also learn how to create a transparent background yourself
  • Do not use unnecessary backgrounds. Only use backgrounds that are part of your design. When printing on dark t-shirts, ensure there is a white under base. If you print an item with a black background on a black t-shirt, the result will be a grey patch around your design. 

Avoid excluding or using wrong inside information. The law requires that the following information be included on the label inside the t-shirt; the size of the t-shirt, where it was made and material it is made of. When printing labels, use 3×3 inches with a font size of 6 pt. You can use any color graphics for white t-shirts and white graphics for dark colored t-shirts. 

Avoid using print files with multiple layers. For t-shirt printing, store your files in EPS or PNG. It is easier to identify layers in these formats.

Consider the Fabric in Use

Different fabrics will have different outcomes. A design printed on a polo shirt will look the same as the same image printed on a cotton t-shirt. You can print a sample to get an idea of how it will turn out.

Bottom Line 

If you were wondering ‘what is the best file format for t-shirt printing?’ Now you know the acceptable file formats for printing your logo or anything else on shirts. However, they need to be followed up with the said graphic recommendations.


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