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How to create Print on Demand T-shirts
Get useful advice and start creating fantastic apparel.
Print on Demand (POD) is a low-risk business model that has become quite popular over the last years. This modality of dropshipping allows sellers to generate an income without assuming high costs.
As in any business, it’s good to have some previous knowledge. In our Ultimate Print on Demand Guide, you’ll find all the information you need to take into account if you consider starting a POD business.
In today’s post, we’re going to explain essential aspects you should know before creating T-shirts for your Print on Demand store. If you’d like to start creating new designs to sell, keep reading!
On this article:
Design aspects to consider before printing T-shirts
There are some aspects you must take into account before designing POD T-shirts.
Dots per inch (DPI). Dots per inch is a standard measure of spatial printing. You must take this value into account to guarantee the quality of your Print on Demand products. Any image that you provide to your print partner must be, at least, 150 DPI. You should never use a file with more than 600 DPI (once this value is higher than 300, you can’t tell the difference).
Right dimensions. You must always submit your designs in their real size. Avoid zooming; it will ruin the quality of your products. You must try to avoid pixelated images.
Backgrounds. If you want your design to have a background, you must include it in the file. If that’s the case, your design must be in JPEG format. If you’d like to have a transparent background, your image should be a PNG file.
Avoid similar colors. To be able to appreciate all the colors on your design, avoid using similar colors. If it’s possible, try to add contrast. This way, it will be easier to differentiate the different elements.
How to use Print on Demand Mockup Generators
Most companies offer mockup generators to allow you to visualize how your products look like. This type of tool is a common feature both in marketplaces and fulfillment services companies. It’s especially useful in case you don’t have previous design knowledge. Let’s look at it in detail and see how you can make the most out of it.
The majority of mockup generators display a template square by default. Here’s where you are supposed to place your design. Our advice is to keep it and use it as a guideline. Putting your design in the product can seem simple, but there are some details you could be missing.
Mockup generators allow you to easily upload images and place text in your designs. Even though these tools are pretty versatile, you have to remember that their possibilities are limited. In a mockup generator, you can only have access to a fixed font library. To use your fonts, you have to create your design in another software and upload it as a file to the mockup generator. The same happens with pre-made illustrations, images, and elements.
In most of the cases, it’s not possible to make changes to your design once you have saved it. It’s also essential to notice that you won’t be able to transfer your mockups from one Print on Demand site to another. Everything that you have created within the app, you will have to generate again on the new site. This circumstance does not apply to designs that you directly upload as a file.
Some platforms, like Printful, allow you to order physical samples. This way, you can see how will RGB colors look in your product. A sample can be a beneficial resource if you are not familiar with textile printing techniques. The image that the mockup generator provides is a good teaser of how will your final product look, but it’s never 100% reliable. RGB colors will most likely change when you print them.
This change happens because the purpose of the RGB model is to represent images on electronic screens. Electronic screens project light, but physical T-shirts don’t: the colors in your design will always look less bright. Even if you are uploading design files in the CMYK color model, our advice is to order a sample product to check the final aspect and quality of the result.
How to design for all-over prints
What is the difference between DTG and all-over prints?
In DTG prints, your partner prints your design on a specific area of the final product. The original piece of apparel exists before you customize it.
In all-over prints, your partner prints your design directly on the fabric. After printing, they’ll follow a pattern to cut that fabric and sew the different pieces to create a brand new T-shirt. This procedure is also frequent in some articles such as leggings, backpacks, hoodies, or bags. In all cases, there is not a piece of apparel before printing.
Design tips for all-over prints
- Always remember to use designs with a resolution that is higher than 150 DPI. All-over prints take the whole surface of the T-shirt; any mistake will have a significant impact on the overall quality.
- Use JPEG images if you want your design to have a background. If you prefer to have a transparent background, always use PNG files.
- Try to avoid similar colors and apply high contrast to your images. Otherwise, you won’t be able to appreciate the difference between some elements in the final product.
- If you want your design to cover the fabric thoroughly, remove the bleed. Otherwise, it will appear inside a frame.
- The dimensions of your design will vary depending on the size of the T-shirt. To make your designs scalable, you must keep all the relevant elements inside the “safe print area.”
- Use seamless designs. Avoid including elements that go all around your T-shirt (e.g., a fake belt). Otherwise, there is a chance that wrapping elements don’t meet in the final product.
Legal considerations on Print on Demand T-shirts
- It’s possible to use third-party designs for your Print on Demand T-shirts. If you want to do this, you must always make sure to have a license that allows you to display, print, and sell those designs. There are two main types of Print on Demand licenses. A Basic POD license allows you to use third-party designs as long as you introduce some modifications. If you’d like to use the designs without modifying them, you must have a Full POD license. You can learn more about Print on Demand licenses here.
- You must always respect trademarks and copyright. Don’t include an element (an image, a quote, a print) in your designs if you are not on your right to use it. Otherwise, you could face serious legal issues.
- Some POD platforms have established partnership programs with relevant trademarks. In that case, you’ll be able to use their images, logos, quotes, and prints as long as you stick to the rules of the partnership.
- Some marketplaces require exclusivity. This means that you can’t post the designs that you have listed there on any other website. Please, read the Terms and Conditions carefully before you start your commercial activity.
We hope you’ve found our advice useful. Good luck with your POD journey!
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