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WootBot


quality posts: 17 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

NEW DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR ARTISTS

The industry has shifted. And so have we. It’s a new, exciting world of ‘Direct to Garment’ digital printing (DTG). And new times call for new design guidelines. We’ve received a lot of questions lately about our 6-color limit, whether we still need color-separated files, about halftones vs. gradients, and why nacho cheese is so tasty. So here are our answers:  Forget about it (sort of)! Yes. Sometimes. And we don’t know why but now we’re hungry. 

Still need clarification? We’ve come up with a handy-dandy acronym to help explain (and help your REMEMBER) the new guidelines: 

S.L.A.T.E.

S is for Sizing

  • All art files should now be formatted as a 15” x 18” canvas at 300 DPI.
  • Keep all art within that frame. Anything extending beyond it will not be printed.
  • Size and place the art files within the 15 x18 frame. As shown in the image below, the top of that frame sits approximately 3 centimeters (1.25 inches) below the neckline. This is the highest we are able to print. 

L is for Layers

We test print every design we sell. And we frequently need to make adjustments to the colors within a design to achieve the highest possible print quality. Files with color-separated layers allow us to make these adjustments quickly and with greater precision. As such:

  • All art files should still contain color-separated layers.
  • If your design uses background gradients or halftones, please place them on a separate layer, even if they are the same color as another element in the design. This gives us a greater level of flexibility when troubleshooting printing issues.  
  • To avoid confusion, it is best if the last layer of your file is filled and labeled with the appropriate tee color.

 

A is for Artwork

We’re no longer imposing/enforcing the 6 -color limit. Let the rejoicing begin! However, as a caution: if you use an excessive number of colors, it may limit the range of non-shirt products that we're able to print your design on. We recommend somewhere between 6 and 12, but you’re free to add as many as you like.

Also, good prints require good contrast! A design that looks great on your illuminated screen, may turn out looking flat or a little washed out once it's printed if there isn't enough contrast in the design. So it's always a good idea to use a little more contrast between colors than you think you might need, especially between colors that are very similar. 

 

T is for Transparencies 

DTG printers have a notoriously difficult time with partially-transparent pixels. This is because they can't print with partially-transparent ink, and they lay down a white base beneath everything they print (except pure black). The result is that any partially-transparent portions of your design that are printed directly on the shirt will end up looking like a muddy, hazy mess.

For example, the design below uses semi-transparent pixels to fade parts of the artwork into the black shirt. This looks great on screen, but the DTG printers are unable to accomplish the same effect and end up producing fuzzy gray blobs, instead. 

If you want to achieve this type of faded or partially see-through effect on a part of your design that will be printed directly onto the shirt, you will need to use halftones. We've found that halftones of 30 LPI or larger tend to work best. 

But halftones are only necessary when the partially transparent pixels are being printed directly on the shirt. It typically isn’t an issue if you want to use partial transparencies to create shading effects or something similar, as long as the transparency is on top of a solid color (see the example below).

 

 

E is for Export 

We use Photoshop to create all of the print files and sales images for everything we sell. This means every file we receive must first be converted to a PSD before we can use it. If you use a program other than Photoshop, you can save us a little time and effort by exporting your artwork as a PSD before sending it to us. 

To export from Illustrator, select File > Export > Export As… In the dialog box, select “Photoshop” from the dropdown menu, check “Use Artboards,” and select “Export.” In the next dialogue box, select “Write Layers” (make sure both edibility boxes underneath are also checked), and select “None” from the anti-alining dropdown.  

If you use a different design program, most are still able to export to the PSD format. If you encounter any issues, hit up the forums for advice. And if ever in doubt, sending the original art file in the program you used to create it is always a safe place to start. 

Summary: You'll do GREAT if you remember S.L.A.T.E.!  

Weigh in on the forums if you have any questions, and make sure you head over here to download and start using our updated design templates! 

 

 

kg07


quality posts: 14 Private Messages kg07

Thanks Ben. This is really helpful moving forward, but I did not see an answer to the nacho cheese question...





midgerock


quality posts: 6 Private Messages midgerock

question: if you are moving towards DTG printing or already have, why would you need color separated files, especially when pms colors are provided and should not be changed?

Also I find color changes are more accurately made in an illustrator file with clean vectors and colors separated even on a flat layer. If colors need to be change its easier to change them in the AI file then a PSD file.

Narfcake


quality posts: 397 Private Messages Narfcake

Volunteer Moderator

midgerock wrote:question: if you are moving towards DTG printing or already have, ...


Have -- for most of the past two years now.

I will say that the quality has definitely improved in the past 6 months or so. Still not on par with a good screen print, but the gap has closed considerably, and for most intents and purposes, it's fine.

No.1 rule of online apparel purchases: SIZING CHARTS! Unsure about classic and fitted options at shirt.woot? Comments on the new pricing? Read more about that here.

Do you like (or dislike) what you see at shirt.woot? Choose what prints at shirt.woot! Vote in the derby!
- Note: I am not staff. If you need help with your purchases, contact Support.
 

Jennzilla


quality posts: 6 Private Messages Jennzilla
midgerock wrote:question: if you are moving towards DTG printing or already have, why would you need color separated files, especially when pms colors are provided and should not be changed?

Also I find color changes are more accurately made in an illustrator file with clean vectors and colors separated even on a flat layer. If colors need to be change its easier to change them in the AI file then a PSD file.



I wanted to ask the same...for me vector is always preferable to even a high resolution .psd. I'd gladly send both if it's easier for them to print from a .psd, but I was always under the assumption that in the print world, vector is king.

benwyeth


quality posts: 0 Private Messages benwyeth

Staff

Good questions, @midgerock and @jennzilla. And you both bring up valid points. To answer midgerock's first, if we followed the "what you upload is what we print" model, you're exactly right. A flattened PNG would be all we need. But because we test and retest each design until we're satisfied with the quality and are confident that its as close a match to the digital version as we can get it, having the original color-separated layers gives us the greatest amount of flexibility. So that's what we prefer.

As for the point you both raise about vector files, I agree. However, all the processes and systems in place here at Woot were designed with photoshop as the base file type. So that's what we use. And even though it makes my inner-designer cringe to say it, I've eventually had to concede that there are some definite advantages to using Photoshop over Illustrator. At least for the work we do.

In any case, we've built up a bevy of tools, actions, and scripts to make fine-tuning the color, eliminating transparencies and anti-aliasing, and otherwise processing the art files and generating the sales images a whole lot easier.

Anyway, I'm sure that answer managed to somehow simultaneously be both over and under informative, but I hope it at least helps a little!

BEN WYETH
Art Director - Shirt.Woot

benwyeth


quality posts: 0 Private Messages benwyeth

Staff

kg07 wrote:Thanks Ben. This is really helpful moving forward, but I did not see an answer to the nacho cheese question...



Oh! Sorry about that, Kg. It was implied.

But in case you missed it, the gist is that you've been volunteered (voluntold?) to be in charge of having fresh nachos delivered to our office every Tuesday afternoon. Thanks in advance!

BEN WYETH
Art Director - Shirt.Woot

graffd02


quality posts: 2 Private Messages graffd02

I notice that Purple, Pink and Orange are now on the Template... are these colors available for design in ALL derbies?

acraigl


quality posts: 234 Private Messages acraigl
graffd02 wrote:I notice that Purple, Pink and Orange are now on the Template... are these colors available for design in ALL derbies?



See the template thread. Yes, but Ben said it might be a while before they ramp up. Not sure if that means we can use them now or hold. Probably hold.

VOTE >

benwyeth


quality posts: 0 Private Messages benwyeth

Staff

graffd02 wrote:I notice that Purple, Pink and Orange are now on the Template... are these colors available for design in ALL derbies?



Yep! It's a full green light to begin using them right away! It might take a little time for the color selections on the submission page and the 'search by color' options to be updated accordingly, but you can begin designing for the new colors immediately and submitting them to the derby or through the standard process.

BEN WYETH
Art Director - Shirt.Woot

Jennzilla


quality posts: 6 Private Messages Jennzilla
benwyeth wrote:Yep! It's a full green light to begin using them right away! It might take a little time for the color selections on the submission page and the 'search by color' options to be updated accordingly, but you can begin designing for the new colors immediately and submitting them to the derby or through the standard process.



Ooohhhh my shirt closet is tingling. New colors - is it my birthday?

Narfcake


quality posts: 397 Private Messages Narfcake

Volunteer Moderator

I'm not sure why the more official halftone guide doesn't exist anymore (Design Tips: I Have Become Halftone, Destroyer of Shirts... (Part One)), but Ramy's halftone tutorial is available for reference here:
- Choosing the halftone that's right for you: A halftone tutorial by ramyb

No.1 rule of online apparel purchases: SIZING CHARTS! Unsure about classic and fitted options at shirt.woot? Comments on the new pricing? Read more about that here.

Do you like (or dislike) what you see at shirt.woot? Choose what prints at shirt.woot! Vote in the derby!
- Note: I am not staff. If you need help with your purchases, contact Support.