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What designs work best with dye sublimation printing on T-shirts?

Apr 21st, 2014

Putting favourite images on clothes has become a popular trend as a way to spruce up otherwise simple articles of clothing. The industry has come a long way from simple iron on transfers. Complex images with intense colours often need dye sublimation to transfer the print. Print companies have come up with ways to create custom prints for customers with small orders. Here are a few tips to work with print shops for the best effects.

Designs On T-Shirts

Start with a good image

The generalization, garbage in, garbage out, applies in this case with image quality. Start off with a file that has enough resolution that the details won’t appear fuzzy on your shirt. For photos, image resolution is often controlled by camera settings. Ensure the camera settings have given you a large enough file so fine details can be stored.

For images taken from websites, it’s important to get a clear image. Small pictures will give you pixelated and fuzzy designs. The type of file isn’t generally important, however you should always check to see that the owner of the image hasn’t compressed the file too much. Compression can blur lines and bleed colours into other areas.

Colour works better than black and white

Grayscale images are treated differently depending on the program used to process them. The risk in printing grayscale is colours will show through. It can be difficult to achieve neutral grey tones. Once printed, the image may appear as sepia or cyan, producing warm or cool effects, respectively. Unless you know the source of the image, check with your printer to make sure that the end result is how you imagined.

The more dramatic the image, the better the outcome

Fabric can reduce the differences in colours, muting contrast between shapes and shades. Check to see that the image doesn’t have too much haze. From smog and other atmospheric effects, photos of landscapes can be obscured. It is possible to use photo editing programs to remove the haze.

Another effect can come from lighting. Pictures taken during sunset can produce a warm glow. Although it’s pleasing in the eye to walk through, the sun puts a yellow cast over buildings, trees, and other objects. Unless you’re skilled at editing pictures, this can be a difficult issue to fix. Speak to your print shop for expert assistance in adjusting your favourite images into a suitable print.


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