Artwork Guidelines

How to prepare your artwork for screen printing

There’s a plethora of formats and ways to get us your artwork. If you’re a pro designer, you’ll find yourself right at home. If you’re not, and you don’t know what the terms below mean, then you may need some guidance on the guidelines if you know what I’m sayin’. When in doubt, just ask!

Preferred Formats

We prefer files formatted as .ai, .pdf, .png, .tiff, or .psd. That said:

.ai: If you send us a vector file, please make sure you rasterize (or expand) all effects and create outlines of all text (or include all fonts).

.pdf: Make sure all fonts have been embedded on export. Please, no security password stuff, ok?

.psd: Please label all layers so they make sense to other humans. Rasterize any effects or adjustment layers. Make it easy for us to work with!

File Setup

Make your image the actual size you’ll want it printed or larger. For bitmap files, make them 300 dpi minimum.

It’s helpful if you can do your own color separations and add registration marks. If you’re not sure, it’s better to leave it alone. It’s actually more work for us to fix messed up color seps than to create them from your art.

How to Get it to Us

We don’t mind a large email here or there. If you have multiple files, it’s helpful if you zip them first. If your file size is larger than 10 MB, try using a free service called WeTransfer. It’s super easy. Just send it to sparky@sparkyfirepants.com.

Design Guidelines

You’re probably a rock star designer. Fist bump. However, consider the output and method of printing your design before finalizing it. Your design could look amazing on your monitor, but screen printing it on a t-shirt can create challenges those lazy little pixels don’t have to deal with.

For example you want us to screen print your design in four colors, and you send us this:

4-color-examples-01

Those gradients are awesome, but printing them requires a lot of art setup and adds another level to the screen-making challenge. Sure, we can print it – how much do you want to pay?

Here’s how a 4-color (spot color) design would look:

4-color-examples-02

And here’s how each color looks for film output:

zombie-seps-01

There are a lot of considerations to make when setting up a print job like this. Which color do we print first? Do we need a 1-pixel stroke around that eyeball? What gauge mesh screen will we use for that level of detail? Do you want it on light-colored shirts or black?

When you print out a job on your inkjet machine, it’s very different from when we print by hand. Take some time to get to know the process and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.

And remember, when in doubt… just ask!

Designers: We do not repurpose your art or use it in any way except for your print order. If you’re shy about sending us your vector source files, we totally get it (we’re designers ourselves), but it’s the best way to get the art on the shirts. We don’t claim any copyright to your art just because we printed some tees. Your art is safe with us!