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Beginner's handbook

Everything You Need to Know to Prepare the Perfect Print File

By Reading Time: 5 minutes

You’ve set up your store and you’re ready for the first sales. But your entire business hinges on this one element – getting the print file just right, so that your design can be displayed in its full glory.

And just when you think you nailed it, an order has come in, goes to processing, and the unimaginable happens – your order’s put on HOLD! Printing is delayed, and you have to tinker with the design to get the right print file.

I’m here to say you can get it right the first time! I spoke to Printful’s graphics team to identify the most common errors with print files so that you can avoid them the first time around.

Basic print file graphic requirements

The quality of your product depends on the print file you submit. So if you want to make your designs look the best they can and avoid order holds, carefully follow basic graphics requirements. Some of the things you must keep in mind are:

  • Maximum size of print area depends on the product you choose. For example, for t-shirts it’s 12×16 inches, but for mugs (11oz) – 9x 3.5 inches.  For best results, we recommend using our templates that can be found in the File guidelines tab under each product. That way you don’t have to worry about dimensions or DPI settings—we’ve set it all for you!
  • File resolution recommendations: For most products, your print file has to be at least 150 DPI (dots per inch) to ensure optimal print quality. There are, however, some products that require 300 DPI so be sure to check File guidelines when choosing your next product.
  • Accepted print file formats: PNG, JPEG

Each product might have slightly different set of guidelines, so make sure you carefully follow graphics requirements provided in File guidelines tab.


Finally, your design has to correspond to Printful’s Acceptable Content Guidelines. If the content of your design is hateful, illegal, or it violates intellectual property rights, it can be removed at any time by our print file graphic specialists.

Top reasons your order is on hold

1. Bad print file quality

Resolution is very important. If we printed a low-resolution file that’s scaled up, design would be blurry and pixelated. And that probably isn’t something you’d like to send to your customers.

As it’s been already mentioned—most products require files to be made with 150 DPI. Print files for smaller items like mugs or personalized phone cases need to have higher resolution because prints are small and often detailed. We recommend submitting designs for these products with 300 DPI. If you’re not sure which products require which DPI settings, take a look at File guidelines under the product you have chosen—we’ve added the must-follow guidelines there.

How to know if your print file quality is suitable for printing?


If the size of your files is not suitable for printing, you’ll see different warnings in our mockup generator:

You may think that enlarging the print file size, or increasing its DPI will solve the problem. But the root of the problem is that you’re still submitting low-quality image. Even 300 DPI doesn’t guarantee a quality print if you use a low-quality file in the first place.

Bad quality image (left), bad quality image enlarged (right)

To quickly find out if your image is large enough to be printed in a good quality, upload it to the mockup generator and see if you can scale it to the desired size. We don’t recommend scaling the file to a point where resolution drops below 150 DPI.

2. Incorrectly used transparencies

While transparent elements in print files are OK for some products (all-over print products, mugs), they aren’t recommended in DTG printing because the white underbase will show through. This will create a very speckled look that can be associated with poor quality.

If you’re not sure whether your design has transparent elements, try switching off the solid white background in the editor you’re using to create your print file. If the grid is showing through the elements – they’re transparent. Take a look at the image below to understand this better.

Design with a white background (left), design without a background (right)

As you can see, the majority of elements on the left side of the design without a background are transparent. To fix it, you’ll have to select a specific color you want your design to “fade into” and use it at full opacity. That way, the colors in your design will be solid and printer won’t have trouble printing it.

3. Print file has a solid background

Avoid using background unless it’s a part of your design – this is especially important for the designs you want to print on apparel. 

If you’re printing design with a black background on a black garment, you’ll be left with a greyish rectangle around your design. That’s because prints on dark garments require a white underbase, and as a result, the printed black will be a lighter shade than the actual garment.

If you’re not sure whether your design has a background, open the file in Photoshop, add a different color background, and duplicate the layer several times to make any residue show up. However, if you accidentally don’t export the file as a PNG file, you’ll see the unnecessary background color when uploading the file in our mockup generator.

A few more things to keep in mind

Make sure your print file doesn’t have multiple layers

Even though we accept print files in PNG and JPEG formats, we recommend submitting your embroidery files in EPS format.

It allows us to pin-point the necessary layers way easier. If you are not comfortable using this format, we suggest sticking with PNG.

Pro tip: Get in touch with Printful design services if you need help creating, editing, or formatting your print files.

Choose the right products for the best outcome

Every product has a different texture and feel when printed. That’s why, when choosing products for your designs, think about what the print’s going to be, and whether or not it will look good on that specific product. For example, patterns look good as all-over prints, photographs work well as posters, and typography designs are perfect for DTG products.

If you’re selling apparel, remember that your designs will also look slightly different depending on the fabrics and fabric blends you print on. For example, as a rule of thumb, ink is more spread out and looks more faded on sweatshirts than t-shirts since it’s made from a thicker fabric.

Pro tip: To be on the safe side about the quality of your prints, order a sample before introducing it to your store.

Prepare a perfect print file

Keeping an eye out for these most common mistakes is a must. It’ll speed up the time your order goes from submission to shipping, and it’ll lead to happier customers.

If there’s anything to remember from this post is – check the guidelines, use high-quality graphics, accurately size your files, and voila – you’re set to start making that uber cool independent online store that just happens to be raking in the cash.

Does this all sound like a bit too much and you just want to have some fun designing? No problem! We’ve created some awesome typography designs that are ready to use. Download them below.

This article was originally published in November 2017; it has since been updated.

Download free typography designs

Subscribe to our blog and get your free typography designs!

  1. Scott Larsen

    “To avoid this result, use half-toning to achieve the same “glow” effect.”

    You don’t draw any distinction between types of transparency: 100% clear, no ink goes on at all, vs somewhat clear as in that fade in your glow effect… The first is okay, the second is not.

    What “Line screen” should this halftone shoot for? It’s probably worth describing for people how exactly to create a halftone… and note that a halftone is very fine detail so 300dpi is a minimum resolution. If I were doing a halftone I would probably submit the art at 600 just to help keep the round dots round…

    1. Adam

      When creating your halftone: First off, I don’t work for these guys. I own my own graphics studio and silk screen shop. I do not use any post-script software printers or printing profiles. So I make all my separations individually.

      In Photoshop, after you’ve isolated the part of the image that you want to create halftoned (and of course it and the rest of your spot colors have been put together and scaled to the correct size for output), you want to take that isolated image; bring it into a new file; convert to grayscale (still at 300dpi) and then create your bitmap. You’ll see the first prompt in “Color Halftone” is dpi input and output. It will already recognize your 300dpi image and ask for you to enter the output resolution. I use 720dpi.

      From there, you set your LPI and frequency. There are many forums out there for the math you’d want to implement here for ideal results on an ideal screen mesh. Once bitmapping is complete. Convert back to grayscale; use the Magic Eraser tool (tolerance around 11 w/ Anti-ALias checked) on the white from the BG imagery. Zoom in closely and you’ll notice it lightened all the edges of your halftone dots. Duplicate the layer and merge. Problem solved and you now have a high-res workable , halftone file that can be printed as a composite print.

  2. Rana

    Does this go for posters also? I get why Illustrator files are bad for T-shirt printing but they’re the best for paper printing as far as I know. Can you please clarify? I’ve spent weeks preparing my print files in AI and really hope I can use them and not have to redo them in another format. Thanks!

    1. Julia Gifford Post author

      Hi Rana,

      Yes, this is ESPECIALLY true for posters. We’ve had damaged poster cases because of hidden Illustrator layers, that end up getting printed out. To avoid that potential issue, we suggest .png for the most consistently qualitative results.

      1. Rana

        Bummer. Ok thanks for the clarification!

        Side note – are there any plans to add a bulk delete feature for print files? Deleting them one by one is so time consuming and tedious.

          1. Moni

            Question 1 : I wanna do a design for hoddie. What will be the size of the transparent file.?
            Question 2 : I’ll make a design for sleeves also. Please tell me the size of sleeves…

          2. Edward Zarins

            Hey Moni,

            You can check the file guidelines from the product page (under the “file guidelines” tab).

    2. Joey O

      You can easily save files as jpg and png from your ai file if you’re using adobe illustrator’s “save for web” in the file menu. This is pretty basic.

  3. Scotch

    Agree with Rana – need a bulk delete feature for print files. Taking this a step further, a bulk edit feature. For example, used 12×16 template for XS men’s instead of 10×12. I’d like to edit that print file for only the XS products (20 designs x 7 colors), but doesn’t seem possible, other than manually editing every XS product.

  4. Kristin

    You have a rather funny typo in the short paragraph just above the skulls. Otherwise, extremely helpful. Thank you!

  5. marcus

    I`m just starting out with you guys and back “Scotch”, would want selective bulk editing as well.

      1. Jacki

        Hi Nora, I’ve a follow-up question… If the RGB is getting converted to the CMYK color space, then why not prefer files be made in CMYK to begin with? Also, I thought the Brother GT-3 printed in sRGB…has Printful changed its DTG printer type? Sorry, but I want to be sure I give the bright and pastel colors in my baby clothing designs the best chance they can get!

        1. Nora Inveiss

          Hi Jacki,

          No need to apologize! You’re correct, the Brother printers are programmed to use RGB color values. So to simplify the whole process, we ask for RGB files right off the bat, so we only convert to CMYK once (as opposed to CMYK-RGB-CMYK).

          1. John

            That wouldn’t be a problem. CMYK to RGB would do nothing because CMYK has less color options than so RGB, going from CMYK to RGB would not effect the image. going from RGB to CMYK loses colors so it conforms the image to the new palette.

  6. Raquel

    I’m new to this so I’m trying to upload files but they’re in AI and some of them look transparent on black tees. What am I doing wrong and do I need to just submit all in .png or .jpg. Should they have a transparent background or is white ok? I’m clueless as what program to use to get it how you guys want. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Nora Inveiss

      Hi Raquel,

      You can find some helpful info in the “print file guidelines” tab within each product page in Printful’s product catalog. Couple of quick tips:

      1. You should submit your files in either .png or .jpeg formats
      2. Your files should have a transparent background
      3. The program you use is up to you! We find that the majority of our customers use Photoshop.

  7. Damien samwell

    Hi Julia,

    I’ve had approx 16 test prints from your team so far and on sample where a block of colour is used on a dark tshirt the results are less than satisfactory. Prints appear speckled with white which I understand is part of the curing process. I have however had a grey circle print on black that does look good so it looks like it may be a quality control thing?

    Is there any way of printing solid blocks of colour without this happening? I was really really hoping that DTG printing could at least come a little bit closer to screenprint quality.


  8. Muhammad

    Very helpful article enlightening all necessary details for quality printing. Thank you.

    I have a question regarding the colours of the t-shirts themselves not the designs. I would like to know what the RGB values are for the t-shirts themselves. Black and white ones are ok but let’s say the American Apparel Poly-Cotton pink colour for instance, what is the RGB value of that so I can add it to Photoshop during design as a background to simulate the t-shirt. Is there a way to know that?

    1. Nora Inveiss

      Hey Muhammed,

      There isn’t really a way to know the RGB color value of t-shirts. We’ve also tried looking up concrete color values for our products, and it was pretty much impossible to find.

  9. Darneshia

    I am completely new at this… How would I be able to make T-shirts or sweatshirts with just a saying on it? Let’s say,for thanksgiving a shirt said, “Thankful for my husband” I would have to have a background color for the writing? Is there a way I can just do writing with no background color? I do not always care for the big box around the words.

    What if I want to use “Thankful for my husband” but have it “Transparent where the lettering is outlined lets say Black with the letters being the color of the shirt?

    Thank you!

    1. Nora Inveiss

      Hi Darneshia! You can certainly create that design, with or without a background around, or with black lettering outlines.
      I recommend checking out our Photoshop tutorials. Or you can use our Design Services – fill out a form for a quote and our in-house designers will work with you one-on-one to get your designs print file ready.

      1. Todd

        Thanks for all the resources here. I thought I’d point out that the tutorials link here points to a ‘dead end’ youtube page.

        1. Daniela Bergmane

          Hey Todd, thank you for noticing and pointing this out to us. I’ve forwarded this information to the responsible colleagues and we’ll have a look into this.

  10. Darneshia

    Also, Am I able to take a silhouette off the internet and use that as a photo? Am I suppose to convert my finished product? Thank you

  11. Britt

    I’ve noticed that white ink prints out splotchy compared to black on a variety of products. Should I be adding a white base so that the white prints twice (is that even possible?) Is there a trick I should be following to improve the quality being printed?

    1. Nora Inveiss

      It could be the fabric of the shirt we’re printing on. We find that white results can vary depending on the fabric – you can read more about it here.

  12. john

    Sorry i’m really late to this blog but i just wanted to know; is there a maximum file size for an image/file (in megabytes)?

  13. Kieran

    Hey Nora, can you tell me what is the poster papers base color.
    I usually remove the white paper background in Photoshop but need to know the base color and cannot find anything on your website, thanks in advance.

    1. Nora Inveiss

      Hey Kieran!

      Poster paper is white. If you want to leave the background and it’s pure RGB white, then the printer won’t recognize it and won’t print a background. It’s totally fine to remove the background if you prefer, but it’s up to you to do it cleanly. Hope this helps!

  14. Phyllis Jarrett

    Hi, I have a few files up now in png
    format for t shirts. …They are 300 dpi. If the size is larger than 12×16
    would I loose quality when sliding to a smaller size graphic to fit in the space on the mockup. Or should go in and change the graphics to 12×16 …crop them to the exact size ?

    1. Nora Inveiss

      Hey Phyllis,

      No, you won’t lost quality downsizing your image if it’s already at 300 dpi. You might run into problems increasing the image size, but if you’re making it smaller, you should be OK.

  15. AC West

    Can a screen print proof be read for a POD job?
    I own a design that I had done for me, and had a few samples done up by a screen printer years ago. The main print was done on the back, and a text screen done on the front.
    I want to just do the main print on the front.

    The timing is right to get these shirts off the ground in a new shop, but the designer no longer is in business, and I do not have separate files of just the design, but rather the design on 3 different colored shirts. Can these be used to create POD shirts, etc… or do I have to have someone redo them into just the design only?

    The problem is that the design uses different colors based on the shirt color. ie. Black text on white shirt…white text on red and blue shirts.

    I have had lots of good reports and reviews of using Printful…and since this is for a nonprofit startup, I wanted a company I could count on.

    Please let me know.

    ps: the pics I DO have are in .PSD formats.

    1. Nora Inveiss

      Thanks for commenting! You would need to create and submit print file for us to print; screen printing proofs won’t work.

      I suggest checking out our design services – you can show them your proofs and they can create design files that’ll work with our system.

  16. Chris

    Hi Nora,

    I am confused about file sizes when imprint areas change depending upon size. If I am making a graphic for a women’s shirt, should I make the file 10×12 or 12×16? I am guessing that you guys can scale up or down and that I wouldn’t need two different files.

    Appreciate your help!

  17. yopi

    nice post, very useful. I’m starting to make small money from t-shirt. First because i can’t always get the t-shirt i want, so i make my own. my question is: how to make gradation edges on DTG? (I use black Gildan softstyle mostly) example: Skull with fire background, the skull need the white underbase, but how to make the fire background edges soft without white underbase, meanwhile, if I don’t use the underbase, the fire dissapear. thank you (forgive my english)

  18. InkMasters

    Wonderful information. In addition always save your files in print-ready, and do not use layers and reduce everything to the background layer .Perfect print-file is very useful to increase your work productivity. I really appreciate your post because reading your post i have collected much useful information.

  19. Véronique Poliquin

    Hi there,

    I find it very “weird” that you guys are telling us to send psd at 150 dpi and when I did, the print came out wrong so I uploaded a eps and everything went well even though you say to not summit eps files… I AM CONFUSED !!!


  20. Kiko

    Hi – Is there an increase in print quality if i submit art @ 300 dpi or do all submitted files get automatically downgraded to 150?

    1. Nora Inveiss

      Hey Kiko!

      When you submit an order or sync a product, your print file will save in whatever DPI you used. If you create a print file with the mockup generator, it automatically shrinks down to 150 DPI.

      If your graphic has a lot of fine details, you might want to go with a higher DPI. Otherwise, there isn’t a difference in quality between the 150 and 300.

  21. Geoff

    I make my own designs on Adobe illustrator and being I’m not that big into digital design yet I don’t know exactly how to make a 12 by 16 with 150 plus dpi. I would love to use you guys But I’m not sure how to get the DPI up any higher Because at The quality I set it at which is decent upon creation it looks good on everything I put it on now, But your print file system doesn’t seem to like it.

    Any ideas to make the quality as best as possible on Adobe illustrator . Should I make it with a different frame size like 1800 by 1920 or something or is there something I can do in the program itself to make it better quality on the edges .

    1. Nora Inveiss

      Hey Geoff! Here’s how:

      1. File –> New –> on the right hand side type in 12 (width) & 16 (height) –> create
      2. Paste in (or create) your design at the intended size within the artboard
      3. File –> export as –> select PNG and (important!) check ‘’use artboards’’ –> export
      4. select resolution 150dpi or 300dpi from the dropdown menu
      5. Enable ‘transparent background’’
      6. Click OK

      Hope this helps!

      1. George Lopez

        From reading the above, do I need to change any of the following things that I have been doing differently with a few dozen designs that I created in illustrator.

        1 – Have been saving at 72 dpi in the png drop down. Can I go back to the png file and change the dpi or do I need to delete the png and create a new png with the 150dpi setting.

        2 – I have been changing the “Anti_Aliasing” section from “Type Optimized (Hinted)” to “Art Optimized (Supersampled)”. All my artwork is basic text ant artwork in either completely black or white color.

        3 – Since I am a new screen printer, I wanted to also sell my brand using Printful. All artwork was saved as cymk. To save steps, will saving the artwork to png work fine or do I need to jump through hoops and go back and forth from rgb to save the png for Printful then switch back to cymk for screen printing.

        4 – All artwork is either 100% black or 100% white in illustrator. I have been using the default black and white color in illustrator which happen have and be the actual rgb safe color codes in rgb. Can I just save these files straight into the png format without the extra steps of going into rgb mode to save time.

        1. Alise Zindiga

          Hey George! I’ll try my best to answer after consulting various colleagues from our design team.
          1. Since the image was created in a poor quality, it can’t be enlarged or have a resolution added to make it better. The image would have to be recreated.
          2. If your design is mainly text, we would suggest using Type out of the mentioned ones. We’ve compared it with Art and didn’t notice any significant differences.
          3. 3. .Png file format automatically switches to RGB (That’s the only color mode option for .png). Also, we recommend RGB color mode for all types of printing, including screen printing.
          4. Like in the previous point, png saves as RGB by default. Also, you said that you use the default black color from the illustrator. Since you are working in CMYK color space, the default black color might not be the darkest color for printing. By default, the black color is #231F20 (which is K100%) but the darkest black color is #000000.

  22. macbook technical support

    While doing the work perfectly you need to the concepts very clearly where you will find out the way to make the things in a perfect manner which will be helpful for the person to run the best part so printing is not the way you should know the particular things which you will get to know through the experts.

  23. Ricoh printer

    Printful’s graphics
    The graphic makes a nice photo and converting into a file is a very difficult job. In this, a simple tutorial is given which is very helpful for the users

  24. Ronald Beauchamp

    I am just starting out and I want to now is 300dpi the largest size to upload? I am using Photoshop CS6

    Thank you

  25. Lauren Meeler

    “Max. printing area: 12×16 inches and we scale print files down depending on the t-shirt model and size.”

    Does this mean that if I create a product using this tool, that the image will automatically be scaled down to fit an XS vs an XL? Meaning, will the placement and size on the mockup always match the final product, whether it’s an XS, M, or XL? If not, how do I ensure that the placement is how I want it on all sizes of a particular model shirt?

    1. Giedrė Šulčinskaitė

      Hi Lauren! Yes, your designs will be automatically scaled to match the size of the product.

    1. Ana Llorente

      El software utilizado es Adobe. Tanto Photoshop como Illustrator dan muy buenos resultados. Pero también puedes optar por herramientas libres y gratuitas. Lo importante es tener una buena idea y desarrollarla!! Los programas solo son el medio para conseguirlo.

  26. Eric

    I think the issue I’m having is I export my image and it’s transparent background, but when I upload on the site (like society6) it showes a white background when that wasn’t in the file save. Is that normal?

  27. Francesco

    Hi, I understand the issue of printing transparencies and fading gradients on dark and coloured t-shirt… what about on the white one? If I have a gradient that fades into transparent, it will be printed correctly on white … right ?

  28. Nick

    Do you have templates to download to use on Illustrator or whatever design program people use?

    Also, I am designing for yoga leggings and am unclear on the ‘safe print area’ border. Will anything placed outside the border automatically be cut off? If I design right up to the border on one side and right up to the border on the other side will those two sides meet each other in the final print? It is unclear in the preview image. It seems lie the might be a bit of white space?

    1. Giedrė Kronberga

      Hi Nick. You can find print file temples for yoga leggings here. You should cover the entire template with your design, but keep important text or graphics within safe print area.

      1. Jess D

        I tried downloading the template for the dress and it just gives me a very long image with no dimensions just instructions

  29. Harriet

    Hello! This is very helpful information. I have a question about my artwork. The original artwork I am using was done with a soft colored pencil on a black paper. I get that I need to drop out the background completely. I am guessing that I have to convert the white lines to black in order to create the “print screen.” But my next question that I am not sure about its whether or not the “crumbly” look of the pencil marks will print well or do I need to fill them in to be solid lines. (I hope this is clear 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Giedrė Kronberga

      Hi Harriet! Pencil drawings have a unique texture because of transparencies. And, unfortunately, designs with transparent elements don’t print well 🙁

  30. Diana

    Thank you for the article.
    Are any ways to do a bulk upload, not one by one, but one image to all products or, at least to soem categories?
    Thank you!

  31. Jan

    Is there a way to copy a previous product so I can just change the image and retain the previous product’s variants? Essentially using another product as a template so I don’t have to select each size, shirt color, etc. each time I create a shirt

  32. Tijana

    I don t understand this part-You can work within CMYK, but before saving your file, change it to RGB. This is actually recommended because the RGB range is wider and you can go crazy with neons, magentas etc. However, printers will never be able to reproduce these colors, as they use the CMYK color gamut.why would I work with rgb if the printers cannot reproduce those colors?

    1. Giedrė Kronberga

      Hi Tijana! You can submit your designs in CMYK if you know how to export them properly. You see, if you’re working within CMYK mode in Adobe Illustrator, it won’t let you export the file as PNG, only as .ai, .pdf, .eps. These formats are usually multi-layered and when not exported properly can negatively affect the quality of the print.


    Hi I have few questions, I am preparing around 50-70 different design and using your company with shopify.
    1-Can we still live the care instruction on the garment without the name of the t shirt company?
    (I normally sign my artwork under the design.)
    2- What happen if I have a return request or exchange?
    ( I am stock with the t-shirt?)
    3-I am a beginner photoshop , if my file is bad, do you contact me before shipping?
    4- I would love to offer free shipping can I and how do Iknow the average rate in the USA from your place?
    5- Last question, I want few simple for the design and shirt, how do I order them.

  34. kyle

    this is unclear:
    under transparencies, you say, “We suggest using 100% opaque (solid) colors only.”

    yet, under backgrounds, you say, “Always remove backgrounds!”

    wouldn’t removing the background leave a transparent area? and specifically with white, say my print file is just black and white – if you can not accept an alpha channel file, how would one do this?

  35. Alex Makki

    Hello what is the best case if I want to Print black text on a black Bella + Canvas Shirt? Should I make my color “Absolute black” c100 m100 y100 k100? Or do you have a gloss or matte feature I can pick from?

    Thank you

    1. Giedrė Kronberga

      Hi Alex. For the most “black” outcome, you’d need to choose absolute black. In RGB that’s (0,0,0). However, when printed, the black color will look more like dark grey because of the white under-base.

  36. Jess

    Hi there. 🙂 I got a bit confused with the RGB bit. Does this mean we can send our files as RGB instead of CMYK? Thanks!

  37. Martha J Sayre

    I have tried over and over to figure out what size image to upload, but despite attempting to use 150 dpi, the site still says my “image is too small” and that the dpi is “bad.” It suggests changing the size of the image on the outline but I am unable to figure out how to accomplish that. No mater what size image I try, it does not work for shirts or leggings. Why does the site not at least give a suggestion? Is 12 inches by 12 inches at 300 dpi too big? That wouldn’t seem to upload at all, yet when I make the design smaller, it doesn’t work. Very frustrating. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

    1. Giedrė Kronberga

      Hi Martha! The DPI requirements for print files varies for each product. For example, 150 DPI is totally ok for DTG and sublimation products, while smaller items like mugs and phone cases require print files to be at a higher resolution because prints are small and often detailed. So make sure you double-check DPI requirements for the product you picked.

      1. Michelle Moore

        Hi Giedrė,
        I am new on Printful and am trying to figure out how to upload a photo for the posters. I have the template. I see the upload section. But, am trying to figure out if I have to use the template for every variation of one poster product that I want to sell? And if you can provide any other guidance on this process, I surely would appreciate it!
        Thank you,

        1. Giedrė Kronberga

          Hi Michelle!

          You don’t need to create separate listings. However, if you want to position the design differently on each size poster (or even upload different design files for each size), you’d need to edit each product variant after pushing it to your store. That’s because the poster sizes don’t all have the same size ratio.

        1. Giedrė Kronberga

          Hi! No, we don’t have such list. As a rule of thumb, your print file should be at least 150 DPI (dots per inch). However, print files for smaller items like mugs or phone cases need to have higher resolution (300 DPI) because prints are small and often detailed.

  38. Julie Wollenberg

    Where can I find the country of origin for the products? Working on custom inside labels and can’t seem to locate this information.

  39. A

    What is the best image size to upload? Right now I am using 1000×1000 pixels for my image size and says to make the file larger. Any suggestions with what would work??

    1. Giedrė Kronberga

      It depends on what you want to print 🙂 You can find precise requirements on “Print file guidelines” tab on the page of the product you chose.

  40. Lily

    Where can I find how to check if the font I’m using for my text is accepted by Printful to be printed on t-shirts? or how to convert the text?

      1. Scott Collier

        Thanks for all of the info.
        Since we have to submit our designs as png or jpg, what is the purpose of converting fonts to outlines? At that point, isn’t it just an image?

        It is easy enough to convert fonts to outlines. But, it just saves some time.

        1. Edward Zarins

          Hey, Scott! PSD, PDF, and AI file fonts have to be converted to font outlines. These file formats aren’t recommended (they can be used, but are not recommended) and we have updated our info. My previous comment is outdated. 🙂

  41. Ricardo


    I’m new here and had a little question.

    I’m using printful to generate, for example, a skirt, and want to use an inside logo. The name and logo of my website. I’ve selected all sizes. How can I make the logo be compliant with theese rules ? Indeed, I’ve selected all sizes so, I cant define a default size in the inside logo.

    Thank you.

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey Ricardo! You’ll need to upload the inside label file for each of the variants separately. You can do that after creating your product and by clicking “Edit” next to each product variant.

  42. Weston

    Hi, If I have prepared an 8″ x 8″ print for a T-shirt, will the print stay the same size for sizes XS-XL or will it be scaled automatically by If I use the mockup generator, I can upload a design and place it in the center but it is not generating the design per shirt size but rather just per shirt color variant- Does this mean that the design on an XS shirt will look scaled to that of an XL shirt? or will the print be the same size for all shirts XS-XL?

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey Weston! Yes, the print size will stay the same for all t-shirt sizes. We use M size t-shirts for our mockup photos and if someone will order a larger or smaller size, the design will be exactly the same size. It will just look proportionally smaller or larger but actual print size will be the same.

  43. Yinna Wang

    I used a logo with no background, just type. And still it ended up with a white box around it. Looks like the boundary box (that gray space you load your image into) is excluded from my all over print. Is it possible to just have type? Or do I need something behind my logo.

    1. Giedrė Kronberga

      Hi Yinna, your print file should have a transparent background. If you want to use typography in your designs, consider using Printful’s mockup generator text tool. It has more than 25 fonts – I’m sure you’ll find something that works for you 🙂

        1. Giedrė Kronberga

          Hi Per, using typography in your designs isn’t a problem. What I was referring to is the typography design saved with a background 🙂 unless, of course, the background color is part of your design. If that’s the case, there’s nothing you should worry about.

  44. Corry

    I haven’t been here for a while, I thought there were print guideline files for everything we could download? I don’t see them anywhere..

  45. Adam

    I like to use AI as it is a vector based and better for text. It would be good if you guys had AI template and proper colour profile for PS and AI. Right now it looks like one must order each product that one wants to sell in order to have colour numbers. I have a T-shirt which is very good quality. Can the colour numbers on it be used for everything or should I order mug and so on? Thanks

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey Adam,

      You can download our print file templates and use the PNG file for Adobe Illustrator. We recommend ordering samples because colors may look different on each product and product variant. You can check our color matching disclaimer here.

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey Debra,

      You should go to your file library and click the “trash” icon that will show up once you hover over your file. 🙂

    1. Giedrė Kronberga

      CMYK is recommended for any printed material. However, keep in mind that you can’t export files created within CMYK color mode to PNG – accepted print file format at Printful. So if you’re creating your designs within CMYK, you’ll later have to convert it to RGB.

        1. Giedrė Kronberga

          Hi Dominick! RGB has a wider gamut (the range of colors that can be expressed). That’s why we suggest you design your file within the CMYK color space, but convert the file to RGB before saving. This way your colors will stay within the gamut 🙂

  46. JWoods

    After following all of the directions and guidelines, twice, I am stuck with a shirt label that is not centered in the print area. The first one was printed askew. I was told that the error rate is something like 10 in 20,000 shirts, so either this is not the case or I have the absolute worse luck. What are your suggestions and do you have any additional information on how to mitigate this issue?

    1. Edward Zarins


      Sorry to hear about your experience. Our error rates are within the industry’s standards but if you ever happen to receive a damaged product, you should submit a problem report right away and we’ll fix it as soon as possible. Have you checked our inside label generator? It should ease the process of adding inside labels for you. 🙂

  47. Ben

    Thanks for the article. I’ve been looking around the printful website trying to figure out how you handle scaling designs across multiple sizes of the same garment. I’m probably just missing it, but thought I’d ask. Thanks!

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey Ben,

      We use “M” size clothing for our product and mockup generators and we don’t scale up designs but we may scale down for smaller sizes like “S” or “XS”.

  48. Stephane

    I want to print a black and white photo of a person on my white shirt. Can you tell me about the render of the final print?

    Thank you!

  49. Natalie

    Hi there

    I have used the template for a poster and added my image to it in photoshop. I turned off the instructions using the eye icon tool, do I now need to flatten the image or just save as .png as is? It seems to be taking a while to upload. Thanks for your help.

    Many Thanks

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey Natalie,

      Saving as .png should be fine but I’m also not sure what you mean by “flatten the image”. 🙂

    1. Giedrė Kronberga

      Hi Shirin, you can’t add designs to products in bulk. That’s because each product has slightly different print file requirements.

      1. Innocent

        Hie ,i currently moved to South Africa and wanted to know if you ship here as well ? Your help will be greatly appreciated as continuation of my business is dependent on this thank you

  50. Finn Heidenreich

    Where would one find an image with high enough resolution and correct file size? I have a few designs from Shutterstock that, when uploaded to Printful, get the “print file is too small” warning, regardless of how much I alter my DPI or image size on Photoshop. How can I tell, prior to downloading stock images, that they will be the right file size for Sublimation? These are funky 80’s pattern designs by the way. Let me know 🙂

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey Finn,
      You’d need to check this on Shutterstock before downloading your files. Make sure the resolution is high enough for the designs. You can click “Edit” under the vector file on Shutterstock and it will take you to the Shutterstock Editor. You can then set the desired DPI and size and then download your file. Hope this helps!

      1. Fred Douglas

        I want to put images on printful shirts but my DPI is never big enough also. What do I need to do in order to increase my DPI for a simple image I got from google?

  51. Charlie

    I am trying to do all over print on leggings but when I upload the picture it starts off big and covers the product but the picture says bad quality by the time I change the size to where it is average the picture becomes to small and I can only use five pictures per product. I am trying to figure out how to size it correctly while keeping the quality

    1. Giedrė Kronberga

      Hi Charle, when you enlarge a small print file, it loses the quality.

      Make sure you’re using a file in 150 to 300 dpi, as per our print file guidelines. You should also download the print file template for the leggings you’re creating. This will help with creating the print file and sizing it correctly.

  52. Leo

    A newbie w/ a couple of questions.

    1) I’m designing my graphics using Inkscape, which only produces RGB files PNG exports. Should I convert those to CYMK before sending them over?

    2) I’ve been messing with the “mock-up” tool, which is fun. However, one of mine looks strange with the graphics too high on the chest so I need to shrink the image. Thing is, there’s no resize tool available in the mock-up secion. Is it available in the production software?

    ANyways, thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Leo Walsh

      Oops. Just answered my first question on my own. Looks like you only accept PNGs & not TIFFs, so there is no CMYK option. TO make sure it’ll look okay, I’ll just color-proof my PMGs in Gimp to make sure that it looks okay.

    2. Leo

      Ugh. Answered my first question as well. I was looking for a classic re-size w’ handles on the image. I just found the resize option, which is on the bottom-right of the design frame.

      Anyways, thanks again. Like I said, I’m a newbie here.


      1. Lwin

        Thanks, very helpful article. However, in the article above, it states you accept PNG & JPEG. but in the note on 4/8/19 to Setptembet, you state only PNG & EPS.

        Are JPEGs not allowed? It would be helpful for Printful clarify and, preferably, edit the article.

        1. Madara Zute

          Hi Lwin,
          Thanks for spotting this! The article is up-to-date.

          PNG and JPG files are the safest options because these files have been “flattened down”. Editable files can potentially cause issues with fulfillment so we don’t recommend using them.

  53. Carla

    I need an art print made. Why can’t I just use a JPG? I don’t have an eps or png file.
    I previously used Shutterfly with no issues what so ever and the file was low resolution at like 72dpi yet still came out lookin great. I only came here because they no longer sell the size that I need, yet it seems so complicated here on the Printful end.

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey Carla,
      You can try using JPG if you prefer so but we recommend using PNG format files with 300 DPI for the best quality outcome. 🙂

  54. Dylan

    How come when I upload my design to printful, the upload button just says starting and will not upload my design?

  55. Sjoerd Siemes

    How do i get the exact same size and place logo on every design? For example i have 5 t-shirts with the same logo on the chest but a different graphic on the back. How do i make sure that the logo on the front is the same size and place everywhere?

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hi there,

      To achieve this, you can use the same print file with a set position of your graphic for all of your t-shirts. Using our template, that you can download from the product page, should make it easier for you. 🙂

  56. Grant Gibbons

    Hello, i was wondering how do I change the size of your shapes, I want to change the length and the width of the shape separately. For example, I want to the increase the length of a rectangle, not the width, but I can’t do that because the resizing does them both at the same time? How do I do this?

  57. Neal Fox

    On the All Over t-shirts, there’s a “safe print” area that’s much smaller than the shirt. I’m used to the idea of safe print areas, but this is so much smaller than the shirt itself that I was wondering how vital it is.
    In other words, how far outside the safe area will the design show on average? I’m trying to avoid crowding everything into that small space if I don’t have to.
    Also, on the sleeves template, which part of the template is the part that connects to the shirt? The folding line?

    1. Giedre Kronberga

      Hi Neal,

      You should keep the main elements of your design within the safe print area. Anything outside of it might not appear on the products once it’s sewn together. Speaking of the sleeve template, the top of it will be sewn onto the body part of the shirt.

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey Konstantyn,

      We suggest you design your file within the CMYK color space, but convert the file to RGB before saving.

  58. Juha


    what is the minimum size of an graphic object?

    1. Let’s say that I design t-shirt with text “yippee”
    2. What are the guidelines for letter size or line width in px, cm or inches, so I can guarantee its readability on t-shirt?


  59. Michael Thompson

    How about 200dpi, PNG file? But, 12″ x 16″? Horz or vert? What is your absolute “live area” in inches hight x wide? What type of file, specifically do you prefer to produce the best quality? Please reply.

    1. Giedre Kronberga

      Hi Michael,

      It depends on the product and print placement (e.g. front print, sleeve print).

      Once you find the product you like, click “File guidelines” tab on the product page to get all the answers 🙂

  60. Quincy (@Limbpaw)

    Hi Guys,
    I’m trying to layout some stickers on the Printful site right now and it appears that the Safe-Print-Area Overlay Guide isn’t showing anymore. …Did I hit something to turn it off, or is something just acting screwy for a moment? …No matter, it’s a huge help and I need it if it’s available.
    Regards, Q

  61. Cindy


    All the colors I print become heavily desaturated on your products. Is there any way I can get more saturation ?

  62. Daniel Portales

    Hey! I have a question: I noticed that White Glossy Mug actually handles 2 printfiles: one for each variant (11 and 15oz). If I submit a printfile for the 11oz variant for a 15oz order, could I expect it to be vertically centered, aka, not worry about the printfile differences since the design’s graphic is the same position/size for both?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Madara Zute

      Hey Daniel,

      We have templates for both sizes on our website, but if you’d only like to use one, I suggest submitting 15oz printfile. Our system will then shrink it to fit the 11oz mug too.

  63. Shery

    hi, guys can u plz tell me about the colours usage limits ( i mean if you have any kind of colour printing budgets)? Do tell me if you have any kind of limit to colours usage limits

    Furthermore, I am looking to run woocommerce store with you guys, so kindly brief me about your policies about Pakistan. I mean can I connect my store with printful from Pakistan (i have doubts about payment process as Paypal is not allowed in here)

  64. Rich


    I’m having a tough time figuring out placement for my designs. For example If I submit a file that is 1800×2400 pixels, should my design be aligned to the top or should I begin the design 3 inches down. For a tall design that may look okay but for one line of text it would probably sit too high on the shirt. Is there a general rule of thumb I should go by? Hope this makes sense and thank you in advance for your help.

    1. Madara Zute

      Hi Rich,
      Here’s the response from one of our graphic designers:

      This depends on the aspect ratio of the graphics file.
      If it’s horizontal or a square, I’d suggest aligning closer to the top, 1-3″ from the top, depending on the design.
      If it’s a vertical design, you can take up all of the space. Please note that the print area comes very close to the collar, so leaving 0.5-1″ from the top could help.
      Also, I’d suggest checking the overall look in the mockup generator from time to time to see how your design looks on the shirt.

      Hope this helps!

  65. Mindy Jollie

    It’s good to know how to create a perfect print file for printing services. My friend just started her own company and needs letterhead and business cards. She’ll have to find a print and design service that can provide those for her.

  66. Tine

    Hello, please I have a question: if I make an image at 300dpi (I understand that is better?) should it still be at 12×16 / 10×12? Or should it be some other size?
    Thank you very much

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey, Tine! Your print file should be the exact needed size and in a high enough DPI. Your DPI should be at least 150 but 300 is recommended.

  67. April

    About transparency… on one hand you say that the background needs to be transparent, but one the other hand you say not to have transparent colors, or colors fading out into the shirt color??? I am confused. Please explain. Thanks.

    1. Madara Zute

      Hi April,
      The difference between a transparent background and transparencies in graphic files lies in the fact that we recommend using files with a fully transparent, i.e invisible background because there’s nothing for our printers to pick up.
      However, with semi-transparencies, the opacity of the pixels is below 100%, but they’re not fully transparent.
      Semi-transparent pixels are usually used when the design contains shadowing effects. Our printers may pick up on the semi-transparent pixels, but print them partially, for example, printing just the white underbase in these areas for darker garments. You can learn more about semi-transparencies in print files here.
      Hope this helps! 🙂

  68. Marlena

    Can I create one large file to fit all products ( I am using illustrator)? Or do I have to adjust the file size per product? I mainly do repeat patterns in Illustrator. Should the files be png or jpeg? Most of my patterns have backgrounds as part of the design. If I use a white background, I will fill it with white. If I make a sticker, I would use png to get rid of the background? Thanks

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hey Marlena! You can prepare a pattern graphic print file that is suitable for the all All Over Print Products.
      Our design team would recommend preparing it in size 40″x 40″ and 300 DPI for the best print result.
      The All Over Print Products are white so it is not necessary to add the white background. It can be transparent.
      It’s recommended to format the pattern graphic print files into PNG. PNG files are better quality files than JPG.
      Please use PNG files with a transparent background for the printing stickers.

  69. How To Code School

    Hello, I see you have mentioned that we should use pictures without background but is it for solid colors like black and white or any type of background, like can we use images with people or anything else in the background for the T-shirt design? Thanks, appreciate it. 🙂

    1. Daniela Bergmane

      Hey there! If it’s a part of your design and you wish it to appear in the print, then you can use the background for sure. 🙂

  70. Pj

    Hello everyone! I just want to say I wish much success on all of your designs & may God continue to bless your businesses. Stay healthy & safe! <3

  71. Karine

    Hi ! Would the option “flatten transparency” in illustrator work ? I use a lot of gradient :/
    Also, i use a paper texture that I put on top of my illustrations, in a product transparency just to give it a wavy paper look. If i flatten that transparency would that be alright ?

    1. Alise Zindiga

      The option “flatten transparency” will turn the graphic into the solid colors. Which mean that graphic will not contain a transparency. It will be good for printing.

  72. Bern

    I want to submit a design created in photoshop. It’s an adobe stock image that I purchased and I want to add a line of text underneath. For a Tee shirt I want to start with the 12 x 16. I know png is best. I just want to know the best resolution. I’m confused whether DPI is the same as pixel size. Thanks.

    Also I realize this changes for mugs, hats, phone cases. I’m sure you have link to this I just haven’t found it yet. Thanks again.

    1. Alise Zindiga

      We recommend 300DPI for the best print result. However, the 150DPI will be fine for a good print result as well. You can choose and set up the DPI in Photoshop under Preset Details. Please do it before you start to work on the print file. In addition, you can find the print file guidelines for each product in each product description.

  73. Marketa

    If I want to have my wall print available in all sizes (e.g 24X36, 18X24, 12×16 and 8X10) should I design it in the largest size i.e 24X36 and then you will scale down jpg or png for other formats?

    I generate few mock ups for a poster design with my original print 8×10. However the mock ups for same design shows me white space at the top and at the bottom for larger prints (original background colour not white).

    Thanks for your advise.


    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey! You should design according to our file guidelines found on the product page. The same design file might not fit all sizes, so you might need to adjust your print files. 🙂

  74. Toto

    Hi Ihr Lieben, ich habe eine Frage zu den Leggins, da ich wahrscheinlich davor stehe aber es nicht sehe lach. Wenn ich z.B. einen Schriftzug längst nach unten (Bein Runter) erstellen will, mit Schriftfarbe Schwarz und Weiß, geht das dann? Ich sehe nur, das die Leggins grundsätzlich Weiß von ihrer eigenen Farbe ist, aber wenn ich diese jetzt in Schwarz haben will mit weißen oder Farbigen Schriftzug, wie geht das?

    Ich hoffe jemand versteht was ich meine lach…und danke euch schon mal wenn mir jemand das Brett vor dem Kopf wegschiebt. Lg aus Düsseldorf Toto

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hallo Toto!
      Leggings sind nur weiß, weil wir darauf drucken. Es heißt Allover-Druckprodukt. Wir drucken auf den Stoff, schneiden dann die Form aus und nähen sie zusammen. Du musst ein Design mit schwarzem Hintergrund erstellen und mit weißen Buchstaben tippen. Es ist besser, größere Größen zu bestellen, wenn dunklere Designs erstellt werden. Wenn das Produkt gedehnt wird, weiße Farbe sichtbar ist.

  75. Matthew Joseph

    My artwork is smaller than 12 x 16 so there is a lot of negative space. Is there a standard placement from the collar/neck drop to the artwork? If so, what is the distance?

    I’ll like to move my artwork closer to the top of the template but I’m afraid it might be to close to the collar/neck drop.

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Actual placement is pretty close to the one you can see in the mockup generator and you can use the design area as a reference. Approximately 1 inch deviated is acceptable.

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