Create the perfect DTG file

Learn about the most common issues with DTG files and how to avoid them

Set your DTG designs up for success

Save the file as a PNG

When creating your own file in software like Adobe Photoshop, we suggest using a transparent background and saving your file as a PNG file. JPG files don't support transparent backgrounds, which means your design might be printed with a white background, diminishing the quality of your design. Before uploading any design files to Printful, we recommend checking its transparency in your graphic editor and reading our transparency guide.

Choose the right color space

Create your print file in the sRGB color profile, specifically sRGB IEC61966-2.1. This is the format our system reads when it receives your file. Our printers then convert your submitted file into CMYK format. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (or black). Sometimes converting from sRGB to CMYK slightly changes colors, but using the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 will ensure the best possible accuracy. 

Use the right DPI

DPI (dots per inch) refers to the number of printed dots within one inch of an image printed by a printer. This is different from pixels per inch, or PPI, which refers to the number of pixels contained within one inch of an image on a computer monitor. 


The more dots per printed inch, the higher the print quality (and the more sharpness and detail). Using the correct DPI ensures fast processing and accurate prints, so be sure to check file guidelines when choosing your products. For most Printful products, your print file has to be at least 150 DPI to ensure optimal print quality. Other Printful products, like phone cases and stickers, require 300 DPI. It’s also best not to exceed 300 DPI.

Keep the DPI high when changing file size

The actual size of your file is its measurement in inches. Let’s say it’s 5 inches by 5 inches with 100 DPI. If you double the size to 10 inches by 10 inches, the DPI is cut in half to 50. Be careful not to decrease DPI when changing the actual size of your design file.

Consider ribbing, seams, and stitching

Flat surfaces are the easiest to print on. If you choose a product like a sweatshirt or hoodie with seams, pockets, and zippers, you should consider these elements during your design process.


Ribbed garments are printed unstretched, which means the ink only sets on top of the ribs. When worn, the print can stretch and reveal these gaps. This is something we suggest considering when preparing your designs.

Avoid common issues

Not all fabrics are created equal

100% cotton vs blends

Print outcomes vary depending on the fabric you choose. We offer:

  • 100% cotton blends,
  • Poly blends (50% cotton, 50% polyester)
  • Tri-blends (50% polyester, 25% cotton, 25% rayon or 50% polyester, 37% ring-spun combed cotton, 13% rayon).

Our standard printing process works best with 100% cotton products. If you’re looking for the most opaque result, 100% cotton is your best bet. This fabric has a better result due to its tight weave. However, if cotton is too thick, it can absorb the ink and the design may look more faded.

Designs printed on blended garments will have a faded/vintage outcome with DTG printing due to their looser weave and combination of fabrics. The fabric of the garment will often show through the ink.

Closeup photographs of white printed on different garments

Certain 100% cotton apparel offer heather colors, which are 90% cotton, 10% polyester blends. DTG printing on these garments will have a bit of a vintage feel, but not as much as a true poly or tri-blend.

Get a beautiful print result

Your printed design will never exactly match what you see on your screen, but if you’re careful and take our advice, you can get a result you and your customers love!

Follow the guidelines

Always check the file guidelines and tips for each product you decide to print on. Make it a regular part of your design process. Most DTG items have similar requirements, but different template sizes. You can find the File guidelines tab under each product in its product catalog page.

Make a sample order

To see what your final product will look like before you offer it to your customers, we strongly suggest placing a personal order for the product. That way you can hold the item in your hands, inspect the quality, and see if the outcome matches your expectations. Sample orders can be purchased with a 20% discount and get free shipping to select destinations.

Ask questions

Our Graphic Design Services are available to consult you on your designs. Reach out to them if you have any questions!

DTG printing FAQ