Updated: May 7, 2021
Artwork for screen printing needs to be high resolution in order to get a great quality print. If you're designing your own artwork and you've not done this before, then read on for our top tips. If you're working with a designer or using a design agency to create your logo or designs then make sure you let them know you need artwork suitable for screen printing (and you can send them this link which explains exactly what they need to know)
Photoshop really is the best program to use - if you've not used a graphics program before then it can take a little while to get your head around working in layers and all the functions and features, but there really is no competition when it comes to designing high quality artwork. If you're serious about creating your own designs then it's worth getting to grips with it. You can subscribe to Photoshop here, it's currently around £10/month.
High resolution artwork is essential. We need artwork at 300dpi (dpi stands for dots per inch) which means when we expand your designs to printable size they stay nice and crisp rather than going fuzzy. When starting a new design in a program like Photoshop, then choose file >> new, and on the right hand side of the box there's a bunch of preset options. Under resolution enter '300' and in the dropdown menu 'pixels per inch'. In the size, we recommend sizing to A3 which is 297mm x 410mm. Even though you may not want your prints that big in real life (as we will confirm print sizes with you before we print anything for you) it will result in a high quality file that will result in high quality prints.
If you don't have time (or the inclination) to learn Photoshop, or want to put together super quick designs, there are many free online programs and apps that you can use. One of the most popular is Canva However, Canva's default dpi is 96, which isn't suitable for screen printing. It is possible to create a 300dpi file from Canva that you can learn about in this You Tube post here.
If you don't start out with a high res image, then you can't go back and just change the resolution. We've lost count of the number of times a client has gone back to photoshop, opened their low res file, and changed the resolution in the image sizing menu, saved it and sent it back. It doesn't work. If you don't have enough dots per inch (dpi) to start with, Photoshop will not magically draw them in.
We can help! If you have an idea in mind but you're not sure how to execute it, then talk to us and we can help. We can tidy up artwork, add text or amend logos. Most quick fixes we're happy to do free of charge, because ultimately we want you to be really happy with everything you get from us. If your artwork needs loads of work - i.e it's too low resolution and needs re-drawing etc then we may recommend you use a professional design service to work out suitable artwork.
This blog is a work in progress, the points above address our most commonly asked questions, and we'll continue to add to this.