Do you have any questions about the print of your t-shirt or merchandise?

Can I send a picture from a phone or from the internet and have it printed the way I see it on the screen?

Chances are that it will not print properly. Sometimes images seen on your computer, tablet or phone screen will be different to when printing.

Why won't the image print exactly like I see it on the screen?

There are many reasons for this but the two main reasons are that images on your screen are displayed between 72 and 96 PPI (pixels per inch) and are made up of RGB.

Printed images on the other hand are made up of CMYK and must be around 300 DPI (dots per inch) to print properly.

What is meant with RGB?

If you use light to mix colours – like your computer monitor – they are mixed using Red Green and Blue light (RGB). Because light is emitted, these colours are additive. You will see white because 100% Red, 100% Green and 100% Blue is emitted.

What is CMYK?

In the case of printing you do not have a light source so you work on the principle of light being absorbed or reflected from the print media and a different model is used – CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key, which is Black). Here you will see black because the black ink that is printed absorbs all the light or you will see white because no ink is printed on a white surface.

Why should it matter if you print an RGB image on a CMYK printer?

For most of us it is not really going to matter because black is black but if you are very particular about the colour that you want to have printed, be sure to give us a CMYK file (which will on your screen will be displayed in RGB and look a bit different from the colours that will be printed in CMYK). Images displayed on a monitor are in RGB. They are bright / luminous whereas printed images are in CMYK and are not luminous. An exact match to what you see on your monitor cannot be achieved, not even between two different monitors.

The eventual printed colour will also vary a bit depending on what substrate you print onto:

the same image printed on glossy substrates will appear more vibrant than on canvas or on a t-shirt | different substrates react differently to the same inks |
different inks (from different printers) react differently to the same substrate.

There will always be minor colour differences.

The print file is important!!!

There are two kinds of files: vector files – that you can enlarge without losing resolution – and raster files which cannot be enlarged beyond a certain point without affecting the resolution. The main difference between the two is pixels, or picture elements. A pixel is the smallest physical element of a digital image and together millions make up the photo you have taken.

A vector file has no pixels and is made up of paths or lines defined by start and end points with curves and angles that you can edit individually. A path can be a line, a square, a triangle, or a curvy shape and are be used to create drawings.

Because vector-based images are not made up of a specific number of pixels in a grid, they can be scaled to a larger size and not lose any image quality.

Raster or image files consist of a rectangular grid of pixels. These pixels define the graphic by giving individual points of color and make up a picture. As the number of pixels per area is set when a file is created it cannot be enlarged too much without distorting.

Megapixels describe the size of a photo, for instance a 10 megapixel photo is usually 3872 pixels wide by 2592 pixels high (3872 x 2592 = 10 million pixels).

It is basically a trade-off between file size and quality and several image compression algorithms have been developed to reduce the raster file sizes and JPEG, BMP, TIFF, GIF and PNG are the most common.

When a file is compressed, pixels that do not affect the display of the image are chucked away and you loose some resolution but it is okay.

If you compress it too much, the photo will still display okay on your screen but the print won’t look good: If you increase the size of your image, the pixels will also increase and the bigger image could start looking jagged (pixelated).

So it is important to determine whether a picture is going to pixelate or not when you want to print it in a certain dimension.

You must compare its digital resolution (PPI) to the required printing resolution (DPI).

PPI (PIXELS PER INCH) AND DPI (DOTS PER INCH)

To prepare your image for printing, the image's pixels are converted into patterns of dots as illustrated below:

Although we all refer to monitors having a DPI, they really have a PPI that determines how big an image can be displayed without distorting. Think of this as your input resolution.

DPI on the other hand is a printing term and indicates of how big an image can be printed without losing quality – it measures the density of dots printed (and not pixels displayed) per inch. Think of this as your output resolution.

When you want to print the image, its RIP (raster image processing) software converts the pixels to dots. Printers can print many dots to make up a single pixel.

These dots have spaces between them and this results in 300 pixels becoming 150 dots and spaces. So 300 PPI becomes roughly 150 DPI. This is acceptable for printing photographic quality images.

When you move the viewer further away from the printed material, lower dpi is acceptable. A huge billboard might be printed at only 40 DPI but no one notices because everyone is far away from it.

Large format printers are classified by the number of dots that they can print per inch – the more dots the higher the resolution and the crisper the image. The printers can also vary the size of the dots being printed to better blend colour.

If a printer is 1440dpi it means it can squeeze just over 2 million dots into a square inch. All of this compensates to trick the eye as long as there were enough pixels to start with.

Although we will let you know if there are issues with size and if the image might pixelate (resolution issues), it is your responsibility to ensure that the correct colour profile is given to us.

How long will it take to print my t-shirts?

Depending on how many t-shirts you want printed and how fast payment was made. It normally takes 2-5 working days, but be realistic. If you want 100 shirts printed, you will not have them done in 2-5 working days. And it also depends on how busy we are. We will let you know how long it will take when we send you the quote.

Can I supply my own t-shirt?

Yes, you are more than welcome to supply your own shirts. Please just take note of the following:

wet-drop printing does not take responsibility if your items get damaged, cracked or burnt via the heat process. We use heat to transfer images and it is essential that your items can withstand heat. We also don’t take responsibility if the printing does not stick to the item. It will be the responsibility of the client to ensure that the product they provide will be able to withstand heat.

If you want sublimation done on the shirt note that only certain fabrics work with sublimation. Also know that not all fabric work for t-shirt printing. The reason for this is: Some fabrics will not handle the heat. You can’t use a fabric that will melt.

Can you supply the t-shirts?

Yes, we can supply the t-shirts. Our t-shirts are of a very high quality. It is specially made for t-shirt printing and will be able to handle the heat from the press.

If I don't have the artwork in the correct format, will I still be able to print it?

No, unfortunately not. The artwork has to be of a high quality jpg, eps or png. However if you don’t have any of this and just the low resolution picture, our team of graphic designers can re-design the artwork for you. We will also give you a high resolution jpg, eps and png for the next time you want to print the artwork. There is a catch! We can’t do this for free – as sometimes the artwork that is sent through takes up a lot of time to recreate. We do ask a fee to re-design artwork. The only time you get the artwork for free is if you order 30 t-shirts or more.

Can I pay once the t-shirts are done?

No, unfortunately not. Anything under the amount of R1500 you have to pay the grand total before we start production. Anything above R1500 you have to pay 50% deposit before we start production. This is to ensure that we leave enough time and enough resources for your t-shirts.

Do you have a card machine?

No, we do not have a card machine. We only accept eft payments or cash. No other form of payment will be accepted.

Are you open on weekends?

No, we are only open on request.

What time do you open and close?

Mon – Fri : 09:00 am – 17:00 pm (We do ask that if you like to come and visit our premises that you make an appointment before you come. We don’t take walk-in clients because of security purposes)

If you ever need any inspiration for t-shirt printing go to Designspiration and have a look at  the awesome ideas the people come up with.