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I made some designs for T-Shirts and I want to print them.

I want to know what's the best printing resolution for the best quality

And what's the ideal type of printers should I use if I want to market them.

  • Some of the highest resolution printing on fabric (1440 x 720 dpi) is for high fashion accomplished by Epson™ F-series dye-sublimation printers. – Stan Oct 7 '17 at 19:15
  • It is probably best to ask the printer of the tshirt what they require. – ispaany Nov 6 '17 at 15:06
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This is, of course, opinion based on what you deem to be high quality or adequate quality. The 'best quality' is technically as high dpi as you can physically go. However, going back to in terms of practicality, it is also scenario specific.

If you want to play it safe, 300dpi will be more than adequate. However, some t-shirt fabrics will absorb and spread the ink, so you can get away with 100dpi printing for those types. I definitely wouldn't go any lower than 120dpi, and would avoid less than 200dpi, if you're not entirely sure.

The type of printing is a matter of opinion as well, but there isn't any quantitative data to support a suggestion. I found this nice list of pros and cons of different types of printing that you may find interesting:

https://www.slideshare.net/Printsome/printing-techniques-46039055

The rest is down to you.

  • there's no way a t-shirt would utilize 200dpi. – DA01 Oct 6 '17 at 18:36
  • @DA01 Fabric printing now uses 1440 x 720 dpi for many fashion applications for at least 4 different models (Epson SureColor 9200 Dye Sub.) – Stan Oct 7 '17 at 19:06
  • @Stan maybe on a coated canvas? But a T-shirt? I'm not arguing that the printer can't print at that resolution. I'm saying a cotton t-shirt can't hold that resolution. It's like printing on newsprint. – DA01 Oct 7 '17 at 19:12
  • @DA01 Given. I'm not considering the practicality of the issue; but, only reacting to the "printing resolution for the best quality" for the sake of argument. I'm establishing a state-of-the-art limit. – Stan Oct 7 '17 at 19:18
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I want to know what's the best printing resolution for the best quality

The only valid answer to this is:

the best resolution is the one recommended to you by the particular vendor you are going to use to print the T-shirts.

Why? Because there's too many variables for us to guess at that will go into the calculation as to what the best resolution would be. The variables would include:

  • the style and type of your design
  • the type of material being printed onto
  • the type of ink being used to print
  • the method of printing being used
  • applicable line screens
  • the preferences of the vendor
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Resolution is connected to printing method.
In screen printing (usually used in printing on cloths) there is no such thing as resolution. The quality of picture depend of screen eye.
Second the "crispiness" of a picture is related to material you are printing on and with. For example white cotton t-shirt will be more absorbent than blue one as the first one is not saturated with paint.
Ink is more "spillable" than paint. Thermo transfer give you the best "out of the printer" quality of picture but the durability of the picture is not so great over time.

So to summarize. first you need to choose method of printing and then adjust your picture to that.

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You have more than one "resolution" to think about for printing from digital files:

Halftone screen resolution: To print using silk screening (or any other way besides some exotic, continuous tone methods), images and areas of less than 100% solid colors have to be printed as halftones, or "screened" tints. The size of the halftone screen (dots) matters, and only your printer (person who runs the press) can tell you what halftone resolution or "screen frequency" to use. DO NOT assume that higher resolution is better. This is where so many designers and people who think that software does all the work get into trouble. Halftone screening has to be appropriate for the ink, the paper (cloth or whatever the substrate is). the press, the skill of the operator, the drying method, etc. etc.

Halftone resolution is not the same as a file's pixel resolution, or its dimensions in pixels. This matters, because it has to be high enough to accommodate all halftone dot sizes. A rule of thumb is to have enough data for an effective ppi of 1.5 to 2 times the screen frequency. So if the halftone screen is 120 dpi, the file should be about 180 to 240 ppi (pixels per inch). BUT, since pixels don't actually have a size, you also have to know the printed size of the entire image. If the image is going to be 10 inches width and height, and the pixel resolution is 240 ppi, then the image MUST have 2400 pixels x 2400 pixels, or about 16.5 MB of data (not counting non-image data) -- or you must print the image smaller.

The most important part of this answer is: Talk To The Printer Before Preparing A File for Printing.

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In my experience anything over 85ppi (@ 100%) for a shirt is overkill. T-shirt fabric is not a high res media, but it's pretty forgiving. Just avoid tiny type (<.25" is tiny on a shirt) and you will probably be fine. Try to avoid very fine details, such as 1 point lines, as you can't count on them translating well to the printed shirt. Your shirt vendor will have their own guidelines. Mileage may vary.

  • Note that while a high resolution image may not be necessary, it won't hurt the outcome. Just focusing on staying above the minimum resolution. Good luck! – 13ruce Oct 6 '17 at 18:33

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