ASK DTGMerch! #4 – Pixel or Vector?

Black t-shirt with print on. An IPad with a black and white artwork of the print.

1- Pixel or Vector? – T-Shirt design for DTG printing

We received another question for our Ask@DTGMerch Series. 

If I want to print my design using DTG printing, do I need to create my design as a pixel file or a vector file? 

This is one of the most common questions, and we get it all the time.

So let’s take a look at this. The video for this question can be found here.


2 – Is it better to use Vector or Pixel graphics?

The truth is – either is fine in DTG, and you can design your ideas in two different ways. Either as a pixel graphic or as a vector graphic. 

The design is rasterized and converted to a printable format using RIP software before printing, and RIP software products can usually handle both file types. 

When in doubt, get in touch with your printer provider and ask them for their requirements. 

3 – Pixel Graphics

But it is with pixel graphics that quality is critical. They must be of high quality and, very importantly, the right size. 

Nowadays, we see pixel graphics everywhere: on smartphones, digital photos or computers. 

Here, image information is stored as individual dots of colour (pixels). The more individual pixels the photo contains the higher its resolution. However, if the individual image has fewer pixels and therefore a smaller image size, the resolution may be too low for DTG printing and the print will appear pixelated and blurred.

4 – Vector Graphics

The other option is vector graphics. 

In this case, the design consists of curves and shapes instead of pixels. Therefore, vector graphics can be scaled to any size without loss of quality.

However, their creation is much more demanding and requires special graphics programs, such as Adobe Illustrator. 

5 – And the Conclusion…

…is that both file types are suitable for DTG printing. 

To be sure, however, you should also check with your print service provider for requirements.

6 – Do you want to learn more?

Check out this online course that may help you: How to Put Your Art on a t-shirt. In this online course, we talk about which file formats are suitable for different t-shirt printing methods. 

Check out our YouTube video where we talk about how we create T-Shirts for DTG printing 

7 – Have a Question Too?

If you have a question about DTG printing, t-shirt design or print-on-demand, email us at ask@dtgmerch.

Until next time, all the best, take care and be good!

The DTGMerch Team