Advice and answers from the Inkthreadable Team

Printing methods

These are the printing methods used at Inkthreadable:

DTG - Direct to Garment, what we specialise in. In the simplest terms possible, this is a print method similar to standard inkjet printing - where a print head passes over the garment and lays down colour inks based on your artwork. It's a digital method capable of high-quality prints using as many colours as necessary.

Vinyl - A method of printing where your designs are cut from a sheet of vinyl and heat-pressed onto your garment. Single colour designs only.

Dye sublimation
- A print method that transfers dye from sublimation paper to your product. It's more versatile than direct to garment since dye sublimation is possible for products like mugs, which would be otherwise impossible to print.

Screen printing - Layers of ink are passed through prepared screens, one layer at a time. The ink is then cured under heat. This method is cost effective in large volume orders, depending on order and colour volume.

Design file types

These are the file types we may refer to when talking about print/design files: 

PNG - Portable Network Graphics. This is a file type that supports both lossless compression (meaning you don't lose quality when saved) and transparency (so your designs remain background-less). It's perfect for sending print files for Direct to Garment.

JPG - Also known as a JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group). It's a 'lossy' file type, so the higher the compression, the more quality is lost. But if file size isn't an issue, neither will quality. This file type doesn't preserve transparent pixels, which will default to white when saved.

EPS - Encapsulated PostScript, used mainly for transferring files between various graphics applications. The PostScript code stores font and graphic information, which can be read by other programs capable of reading this code.

AI - A very similar file type to EPS, though it's native to Adobe Illustrator. By default, AI files contain PDF content that's used when the file is opened or placed anywhere else, meaning AI files can also be opened by any program capable of reading PostScript code. 

PSD - These are layered image files used in Adobe PhotoShop, the acronym stands for Photoshop Document. PSD is a proprietary file format that allows the user to work with individual layers even after the file has been saved.

PDF - Portable Document Format. This file type presents documents as they'd appear when printed. Each PDF file captures a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including all elements (graphics, text, fonts etc) needed to display it.

Printing colour models

These are the two colour models we use for printing:

CMYK - This stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black), the four colours used when printing. Combining variations of these colours at full saturation creates the primary colours (red, green and blue). It's a colour profile designed primarily for printing.

RGB - Red, Green and Blue. This is a colour model where the three primary colours are added together to create a broad range of colours. It's typically used for the display of digital images, though our printing software converts this colour model to CMYK. 

Other printing terms

These are the other terms you may come across when browsing Inkthreadable:

PPI - This stands for Pixels Per Inch, referring to the amount of pixels per square inch in a design file. The higher the quantity of pixels, the higher the image quality. Often confused with DPI. 

DPI - Dots Per Inch, which refers to the amount of dots printed per square inch. Again, the higher the quantity, the higher the quality. A file saved at 300ppi will be printed at 300dpi.

GSM - Grams per Square Meter, the metric measurement of the weight of a material (the heavier the weight, the thicker the material).

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