Direct-to-garment, or DTG, is a printing method that sprays the ink onto the garment. The ink then soaks into the fibers of the garment. DTG printers offer a lot of color options which means you can print detailed designs and photorealistic images with almost no color limitations. You can work with detailed designs and color patterns as much as you wish.

It’s important to prepare your art files properly to optimize the quality of your final product. A high-quality art file will yield a high-quality final product. Taking the time to prepare your files properly will not only save you time & money in the long run, but it will help you maintain a great reputation for your online store. We’ve created this guide in order to help you avoid basic print file mistakes:

1. Element transparency

To achieve a high-quality DTG print, a specialized pre-treatment is applied to your garment to prepare the fibers to accept ink. Next, a layer of white under base is laid on the areas your design will be printed to prepare any color garment for a vibrantly printed design. Lastly, the colors in your design are printed & immediately cured to bind the ink to the fabric, ensuring a beautiful & long-lasting custom garment.

So, the thing to avoid with DTG is transparency. Elements that are less than 100% opaque don’t translate well in DTG printing—printers will attempt to make up the missing color by spreading the ink, causing the fabric to have a lot of gaps. That’s why it’s best to use solid colors or fake semi-transparency by halftoning.

2. Design RGB & CMYK color spaces

CMYK is the color space that’s used for printing designs. RGB, on the other hand, is the color space used by most creators when designing print files.

CMYK color space recognizes a smaller range of colors than RGB. If your design has colors outside of the CMYK color space, then our printing software matches those colors to the closest ones in the CMYK color space.

The original photo taken within the RGB color space is on the left. The photo on the right is the same one, converted into the CMYK color space.

To take color matching in your hands, design within the CMYK color space and then convert to RGB yourself, without losing any colors. Or, if your software doesn’t support the CMYK color space, use an online RGB to CMYK converter to check which colors of your design are out of CMYK color space and adjust those.

3. DTG Max Print Dimensions/Size Generally,

For multiple sizes of the same garment, a 10" design looks quite a bit different on a size XS shirt than it does on a size 5XL. Below, you'll find the print area for each of our garment types & size.

StyleBabie Onesize
Youth TeeLadies TeeOthers (Guys Tee, Hoodie,...
SizeUnder 6MFrom 6MAll SizesAll SizesS-XL
2XL-3XL4XL-5XL
Max Width (inch)
571011111313.5
Max Lenght (inch)681113131515.5


We recommend art files used for DTG printing are a minimum of 2000px wide & the file resolution is set to 300dpi for the best quality outcome.

4. Design Quality

With Direct-to-Garment printing, black ink will not be printed on a black garment, white ink will not be printed on a white garment... During the printing process, all similar garment color elements of your design will be removed to show the garment color beneath. Also ensure the edges of your artwork are clean & crisp at print size, without being blurry or jagged. 

When using transparent glows or gradient effects on dark garments, the white under the base beneath the design will be visible, removing a lot of the design’s color.


4. Types of fabric

Your print outcome varies depending on the fabric you choose to print on. Geargag has plenty of options to pick from: 

StyleBrandNote
Guys TeeGildan G5000 (or similar)5.3 oz.(US) 8.8 oz.(CA), 100% preshrunk cotton
Heather colors, Graphite Heather, Safety colors,Tweed, Blackberry, Lilac, Midnight, Neon colors & Sunset: 50/50 cotton/polyester
Antique colors & Sport Grey : 90/10 cotton/polyester
 Ash Grey: 99/1 cotton/polyester
HoodieGildan G18500 (or similar)8 oz.(US) 13.5 oz.(CA), 50/50 preshrunk cotton/polyester
 Heather Sport colors: 40/60 cotton/polyester
Sweat ShirtGildan G18000 (or similar)8 oz.(US) 13.3 oz.(CA), 50/50 preshrunk cotton/polyester
 Heather Sport colors: 60/40 polyester/cotton
Ladies TeeGildan G5000L (or similar)5.3 oz.(US) 8.8 oz.(CA), 100% preshrunk cotton
Heather colors, Graphite Heather, Safety colors,Tweed, Blackberry, Lilac, Midnight, Neon colors & Sunset: 50/50 cotton/polyester
Antique colors & Sport Grey : 90/10 cotton/polyester
Ash Grey: 99/1 cotton/polyester
Youth TeeGildan G5000B (or similar)5.3 oz.(US) 8.8 oz.(CA), 100% preshrunk cotton
Heather colors, Graphite Heather, Safety colors & Neon colors: 50/50 cotton/polyester
Sport Grey : 90/10 cotton/polyester
 Ash Grey: 99/1 cotton/polyester
Guys V-Neck

Bella & Canvas 3005 (or similar)

4.2 oz.(US) 7 oz.(CA), 100% airlume combed and ringspun cotton, 32 singles
Ash is 99/1 airlume combed and ringspun cotton/polyester
Athletic Heather and Black Heather are 90/10 airlume combed and ringspun cotton/polyester
Alternate Heather colors are 52/48 airlume combed and ringspun cotton/polyester
Marbles are 4.0 oz., 91/9 polyester/airlume combed and ringspun cotton, 32 singles
Neons are 3.6 oz., 52/48 airlume combed and ringspun cotton/polyester, 40 singles
Slubs are 4.0 oz., 50/37.5/12.5 polyester/airlume combed and ringspun cotton/rayon, 32 singles
Black Slub is 4.0 oz., 40/30/30 polyester/airlume combed and ringspun cotton/rayon, 32 singles
 Black Mineral Wash is 4.4 oz., 100% airlume combed and ringspun cotton, 32 singles
Ladies Flowy Tank

Bella & Canvas 8800 (or similar)

3.7 oz.(US) 6.2 oz.(CA), 65/35 polyester/viscose, 32 singles
Athletic Heather is 52/48 polyester/viscose
Black Heather is 80/20 viscose/polyester
Marbles are 3.5 oz., 91/9 polyester/airlume combed and ringspun cotton, 40 singles
Slubs are 4.0 oz., 50/37.5/12.5 polyester/airlume combed and ringspun cotton/rayon, 40 singles
Black Slub is 4.0 oz., 40/30/30 poly/airlume combed ringspun cotton/rayon, 40 singles
Stripes are 3.7 oz., 70/30 rayon/polyester
 Heather Navy is 3.7 oz., 70/30 rayon/polyester
Baby OnesieRabit skin 4400 (or similar)5 oz. (US) 8.3 oz (CA), 100% combed ringspun cotton
Heather is 90/10 combed ringspun cotton/polyester
CVC colors are 60/40 combed ringspun cotton/polyester
 White is sewn with 100% cotton thread
Ladies V-NeckGildan 5V00L (or similar)5.3 oz.(US) 8.8 oz.(CA),100% preshrunk cotton
Sport Grey: 90/10 cotton/polyester
 Heather colors: 50/50 cotton/polyester
Unisex Tank TopGildan G5200 (or similar)5.3 oz., 100% preshrunk cotton
Sport Grey: 90/10 cotton/polyester
 Graphite Heather, Neon Green & Safety Pink: 50/50 cotton/polyester
Unisex Long SleeveGildan G5400 (or similar)5.3 oz.(US) 8.8 oz.(CA), 100% preshrunk cotton
Ash Grey: 99/1 cotton/polyester
Graphite Heather, Safety Green & Safety Orange: 50/50 cotton/polyester
 Sport Grey: 90/10 cotton/polyester

Fabric made of 100% cotton has a tight weave and, for that reason, it’s the best choice to show off your design in its full opacity. Thicker 100% fabric is more likely to absorb ink, so the final print can have a bit of a faded effect.

Fabric made of poly and tri-blend has a looser weave and, for that reason, it’s the best choice to show off your designs in a faded / vintage kind of vibe.

The differences between prints on 100% cotton (left), Poly-blend (middle) and tri-blend fabrics (right).

If you like your designs to have a faded color palette, go for products with blended fabric. If you want that maximum opacity, choose products with 100% cotton.