Common Oversights in Art

Justin White
July 22nd, 2015

Hello. I’m Justin. This is my first blog post (woohoo), so I’d love to hear any feedback and whatnot. I’m starting with something that can potentially benefit customers who make their own art, as well as our art team, and anyone you tell. So..on your mark..get set..go.

We want to be able to make mockups for our customers as quickly as we can. One of the few things that can slow us to a halt is bad art. Sometimes it’s an easy fix, but other times the art has to be completely remade, and that can suddenly throw things into a rush. It’s not fun telling someone they have to remake their entire design, especially when the only change to be made is at the very beginning, with the size of the art file.

Something to know is that if you can’t figure something out, we will help you. Do not feel bad about what you do not know. The ultimate goal here is to teach what works well for us, and what does not, and to teach whoever is learning to see the difference between “good” quality art and “bad” quality art.

Creating Art Effectively

There are a few key things that seem to repeatedly catch people up, so I’d like to shed some light in that direction.

First, general hang ups, then we’ll get a little more specific.

Quality | Usually low quality art comes either from starting your design with a low resolution document, or saving in a low resolution format.

Size | The size of your art file should be the length and width in inches of your desired print size, at 300 or 600 ppi (pixels per inch). Typically around 10″ – 12″ wide for a full front. If your art is 5 inches wide but you want a full front, you will have to sacrifice detail for size or remake the art, which is just a bummer.

Messy Layers | If your art has a lot of layers, it can get quite confusing. Try to delete any unused layers or bulk in your art.

Spelling | We try to keep our eyes peeled for spelling mistakes because it’s unfortunate for everyone when nobody sees the mistake until it’s printed. So be wary (and maybe have someone else do an extra spell check), because we all make silly mistakes.

 Saving | We like to have your actual art file, not just a jpeg or, god forbid, a screenshot. The original art file will be the best way for us to see exactly what you saw when you made your art. Usually .eps and .psd is great for photoshop; .pdf or .ai for illustrator.

Text | When working in Illustrator, all text should be outlined in case we don’t have the typeface. In photoshop, all text should be converted to raster, after your art is sized correctly.


With those in mind, let’s make a photoshop document for a full chest print.

All you need to know while making your art is roughly how big you want it to be on a shirt. So awkwardly measure your own chest or whatever you have to do, and get an estimate in mind. If you’re unsure, go larger rather than smaller.

Understanding resolution is the first step to making some killer art. \m/

Understanding resolution is the first step to making some killer art. \m/


We want resolution to be at least 300 ppi, from the beginning. Make it 600 ppi if you can, especially if your design contains text. Your computer may hate files that big, so do what you can. If you have an art file, and it’s at 72 ppi (or anything below 300), and you change it to 300 ppi, that file is now 300 ppi, but all your art just got stretched from 72 ppi, so it’s not as clean looking as if the same art was created at 300 ppi from the start.

A 72 ppi file and a 600 ppi file look almost identical when you’re zoomed out, but when you zoom in, you’ll see the difference.

For example, here is an art file that looks okay from a distance, but it was made at 72 ppi.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 10.26.33 AM

When we zoom in, we’ll see how it actually looks.




This is where we might tell someone they need to have higher resolution art. With photoshop, as long as you can still edit your text, it will resize automatically, and effectively. So I’ll change the resolution of this file to 600 ppi since it has text, and replace the flute image with the original high resolution image from google….and viola!

This will translate to a shirt much better.

this will translate to a shirt much better

If your art is low quality, we do what we can to fix it. There is, however, no way to make it perfect.

Now let’s look at a closeup of the text from this file. Here’s the 600 ppi version. Sharp as crap, it will print beautifully.

Nothin' wrong with that.

nothin’ wrong with that

This is the 72 ppi version, resized to 600 ppi and sharpened. It doesn’t look awful, but we get a bumpy edge and we lose some detail, such as the point in the top left.


Bumpy and pointless

wiggly and pointless

We do what we can to save low quality art, but looking close, there are definite losses to art that started at a low resolution, and all that means is a less desirable print.

Thanks for checking this out, I hope it helped. If you are confused at all by any of this, seriously, we want to help. With any questions, email, or test out the new live chat on Here’s to great art and sharp prints. Peeeace.

Justin is the other half of the Art team and Trust’s youngest family member. Don’t be deceived by his small stature and quiet voice; if you can hear what he has to say you will probably be blown away.

Filed under: Art