Design for multiple types of merchandise


I am a small artist who has been asked to make an album cover. I am planning to do a collage in Photoshop, but I am not very experienced, especially when it comes to maintaining quality and resolutions for printing.

How can I make sure that my client can use the artwork for multiple types of merchandise, not only the album cover itself? My research has told me that i need 3000 px x 3000 px (300 ppi) for a standard album cover, but that will leave quite a small image. Will the client be able to use it, for example, to make big posters/prints on hoodies?

And if I am making a collage, and using images from the internet, how can I ensure that they stay the same quality in printing? I have learned that I should use smart objects when I am working to maintain resolution, but is there more I should be thinking about? what resolution should the images I download be?

I wanted to get all this straight before I started, I appreciate any help i can get :blush:

Thank you

When you say you are “using images from the internet,” what does that mean?
Cuz it sounds bad right from the start. You better be licensiing those images or someone may come after your band for a LOT of money, whether they are famous or not.

As for the rest of your questions, 3000x3000 is too small for an album cover unless you maybe mean a CD cover? Or an image on the internet for a streaming service?

Define ‘big posters’?

Can a photoshopped collage be printed on a hoodie? Probably… but if they are using a service like Teespring, check their file specs to see what you need (if you can find them, LOL!)

Smart objects???
No idea what you are talking about re smart objects and maintaining resolution. Unless you mean vector smart objects…

Make your art way bigger than you think you need. You can always make it smaller. But you cannot make it bigger.
Define that ‘big poster’ and go up from there.

@PrintDriver gave you good advice.

A rule of thumb is to choose images that are at 300 ppi resolution for the final collage. Upsampling or enlarging a blurry image to a higher resolution will just result in a higher-resolution blurry image. If the original resolution is higher than 300ppi, that’s fine — it can be sampled down to 300 ppi.

3000x3000 pixels will get you a 10"x10" cover at 300 ppi. However, if the printing goes all the way to the edges, you’ll need an extra 1/8-inch bleed all the way around.

The 300ppi thing, like I mentioned, is a rule of thumb, which allows last-minute adjustments to size. If need be, a resolution of around 250ppi is totally adequate for most commercial printing. If these won’t be printed commercially, and if this cover is just a one-off thing for a friend that will be printed on an office desktop printer, a resolution of 150ppi is probably acceptable considering the quality of most desktop printers.

Smart objects have nothing to do with resolution. If you scale them up, their resolution will still decrease. Smart objects are useful, but not for this unless they’re vector objects that you’ll resize and subsequently flatten into raster objects.

300ppi is more than enough to print on a hoodie, but printing full-color images on sweatshirts comes with its own set of drawbacks (a different and lengthy subject). Solid, spot colors work much better for this.

As for a poster, the 300 ppi version for the album cover will likely be adequate, even if the poster is larger and the resolution subsequently decreases because of it. Higher resolution is needed for typical reading distance of about 18 inches, but posters are generally made for walls and will be viewed from greater distances that don’t require razor-sharp printing. Then again, much depends on the size of this poster and where it might hang.

Placing any typography or solid graphics into the collage is best done in a Vector application when possible since vector objects have no inherent resolution and will scale to any size.

Finally, if this is for a commercial product or something that will be used beyond personal use, using random images pulled off the internet could get you into trouble. Most images belong to their original creators and are illegal to use without their permission. There are lots of free-to-use or low-cost images online, but you need to know where to find them and whether or not they really are OK to use.

Thank you, this was helpful, I’ll take it into account. I am of course going to use images with creative commons licenses, maybe I should have specified that in my post.

thank you again :blush:

Even Creative Commons has different levels of licensing. CC0 is about the only thing I’ve seen that approaches ‘any use for any reason.’ And even with that, you should really get the owner’s permission.

Some CC licensing is for personal use only, with business use being “negotiate.”
Almost all CC licensing means that your created piece is ALSO CC! That means someone could take your Band’s art and do something else to it. And be very careful about recognizable faces and trademarked branding. That is not a position I would want to put a client in. Most of our clients also require full release licensing, especially model-releases, signed either by the stock house and sometimes directly by the artist/photographer, depending on use.

But today, everything free, everything cheap, quality be damned…

First of all, you need to discuss this with the customer. Usually the printing house specifies the parameters that are necessary for a particular print. Also, each printing house may have different conditions and specifics of work. It depends on the type of printing.
I had experience with printing on T-shirts. Before developing the design, I asked the printing house to provide me with all the requirements for the file.

If you have a client request for art that will be used across all media, you don’t always have the option of having a vendor to call.

With Photoshop art, you want to consider the largest this art might be printed. That may or may not be the “poster.” Since they say “large poster” I might go for 36" x 48" and set it at 150ppi (bearing in mind that a poster that size would probably print digital at 150ppi.)

But again, in this case where they are using freebie imagery (not something I recommend) they aren’t going to find much that will go to that size. Sooo…what to do.

Anywho, if you do manage something that large, if the band suddenly decides they want a stage backdrop you could take that 36x48 x 150ppi file up to 180" x 240" no problem (yep, 15’ x 20’ @ 30ppi is fine for anything viewed over 10-15ft away or on camera.)

By the way, I did not develop the design for T-shirts completely on my own, did you?

I use this site

did you forget to change your user name to talk to yourself?

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