Need Help Please

I’m in the beginning stages of a graphic tee shirt venture and I do all of my own designs. I am currently using print on demand sites to fulfill my orders. My question is this: When I upload my designs to the POD site from my phone or laptop onto the mock up tee shirts, the graphic shows up along with the background. For example if I’m printing on a black tee and I upload a design its going to apply a white background onto the tee shirt with my design on top of that. And this is not what I am looking for. How do I configure my designs so that when I upload them it is just the design without the background? I’m new to this forum and forums in general. I hope that this post was in line with what takes place on here.

I’d be willing to bet that the artwork you’re uploading is a JPEG. The JPEG file format has a white background. Let’s say you set up a document that is 10" x 10" and have a blue square as your art that is 5" x 5" in the middle. Thee will be a 2.5" white border on all four sides. If the artwork is in Photoshop, have the artwork that will be printed on its own layer, delete the background layer, and save it as a TIFF or PNG with a transparent background. Better yet, create your artwork in a vector program. Vector art has a transparent background and is really a better format for what you’re wanting to do than bitmap art. All of that said, some online rendering engines might add a white background to a vector upload. If this is the case, check the website’s FAQs or customer service. I’d say chances are about 99.999% that the vector will print correctly even if the proof rendering shows a white background.

I agree with everything Steve said.

Vector artwork always causes the least number of problems on this sort of thing, but based on the way you worded your question, I’m guessing you’re uploading a raster file of some artwork (JPEG maybe) to print on the black t-shirt you mentioned.

A lot depends on the method of printing, but it might be necessary to print a layer of white down over the black fabric so the colored artwork can be printed and seen without the dark fabric showing through. When it comes right down to it, the areas where you want the shirt to show through need to be transparent, which sounds easy enough, but a bit more difficult to pull off unless you know what you’re doing.

I don’t know your level of experience with this kind of thing, but you can’t just print anything you want on a dark-colored t-shirt. The artwork needs to be created and built for the process being used to print it. There are technial issues to consider, and many of those technical issues are unique to the company doing the printing and the processes they use.

If you posted an example or two of the artwork you’re trying to reproduce, we could give you more targeted advice.

I love making t-shirts…

Thank you Just-B and Steve_O, your responses were helpful. If I have further questions I will ask.

In my experience (specifically, with Zazzle), those sites have adopted PNG as the raster format of choice for their DTG output because it supports a (relatively) wide color gamut, high resolution, and transparency. In some cases, you may be able to upload vector graphics, but what that will produce in their online, on-screen ‘editor’ preview window may not be helpful to you as the person who will be paying for the resulting output.

When you upload a properly prepared PNG with transparency to Zazzle, it previews nicely on any color item with no white background, and, when printing on dark colored shirts or other items, Zazzle actually lays down a pass of white ink first (clipped to the shape[s] of your artwork), so your stuff actually gets printed on white and comes out vivid. I did mostly one-off gift items there, and it was some time ago, but I did get some some very nice results from Zazzle.


This is an upload of a graphic I am using for a tee shirt design. It is on my computer but originated on my iPhone and is in JPEG format. How do is isolate the beard graphic and get rid of the background? Also after you recommended a vector program I went and got adobe illustrator.

Well, I think it was recommended for some things, but like’s been mentioned, the software and the final files depend on the job at hand.

As for the beard you uploaded, if you want to recreate it in Illustrator, you could import it into illustrator as a template, then redraw it.

In the case of something like this, where detail and accuracy might not be the biggest concern, you could also bring it into Illustrator, select it, then, while it’s selected, head up to the menu bar immediately beneath the main menu. You’ll find an item called “Image Trace.” Select one of the options from the Image Trace dropdown (maybe black & white logo). Then, with the beard artwork still selected, head up to the main menu and select Object > Expand (or just click the expand button if you see it). Using the expanded artwork, you can select the light gray background and delete it.

Now whether or not the t-shirt vendor you’re working with will accept Illustrator files or a format that Illustrator will save to is another matter. Luckily, Illustrator will save to a number of different file formats and one of them ought to work. In the case of a PNG, like HotButton mentioned, you’ll need to save it to the PNG in a way that preserves the transparency of the blank areas.

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