The art of digital t-shirt printing starts long before shirts, screens and ink converge on the production floor. It all starts by getting what’s in your head onto your computer screen in a way that is usable. Just like every other successful endeavor, planning is the key element to creating good art that can be reproduced on a t-shirt.
I can’t recall how many times that customers have presented to us the most beautiful art that just can’t be reproduced effectively because of poor planning or the lack of understanding for the printing process. The first thing to understand is that not everything on your monitor can be reproduced exactly on a custom t-shirt or any other medium for that. Computer monitors are viewed in RGB (red, green, blue) color mode. Your computer screen is also backlit. T-shirt printing is done in the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color mode. RGB color pallets are in the millions of variations. CMYK has a limited gamut which results in a narrower color pallet. Many RGB colors appear “out of gumut” in the CMYK environment, meaning they can’t be reproduced exactly. This is because some of the RBG colors are out of the range of colors available within CMYK. Good examples of this are certain purples and maroon.
Please remember that all t-shirt printing, including off-set printing and digital printing of any kind is done in CMYK. The best solution to this problem is to always make sure your color space is set to CMYK. Be aware that not all software applications allow users to create in an editable color work space.