Going Digital & Print Areas: Understand the Impact

Going Digital & Print Areas: Understand the Impact

We have a long-term goal of going 100% digital. To accommodate digital printing on all products, we have adjusted the print areas on almost all products so they can fit the accompanying pallet sizes of our digital printers.

This transition will have an effect on your products. Continue reading to understand the impact of going digital…

Benefits of Going Digital

By switching to digital printing, we can utilize unlimited colors and color gradients.

Going digital also reduces the complexities of our production process. It helps us save time and reduce product errors (which can be attributed to the handling of foils in flex and flock printing). As a result, we’re able to ship out products in a shorter amount of time.

Current Issues with Print Areas

For many of our products, the print areas were defined long before these top-notch digital printers were available. Some of the current print areas exceed the size of the product and print pallet, and they limit our ability to accommodate every single order. In other cases, the print area was defined in such a way that a design can be printed over seams, zippers, or pockets.

As a result, we’re forced to deal with more manual work, longer production times, dissatisfied customers and unattractive products.

Now What?

We had to adapt many of our products’ print areas to fit the fixed pallet sizes of our digital printers. This means that print areas may have changed in size and position. We tried to automatically adjust existing products to the new print area sizes by slightly moving or scaling the placed designs. Nevertheless, some of the already-created products were not able to automatically accommodate these changes and might have been deactivated.

This is a complex change that will have a lasting impact on Spreadshirt. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below.

15 comments Write a comment

  1. What’s the current status of flock/flex printing in the EU? Spreadshirt has mentioned elsewhere that the decision to do away with it was partially reversed. That was good news. More info was to be published on the blog. Sorry, but I can’t find it.

    I have lots of legacy designs using both flex and flock. When I click on those products now, some of them look weird (the chosen flock print is replaced with other colours), but others seem to be using the gold flex, for instance. But there is no real info on what printing method is used. So while my description might say “glittery letters” – who knows what the customer is getting?

    • If you were previously using any of those flex foils

      neon yellow
      neon orange
      neon pink
      neon green
      silver metallic
      gold metallic
      gold glitz
      silver glitz
      pink glitz
      red glitz
      black glitz

      then your products continue to be printed with these foils.

      If you used other flex foils then these were transformed into digitally printed colors!

  2. Wow, this is a HUGE disappointment! I have been using Spreadshirt exclusively for years now because of how many fantastic printing options there are — and NONE of those awesome options are referring to digital direct. I rave about Spreadshirt to my friends and colleagues, and I know multiple groups who now use Spreadshirt for the beautiful flex & flock printing, including three that I myself am the one in charge of making shirts for. (Two choirs, the HS debate squad I coach, two adult social groups…) I use the flex printing on virtually every product I create, and nothing, _nothing_ compares to the glitz, neon, and glow in the dark options. They get so much attention! The digital direct printing LITERALLY pales in comparison. The flex printing is what sets Spreadsheet apart. If digital printing is the “future”, then I’ll stay old fashioned.

    If it’s an issue of time or cost, I genuinely wouldn’t mind waiting a bit longer for my product to arrive, or paying a bit more for it, if it ensured the superior quality that I’ve been receiving from Spreadshirt for years.

    I have labored hours upon hours over getting my dozens of products “just right” on Spreadshirt — I even taught myself some Adobe tools so that I could perfect them. It’s not just disappointing, it’s downright sad that Spreadshirt is going this direction. I’ve created shirts for SO many different gifts, groups, and events… *deep sigh* I guess I’ll have to find a new source for all my printing needs. 🙁

    • Absolutely to a lot of the comments where Flex is concerned. I’ve had a few digital test prints done and they absolutely pale in comparison, sadly!

  3. Have to agree with many of the others here. The quality of the flex printing and handling of vector files is what originally brought me to the site. Now, there’s no benefit to using SS as the printing is sub-par on dark colored shirts. This directly affects the quality of my products and my brand, I’ll have to look for another quality vendor.

    • Agreed. Literally the only reason I’m on SS is for the flex/flock. Otherwise there is no difference between SS and other places such as CafePress and Zazzle.

  4. Leaving and going to Printful. They offer hundereds more garments and the printing is cheaper and better. Sorry spreadshirt, you been passed up by people who are better at what they do. You didn’t listen to your shops and customers…..

  5. Re: New print area. First, thank you for the link. I love your new design system with one exception. In the past I’ve used raster graphics, 300 dpi and 9.2 inches wide and the printing has always been crisp. Your prior system showed the exact size of the image as I manipulated it so that I never exceeded 9.2 inches as raster graphics deteriorate when enlarged. You new system does not display the design size but instead it shows a percentage of — I assume the width — of the print area the design is at. Please give me the width of your new print area so that I can calculate what percentage of it
    my 9.2 inches is. Many thanks.

  6. My 28 type designs require the high placement that I manually achieved. Still they should easily fit your new print areas. Regardless, I checked my site tonight and 80-90% of my designs had been lower dramatically by Spreadshirt. Moreover, I have about 30 display ads approved by Google Adwords (now Ads) with the high placement I originally achieved. I don’t know if this is related to your new all digital printing, but it is new placement that has occurred will not work for me. Thanks for considering this information.

  7. Worst. News. Ever.

    Flex and flock printing is what sets Spreadshirt apart from all the other cookie cutter print-on-demand sites. It’s far superior to digital printing and lasts an eternity. Now Spreadshirt has nothing special to offer and that is not a good thing.

    • We’re sorry that you feel this way and this is a very complex topic for sure. The outcome however of our extensive research and try-outs has been that offering in the future Flex is simply not feasible. Personally I believe it’s suitable for smaller companies (like f.ex your local print shop or similar) that have a better possibility to control the incoming orders and delivery times. Flex printing is not only manual labour but a very complicated task requiring expertise. Training a new employee takes weeks. This causes significant issues f.ex during seasonal peaks.

      Now, digital printing is actually pretty awesome and comparing DD and Flex is a bit like comparing apples and oranges – it hardly makes sense. Flex-printing has significant print technic limitations: DD can print pretty much any image in the world. One is definitely not “superiot” to the other and we have the best Digital Direct machines in the market. We also did some customer research on this topic and a majority of customers in fact prefer Digital Direct: it’s soft, more breathable, better suited for thinner fabrics, and even larger prints will not “weigh down” the fabric. We also heard the argument that the quality will not suffer even if you leave it for a week in the washing basket 😉

      But of course, if you are after the specific look & feel of Flex-print, DD might not be what you are looking for. I’d recommend for you to try out a colourful print on a light-ish background to see the how amazing & vibrant the colours can be 🙂

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