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Creating Print-Worthy Graphics: A Guide to Exporting High-Resolution Images from Canva

If you've ever created designs in Canva before, you may have experienced a frustrating issue: they look nice and pretty in Canva, but pixelated or blurry once downloaded. You may have submitted them for printing, only to have your order rejected due to low resolution. It's frustrating, I know!

As the owner and operator of PNW Print Co., a print shop, we see this issue every day! I may have some helpful tips and tricks to share with you, and hopefully today you'll learn a thing or two to make your designs always look sharp and beautiful when printed as DTF and UV DTF transfers!

  1. Get the dimensions right

This is the absolutely most important first step: In order for you to create beautiful and high-resolution designs for DTF transfers, you’ll have to make sure your dimensions are right. Canva offers lots of templates for any need, but if you start with one that's sized too small, you may find yourself in trouble later!

For example, the industry standard for a garment design is a graphic that's 10-12" wide. Our goal is to create a design with a resolution of 300 DPI when sized to 12" wide. So, the ideal size for a t-shirt graphic is 3600 x 3600 pixels.

To create a 3600 x 3600 artboard, click the purple "Create a Design" button in the top right corner of your screen and select "Custom Size" at the bottom of the drop-down menu. A pop-up window will appear, where you will type the size of your future artboard: 3600 x 3600. Click the "Create new design" button.

If you started with a Canva pre-built design: you can simply double check the dimensions by clicking on “File” in the top left menu. As you can see, the file below is a Logo and is only 500x500 pixels. How big is it in inches? That's a simple math excersize: 500 pixels divided by 300 DPI = 1.67 inches wide, which is unsuitable for printing. Hint: Logos will always be tiny.

Bad news, right? Not so fast! We can still make this one work, but we'll discuss this a bit later. Let's get back to your 3600x3600 artboard 😉

2. Use high-resolution graphics

This next tip might be obvious, but I wanted to mention it just in case: use high-resolution graphics in your designs to ensure the best possible quality of the exported file.

Whether you’re using your own images, designs purchased from Etsy, or downloaded stock graphics, make sure they are always the highest resolution possible, at least 300 DPI at the desired size. This will make a huge difference in how crisp and beautiful your DTF transfers will come out. Your graphic should also have a transparent background.

3. Save designs in the correct file format

To download your designs in the correct file format, click “Download” at the top right once you’re done creating your graphic. Always choose PNG. Drag the Size toggle all the way to the right to maximize the quality of your design, and ALWAYS check the box for Transparent Background. Then click Download.

And there you have it: a gorgeous, high-resolution design ready for DTF printing!

But wait! Remember, I promised to show you how to transform a "Logo" design into a large, high-resolution design for printing? There may be a better way to achieve the same result, but this is what I do...

WARNING: This trick will ONLY work if the pre-built design is a vector graphic, not raster.

Start with an artboard that's 3600x3600 pixels. Now, go to your Logo design and highlight all the parts of the design - right-click of the mouse - Group (or highlight all parts of the design and press Ctrl+G on your keyboard). Then, Copy the design (Ctrl+C) - go to your new artboard and Paste (Ctrl+P). Awww... look how itty-bitty tiny it is! 🤭 No wonder - it's only 1.67" wide!

Now, highlight the design, grab its corner, and stretch it to fill the artboard! Let's click "File" to see if that worked:

It worked!!! 😉 Now, follow the steps in Step 3 from above to save the design with the best resolution possible!

I hope this little tutorial helps! But if you still have questions, please don't hesitate to let us know!

Happy crafting!

Danny & Elena PNW Print Co

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