True Black, Knockout, And Digital Printing - Create Tonal Results

Tricks for printing Black on Black with print on demand

"Tonal printing" is a printing process where the color of the print matches very closely to the color of the garment. It is commonly used to create a subtle aesthetic to the overall design.

Additional care must be taken when using direct to garment printing to create tonal designs, for a couple different reasons;
  1. The reactive dyes used to dye t shirts have small variations in color.
  2. The pigment dyes used in direct to garment printing will have small variations in color as well.
We recommend test printing (sampling), to ensure the colors match close enough for your needs.

Printing black on black requires additional attention

Direct to garment printing on dark garments require printing a white under base below colored prints.  When white ink is printed below black inks, the result can appear more "grey" than black.

We recommend setting the darkest possible print black color in your file, which is "true black."

Additionally, we recommend "knockout" of ~50% be applied to your print setting for your artwork and recommend you request this by leaving a note after your upload your artwork.  Knockout will remove a portion of the white under base, which will create a "darker" print result.

Don't Overlook Screen Printing for Tonal Print Designs

Most tonal printing you see likely utilizes screen printing and its the most straightforward way to get the print result you want.   

Unlike direct to garment printing, we have great control over the exact ink color used with screen printing.  It is very easy and straightforward to screen print black ink on black garments.  Also, though a color matching fee will apply, colors can easily be matched to any PMS color in screen printing.  

    • Related Articles

    • How To Get The Brightest Possible Digital Print

      If you are looking to get bright and vibrant prints for your artwork, you have come to the right place. This article covers key decisions to get the most vibrant digital prints. Disclaimer: We will not refund or reprint orders that appear faded due ...
    • How To Print Cloud Effects and Drop Shadows With Direct To Garment Printing

      One of the most amazing aspects of digital graphic design is the ability to create stunning effects like slowly disappearing shadows or clouds with bolts of lightening coming out of them.  Both of these effects (drop shadows and glow or haze) can ...
    • How Do I Add A Print To My Shirt?

      Printing is one of the most popular ways to put artwork onto garments, because it is cost effective and can support so many different types of artwork. Adding a print to your design is fast & easy when you are designing products online. Once you have ...
    • How To Prepare Artwork For Screen Print

      This article covers artwork requirements for achieving great print quality when using screen printing File Resolution Recommend: 300 dpi Acceptable: 150 dpi Not acceptable: less than 150 dpi Files Size Files must be provided at the size you need to ...
    • How To Color Match For Print On Demand

      If you are looking to get into print on demand, but have some concerns about getting colors perfect, this article is for you.  We will walk you through the step by step process of how to match colors to get the exact colors you want.  But before we ...