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.  

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