Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fabric Printing at Spoonflower

We have been getting some custom fabric designs printed at Spoonflower so I thought I would share a few digital printing tips with you.

For the most part I have found Spoonflower to be a pretty good printing service. There are a few things you should note however:

Colour Matching
  • Spoonflower requires artwork to be in lab colour. The colours you get on your computer screen / printer are most likely not going to match the colours actually printed by Spoonflower. I strongly recommend that the first thing that you get printed is the colour swatch that they have. That way you can look at the swatch to pick the colour that you want and be fairly sure that the printed fabric will match. The sample swatch can be found here. Rachel at Mamma Made has done a series of blog posts on preparing artwork to print correctly, she used a different colour swatch as a test print but the result is the same.
Edit from Spoonflower themselves!

Worth noting that we don't "require" LAB color files, but you will be less likely to see color shifting if you use a file in LAB color. Photoshop (full version) is the only commonly used program to support LAB color. TIF is also the only file format to support LAB color. All of which makes it impractical for most people. RGB files (the most common color format) are generally fine, although color-testing with swatches first is always a good idea!

  • Spoonflower's digital printing can't produce a true black (especially over large areas). It prints as a dark charcoal grey.
  • Reds are also tricky, they verge towards magenta rather than a true red. The red recommended by Spoonflower on the swatch is pretty good though.
Customer Service
  • Spoonflower's customer service is exceptional. I had a technical issue with their marketplace, I sent an email at night Australian time and they had it fixed by the time I got to work the next day.
  • Turn around time is a small issue. Spoonflower is based in the US and I'm in Australia so it takes approx 2 weeks from when I submit a design until it arrives in my letterbox. All designs need to have samples ordered for checking before they can be submitted to the marketplace, so this can make the process quite lengthy - especially if there are a number of colour changes / edits (a new sample needs to be ordered each time a change is submitted).
There are three more digital fabric printers in the US. I haven't tried the others yet but I may sometime during the year. True Up did a comparison of them all early last year. Price wise Spoonflower is the most economical.

I think that is all of the main points, overall I am happy with the quality and service from Spoonflower and if you keep the above points in mind you should get good results. I hope this has been helpful.


  1. I have heard that the colors in digital printing are not as opaque as screen printing. Over all digital printing does create a prett decent product.

  2. I have two of my designs so far as test swatches from spoonflower...I am very happy with them...I love your new fabric!
    Thanks for the tips!

  3. Thanks for explaining this... still have to try out Spoonflower but all info is appreciated. Monique xx