Designer Jeanetta Gonzales is back on the blog to share her five go-to tips for designing on Spoonflower! If you missed the first installment of her three-part design series, be sure to take a peek here.

Jeanetta: When designing on Spoonflower you may have noticed that there are certain technical steps to take to ensure your designs look perfect. From the minute you start designing there are several things to keep in mind. Here are my five go-to tips to help you design on Spoonflower with ease:

1. Size Matters

Did you know that Spoonflower has a default DPI of 150? If you upload a file that isn’t set at 150 dpi it can cause some unexpected changes in scale.

When we talk about the size of a digital image, we talk about pixels per inch, or ppi. (You’ll also see this described as dots per inch, or dpi on our site, but the clearest term is pixels per inch.) The ppi is the number of pixels in a linear inch and is also referred to as the resolution of the image.

To prevent a change in scale, create your design in your program of choice at 150 dpi or adjust the resolution once you’ve uploaded your design to Spoonflower.

To adjust your design on Spoonflower, use the Smaller/Bigger buttons or enter in a specific dpi by clicking on the “Change DPI” link. Once you make an adjustment, don’t forget to click on “Save this Layout” to make the change stick.

Screenshot of the backend of Spoonflower's site, where a pink floral design with a navy background has been uploaded. The boxes where you can make a design bigger and smaller have a red box around them

You can always make your design smaller on Spoonflower but you can not make it larger than the original size uploaded to your account. Interested in learning more about how resolution works? Here is a guide that explains how it affects your image. (Note: Spoonflower no longer sells its products on gift wrap.)

Screenshot of the backend of Spoonflower's site, where a pink floral design with a navy background  has been uploaded. The Design Size box, where you can change a design’s DPI has a red box around it

If you upload an image at 300 DPI you will have the ability to make the resolution and scale of the design smaller. If you do not change the resolution of your 300 DPI image and have it printed you will see a significant difference. Below you can see my design printed at 300 DPI image and 150 DPI.

Two images of fabric with the same pink floral design with a navy background have been placed side by side. The design on the left, which is slightly smaller than the desing on the right, has been printed at 150 DPI. The design on the right, which is slightly larger than the design on the left, has been printed at 300 DPI.

2. Working with Color

Unlike traditional paper printers, Spoonflower designs are printed in RGB so when creating your design, remember to work and save your file in RGB mode. If your files are saved in CMYK you will see a significant color difference when you upload to your Spoonflower account.

A swatch of fabric with a pink floral design on a navy background has been folded and placed next to rows of blocks of different shades of pinks and their related hex codes.

But what about getting the right color? We’re so glad you asked!

A swatch of fabric with a pink floral design on a navy background has been folded and placed next to rows of blocks of different shades of color, navy, black and a few greens, and their related hex codes.

If you would like a particular color or colors in your design, assign hex codes to each color.

Hex codes are web-based formulaic codes that represent individual colors. They are six digit codes that make up the RGB values of the color.

Design tools like the Spoonflower Color Map and Sample Pack feature printed color chips with their specific hex codes so you can see how they print on all of Spoonflower’s fabrics, wallpaper and gift wrap. Ordering a color map and sample pack can help take out the guess work of finding the right colors for your designs.

A swatch of fabric with a pink floral design on a navy background has been folded and placed next to a Spoonflower Color Map which shows small rows of block of all the colors we print and their associated hex codes

Just like a photo printed on matte computer paper and glossy photo paper, color varies when printed on different fabrics. Some fabrics are more delicate and thinner which means they absorb less ink during the printing process while other fabrics are printed with a dye sublimation process that results in designs printing more vibrantly.

Two images placed side by side. On the left, small rectangular fabric pieces lay tessellated on a white surface. Similar pieces lay at the top of the image to the top right in a small cardboard box. On the right, a close up of the tessallated fabric pieces. The pieces are each of a different fabric sold by Spoonflower glued to a small piece of stiff paper, the name of the fabric is in black font at the top of each card.

3. Designing for Products

Now that you’re a resolution expert, it’s important think about how Spoonflower shoppers will be using your design or if it’s just for personal use, how you’ll be using the design. Scaling your design properly creates a sense of balance and harmony when paired with other designs or fits in the room you are designing it for. Want to learn more about scaling your designs for products? See my post “Everything You Need to Know About Designing for Products!”

A napkin with a pink floral on a white background lays on a tablecloth with a pink floral print with a turquoise background. A plate of fruit and a bowl of nuts lays to the left of the image
Featured designs: Butterfly Wings and Wildwood

4. Saving Your File

When you’re ready to save your file to upload to Spoonflower, remember to save as a JPG or PNG file. Files from Photoshop and Illustrator or PDFs are not accepted.

5. Previewing Your Design on Spoonflower

The design preview on Spoonflower is your friend. Once your design is uploaded to your account, you can see your design in the scale it will be printed. If the design is getting cut off on the preview screen (very important for engineered designs), it’ll get cut off when printed if you do not adjust the scale (see tip #1 if you need a refresher!) or fabric size.

For artists who will be selling their designs in the Spoonflower Marketplace, you can set the preview image for the customer to be a specific fabric size and substrate. For example, if your design is intended to be made into a Linen Cotton Canvas calendar tea towel, you should save the layout to preview as a fat quarter on Linen Cotton Canvas.

You can also set the thumbnail to a fat quarter, crop or swatch preview to ensure the customer sees the design as accurately as possible when searching the Marketplace.

Screenshot of the design view on Spoonflower’s website. On the left, a red box has been added around 3 thumbnail previews of a pink floral design with a navy background, fat quarter, swatch and crop. The radio button next to fat quarter has been selected. On the right, a paragraph to select the designs’s most predominent designs is above a checkbox where the designer can agree to sell or display their design.

Keep these tips in mind each time you set up your files for a consistent and stress-free design process! For even more tips for being successful on Spoonflower, be sure to read the Spoonflower Seller Handbook.


About the Guest Blogger

Everything You Need to Know About Designing for Products | Spoonflower Blog Jeanetta Gonzales is a Los-Angeles based artist and designer. Her multidisciplinary studio specializes in surface pattern design, apparel design, illustration and graphic design.

Jeanetta finds joy in creating art for her own products and sharing her art through licensing it on apparel, greeting cards and home decor. Jeanetta also provides coaching and accountability to artists bringing out their true self-expression and helping them achieve their business goals.