Digital Prints Become the Norm

Digital Prints Become the Norm

Digital printing is the print method of the future. With Digital Direct (DD), we offer you a print method with brilliant results to get the best out of your designs. We’ve just added a brand new high-performance unit to our fleet of printers to satisfy both our and your high demands. At the same time, we’re bidding farewell to plot printing. Find out what this means for you and your products!

Old User Area (Registration before 20 October 2016)

One by one, all of our 21 product types will be transferred from plot print methods (flex, special flex, flock) and transfer printing to digital direct printing. The changes apply to all products created by Shop Owners and Marketplace Designers working in the old User Area (registration before 20 October 2016).

ID and Product Type  Switch effective:
818 –  Baby Long Sleeve T-Shirt  7.11.2017
812 – Men’s Premium T-Shirt  
813 – Women’s Premium T-Shirt  
20 – Men’s Premium Hoodie  
444 – Women’s Premium Hoodie  
917 – Women’s Premium Tank Top  
916 – Men’s Premium Tank Top  
876 – Women’s Premium Longsleeve Shirt  
875 – Men’s Premium Longsleeve Shirt  
6 – Men’s T-Shirt  
631 – Women’s T-Shirt  
943 – Women’s T-Shirt with rolled up sleeves  21.11.2017
963 – Men’s Slim Fit T-Shirt  
857 – Women’s Organic V-Neck T-Shirt by Stanley & Stella 20.11.2017
686 – Men’s Organic V-Neck T-Shirt by Stanley & Stella 14.11.2017
752 – Women’s Tank Top by Bella  
1047 – Unisex Hoodie  
1007 – Contrast Colour Hoodie  
1155 – Drawstring Bag  
56 – Tote Bag  
942 – Shoulder Bag made from recycled material  
563 – EarthPositive Tote Bag  

We’ll keep updating the dates in the table. Any switch may take a couple of days, so we’d like to ask you to keep checking this space for future updates.

An exception to the list above are products with designs printed on several print areas (e.g. hoodies: here you can print – next to the front and back – also on the sleeves and hoodie). For these, front and back will be printed with digital direct, whereas the other print areas will be printed as before since digital direct printing is not yet technically possible.

New Partner Area (Registration after 20 October 2016)

Since 26 September 2017, all products created in the new Partner Area are automatically printed with digital direct. Some products, however, cannot be printed on digitally:

Breathable T-Shirts (977, 981, 979)
Cups (31, 949, 268)
Drinkware (757, 773)
Duffel Bag (638)
Caps (905, 428, 1040)
Hat (51)
Apron (141)
iPhone Cases (120, 822, 870, 1017, 1023, 1188, 1189)
Samsung Cases (1163, 1164, 1165)
Buttons (127, 125)
Dog Bandana (611)
Mousepads (993)

Colour equivalents for outgoing plot foils

Get an idea of what the colours of your designs look like when printed with digital direct, and have a look at this overview. You’ll find every colour shade of the previous flex and flock foils with hexadecimal codes to allocate the colours. Enter the code on to see the colour pattern. Our special flex foils (glitter, glow-in-the-dark) will no longer be available after the switch. These will also find an equivalent in colours matching the previous colour effect.

Important: If your products or designs should be named after the outgoing print methods, we recommend changing the product or design name.

Of course, you’ll still be able to upload vector graphics as before. Vector graphics offer a great way for customers to change the colours of the design to their liking.


Switching to digital direct printing will bring about a change in the pricing structure. Printing any design will cost €/£ 4.50. Depending on how many plot foils were needed for flex or flock printing previously,  prices may be slightly lower or higher. Here for a few exaples:

Advantages of digital prints

Next to customers‘ growing demand of colour gradients that can only be accomplished with digital direct prints, this print method holds several advantages:

  • Digital direct prints are more flawless and accurate. Plot printing requires placing the design perfectly by hand, and it’s easy to e.g. forget the dot on an ‘i‘ when weeding prints manually.  These glitches are now commited to the past.  
  • Digital direct is also much faster – a huge advantage when it comes to guaranteeing on-time deliveries in the busy Christmas season!
  • Most importantly, digitally printed products just feel much better. There’s only a single colour layer on the fabrics, making the whole item much smoother.

Marketplace Products

On Spreadshirt’s Marketplace, further product types are already being printed in DD instead of the outgoing print methods.

Outlook for 2018

During the first couple of months in 2018, the print method applicable to all products will be switched from plot printing to digital direct printing – also for those working in the new Partner Area. Just a few products that can’t be printed on with DD (e.g. breathable sports tops), will be plotted on for some more time. We’ll keep you in the loop with all the details here on the blog.

30 comments Write a comment

  1. How about all the downsides with DTG printing?

    1. The washability is getting worse.
    2. The print quality becomes more uneven.
    3. The colors become dull and not as sharp as in plotter printing.

    I’ve been working with plotters since early 90’s and DTG printers since 2006 and I have always promoted Spreadshirt and their plotter printing as the highest quality you can get on a shirt.

    I’m not a big fan of this idea!

    Best regards, Peter Samuelsson,

    • Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your feedback. Of course there are always downsides to every decision. Although I do have to disagree with you on the washability aspect, our experience is that DD prints are better when it comes to washability.


    • Hi Sven,

      Sorry to hear that. We are aware of the fact that there are many flex/flock lovers among our partners. But hope that you will understand our decision.


  2. I have over 100 items in my Spreadshirt store and have always chosen Flex print over anything else where possible as the print quality is excellent with a much wider choice of vibrant colours, which last longer than the actual T shirt does & this is how i’ve sold it on to my customers.
    I’m not happy with this decision as it seems like a downgrade to me & feel that you should at least send me one of my own designs in DD print as a sample for me to check, test, wash & view the colour changes especially from my neon colours. 🙁

  3. Very disturbing news, This change will effectively wipe out many shop partners.
    I am afraid this will be the end of my shop which whole collection is based on neon colours.

    • This is of course very unfortunate and I am sorry to hear this. We’re of course hoping that many of you continue this exciting journey with us even without plot printing.

  4. Very disappointed – I was a big fan of the flock print exactly because it stands out from the surface of the shirt

    I understand why you’re moving to DTG – it’s easier and cheaper for you so your margins will increase, but you’re losing one of the few things that differentiate you from your competitors

    I have had issues with shirts printed digitally by yourselves in the past (e.g. light design on a black shirt) & can get shirts done locally cheaper to a higher quality standard. I’m afraid this just means that I’ll be looking for another supplier in future, which is a shame

    • I agree. I’m seriously thinking about doing my shirts locally in the future. Until now Spreadshirt has been my choice as it has offered flex printing, but digital printing is what I can get from any place.

  5. Is the digital printing new, or is is the same as the digital printing before. the first time I ordered the colors of the digital printing where dull and you could not see the pink letters. Than I changed everything in my shop to flex printing and it was great. I paid for every individually design!

    So please tell me if the printing looks the same or is is compared to the old digital printing you already had. If so, I want to see one shirt first with my one design before I decide to keep the shop. I have an add campaign planned on 10 th of December with a lof of T-shirts…………..

    • It’s the same digital printing that existed before but we have invested in approx. 40 DD Brother printing machines (GTX3) which are the newest and best machines currently on the market. You also really see a difference between the previous machines (Kornit) and the new machines. You might want to give the DD printing another try 🙂

  6. Actually, I somewhat agree with the two previous commenters. What I liked about spreadshirt was the quality and colors of the printed apparel. May start looking for an alternative company to get my prints in the future. DTG is ok, but lacks the longterm quality.

  7. Not very happy about it either. Flex / flock print is one of the main reasons I like/noticed/use Spreadshirt. To remove this option is silly. “Updating” usually entails a improvement, not an end to options previously easily available.

    Pity. And I’m sorry – but I don’t understand at all.

  8. . Im totally disappointed by this. Once again Spreadshirt only looking for its own interest, not counting with its partners, and making radical changes unilaterally.

    Flex print is your technical differentiator. What do you have to offer now versus Amazon Merch. Literally nothing.

    Really bad decision, spreadshirt. I don’t think you’ll be around much longer if keep doing these things

    • I totally agree and will add: the future is not digital. The future is what we like it to be. Digital is just means. It’s the experience that matters.

  9. Will we still be able to upload vectors allowing us to create several different color combinations from a single design (and allow our customers to use the designer to select their own print colors)?

  10. We are deeply disappointed. Like a large number of “shop owners” also commenting here, we loved and relied on the sharp, defining flex quality. The gold was golden. The fine lines beautiful. It was strong, eye-catching. We now have to quickly pull out half of our designs, if not all, once the flex variety is not an option. The difference is so noticeable and our customers deserve the best result.
    We so strongly wish the decision is not final.
    Flex is exactly what we stayed for. It’s exactly what Spreadshirt has meant to us.

  11. EXTREMELY disappointed!! there are some things that you just cannot do with DD! even fashion brands use flex and flock, often in addition to silk screening or DD. i LOVED the metallic flex! i have a butterfly design that my mother LOVES! i get a gray LS tee and the butterflies “fly” over the front going diagonally from one side to the other. i use the silver metallic flex and it is just lovely! she has had several of these shirts over the years. i also love combining the metallic bronze and metallic silver flex. i also have a zazzle shop and i can’t do this type of thing with zazzle.

    i wish you would reconsider! switching out flex and flock will make you just like every other POD company out there. why not continue to offer both? charge a little more, but keep the option? it would be different if no one were using flex. i don’t know how many times i’ve seen tees and sweats in stores with flex and flock–metallic, glitter, etc.–either exclusively or with another method of printing and, because of SP, i knew what they were doing. i knew why these products looked different from the others. why throw away SP’s uniqueness?

    yes, i’ve had plot printed designs peel off over time, but not with certain products. my family members have tote bags–often black ones–printed with flex that are probably 8 years old and still look good! the colors are still bright and eye-catching.

    companies like zazzle offer a LOT more products. if SP is hellbent on switching to only DD, then it might make more sense to go with a company that does a lot more.

    very sad news indeed! SP was my first foray into graphic designs for apparel. now i’m not sure if it will make sense to continue. guess i’ll have to see how sales go. i’ve got designs that were specific created for plot printing and they may lose their uniqueness when converted to DD. but i guess that doesn’t matter to SP.

  12. I’ve now got a shirt with this new digital printing technique: a black shirt with a big white logo on it. And the quality is pretty terrible. The black color really shows through the white one. Looks really cheap, but costs just as much as flex printed ones. I’m sorry, but I really doubt that anyone will order these shirts again after they’ve seen the poor quality. And no one will recommend their friends to buy these shirts.

    So please, leave the flex and plot printing options. Otherwise I have no other option than close my Spreadshirt shop and produce my shirts on some other selling place.

  13. Just received my first DD printed shirts & i’m very unhappy with the colours & print quality.
    The colours are not bright & vibrant as Flexi print that i’ve always had. You can see colour bleed on the outline and a white outline around all green print. These will fade after washing as well whereas Flexi print didn’t & remained bright & clear after many years of wearing & washing. Such a shame as Spreadshirt were perfect with flex print. Now i will have to find another store provider. 🙁

    • Hi Antonio,

      Not sure where you see the relation between our production becoming faster due to moving to digital printing only and money grabbing. I would have appreciated some constructive criticism in order to reply correctly. Sorry to see you go.


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