How to Design for CafePress

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CafePress lets you design your own clothing and products.
CafePress lets you design your own clothing and products. (Image: Stockbroker/Valueline/Getty Images)

CafePress is a website that lets you design your own T-shirts and products for both personal use and selling online. Anyone can open an online shop on CafePress and stock it with customized items such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, coffee mugs, magnets and stickers. CafePress offers both free and paying account formats; paying accounts have more features and allow the customization of more products. You can upload any image or design that is not copyrighted to CafePress to customize your own products.

Things You'll Need

  • CafePress account
  • Images or designs
  • Photo editing software

Choose a product color. Once you have opened your store and chosen products you would like to customize, choose your colors before preparing your images, text or designs. It is important to keep in mind that any white negative space on the image will be the color of the product in the final result. For example, black text on a white background printed on a green shirt will result in black text on the green fabric.

Select an image format. Several image formats are compatible with CafePress online shops, including JPG, PNG, PSD, BTM, TIFF and EPS. Each format has its pros and cons; JPGs are smaller image files with shorter upload times but a loss of quality can occur during image compression, whereas PSD files support millions of colors but have an extremely large size that results in long uploads. Choose an image format that is appropriate for your project and save your image accordingly.

Resize and optimize your images or text. Depending on the size of the image on your product, your image can probably be resized to a smaller file. It is important to have a resolution of at least 300 DPI in order to have clear, high quality images but resolutions higher than that can be reduced. Most photo editing programs also feature an “Optimize” function under the “File” menu, which will reduce the size of your image while preserving the optimum quality.

Use the provided product templates. CafePress provides product templates for items like clothes, drinkwear and keepsake boxes. You can download templates from CafePress.com and customize them with your own image editing software. Using templates will keep your images within the CafePress guidelines.

Upload your design. Once you have prepared your images or designs and applied them to any templates you are using, you can upload your images to CafePress.com. Once images are uploaded, you can choose how they appear on your products and make adjustments to size and placement. Cafe Press has many clothing products that can have designs on the front and back.

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