Rejection reasons after printability check

Our Designs Service team checks every vector design which you upload to Spreadshirt to see whether it can be printed. In the end this should ensure a perfect print on your shirt. The basic requirements for a vector graphic can be found in this FAQ article .

Below we explain all reasons for rejection for vector designs.

Click on the headlines to learn more about that topic.

  • Size

Why was my design rejected?

Your design contains elements which do not meet our minimum size requirements for a printable vector graphic.

What happens if my design does not meet the minimum requirements?

Your design is first plotted (cut out by a machine) from the printing foil. Then a Spreadshirt employee removes the extra material by hand. This process is called “weeding”. If certain parts of the design have a very thin line width, they can tear during the weeding process thus ruining the design. If spaces between elements or the elements themselves (e.g. tiny dots) are too small, they can be missed during the weeding process or are extremely difficult to remove from the foil.

How do I rework my design to ensure that it meets the minimum size requirements?

Please make sure that:

  • all elements are at least 0.06 inches (1.5 mm) wide
  • all spaces in between elements are at least 0.04 inches (1 mm) wide
  • the design is not larger than 15 x 15 inches (30 x 30 cm). We recommend a size of 11 x 11 inches (22.5 x 22.5 cm), which fits on most of our products.
  • Curves not closed / Design cut

Why was my design rejected?

One or more curves in your vector design are not closed. Open curves cause mistakes during printing.

What happens when my design has open curves?

A special plotting machine prepares your design by cutting the printing foil along the curves represented in your vector graphic. When the plotter reaches an open end of a curve, it tries to close it. The plotter searches for any anchor point nearby and cuts a straight line to this point. This will lead to mistakes on the printed design.

How do I rework my design so that it meets this requirement?

Check all of the curves in your design and close them by using the “Combine” or “Weld” functions in your graphics software; also remove any overlapping parts of the design.

In order to correctly print your design, all curves

  • must be completely closed and
  • cannot overlap.
  • Too many anchor points

Why was my design rejected?

Your design has too many anchor points. It will take too long to plot (cut out) your design. Too many anchor points can additionally lead to crooked lines in your design.

What happens if my design has too many anchor points?

Your design is first cut from the printing foil using a plotter. The plotter runs along the curves from anchor point to anchor point with a blade.

Once a plotter reaches an anchor point, it changes its direction. This change of direction takes a short amount of time to execute. These short intervals add up for designs with a large number of anchor points and the plotting process takes too long to complete.

Using a large number of anchor points is not necessary to illustrate your design. A straight line will only require a beginning and an end point. Extra anchor points on this line may cause the design to look uneven and jagged.

How do I rework my design so that it meets this requirement?

Use as few anchor points as possible: maximum of 2,000 anchor points per color (maximum of 6,000 for a three-colored design).

  • Pixel graphics

Why was my design rejected?

Pixel graphic
Pixel graphic

The design submitted was a pixel graphic. In order to print a design as a plot print (flex or flock) we require a vector graphic.

Why do you require a vector graphic for plot printing?

A vector graphic design is composed of basic geometric elements. The plotter machine uses these forms to cut your design out of the printing foil by following the outlines represented by the curves in the design.

The plotter cannot process pixel graphics.

How do I create a printable vector graphic?

Vector graphic
Vector graphic

In order for a design to be vectorized, it must be able to be split into geometric forms. A graphics software program can be used to create such a vector graphic.

Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw are two well-known, professional vector graphics programs. A free graphics program which can be used is Inkscape.

Note: Please save your vector graphic in the file format .eps to ensure the best possible compatibility.

  • Negative space

Why was my design rejected?

Your design contains too much negative space. It is therefore very time-consuming to complete a product with your design.

What is negative space?


Your design is first plotted (cut out) from the printing foil. Then a Spreadshirt employee manually removes the unprinted scrap from the foil. This process is called "weeding". The unprinted scrap in and around your design is the so-called negative space.

Every single piece of negative space must be removed by hand during the weeding process. This process is simplified if the negative space area is connected, as it can be removed “in one piece”. It becomes very difficult and time-consuming if there are very many small, isolated and superfluous pieces which have to be removed.

How do I rework my design so that it meets this requirement?

Reduce the amount of isolated negative space in your design:

  • remove as many unnecessary negative space areas from your designs as possible
  • combine any negative space areas which are near each other so they can be removed in one piece
  • Design not completely converted into curves

Why was my design rejected?

Your design was not completely converted into curves. Parts of your design which were not vectorized cannot be printed.

Does your design contain text which wasn’t vectorized? Parts of the design which contain text are sometimes forgotten.

How do I rework my design so that it meets this requirement?

Make sure that all elements in the design have been converted into curves. Remove all elements which are not intended to be printed.

  • Too many colors/ colors not defined

Why was my design rejected?

The design which you uploaded contains too many colors or color gradients. We can only print a maximum of 3 colors per design for the plot printing (flex or flock) process.

Please reduce the amount of colors in your design and create a design without a background color. If you would like to upload a white design, please create it with a 10% light grey coloring to prevent any misunderstandings. You can change the design’s color in the user area once it has been uploaded.

  • Design uploaded twice

Why was my design rejected?

It is not necessary to upload identical graphics in different sizes or colors:

  • Size

    We give all designs the smallest possible scaling factor. You can adjust the design’s size later in your user area for the specific product.

    For example, if your design was approved at a scale of 30%, it can be scaled down from its original size to only 30%. If we have approved your design at the scale of 100%, it cannot be scaled down any further, as it would no longer meet other vector graphic requirements (e.g. line width).

  • Color

    You can change your design’s color(s) in your user area once it has been uploaded. This means that it is not necessary to upload the same design in multiple colors.

  • File error

Why was my design rejected?

The file which was uploaded most likely has an error or was saved in an unknown file format.

Please use the format .eps. to ensure the best possible compatibility.

  • Ethical concerns

Why was my design rejected?

Your design does not meet our ethical standards.

We do not print designs with:

  • pornographic
  • violence gratifying
  • discriminating or
  • offensive content.

We would like to live up to our reputation as a responsible operator of the Spreadshirt platform. Therefore, we ask you that the future selection of your design's content remains within ethically justifiable boundaries.

If you have any questions or feel that we have falsely interpreted your design, please contact our legal team at legal@spreadshirt.net.

What legal provisions do I need to consider when uploading a design?

  • Possible copyright infringement

copyright protected

Why was my design rejected?

Your design is most likely copyright protected by a third party.

But, I have obtained the right to use this design!

If you have the right to use this design, please send written proof or confirmation from the original designer (or whomever owns the rights) to verify@spreadshirt.com. If you do not have permission yet, you can ask the rights holder for limited use of the design and then send us this written document. Please do not upload this design in your shop before clarifying this issue.

I am not sure if my design is protected. Where can I find this information?

To find out if a design, text or name is protected by copyright, you can use the patent and trade mark office's databanks. There you can find information about the extent of the protection, i.e. in which range of products this design is protected.

I downloaded an image from the Internet. Can I use this image?

No. You are not allowed to use images which you have downloaded from the Internet. The design must be completely original and created by you. If you would like to use a design created by another designer, you must present us with the re-sale license for that design. Please e-mail this document and the design per e-mail to legal@spreadshirt.net.

What happens if I use a copyright protected design?

You alone are responsible for designs in the Marketplace and in Spreadshirt shops. As ignorance does not protect you from penalty, we urge you to use caution. The rightful owners can press charges and you can be fined with a penalty starting at $1,000 (the amount of this fine is unlimited).

  • More than 3 layers

Why was my design rejected?

Your design has more than 3 layers. We are only able to print 3 layers per design: one layer per color.

How do I edit my design so that it meets the requirements?

Edit your design so that it has no more than 3 layers, with one layer per color.

Read more about this topic in our tutorial about designs with multiple colors.