Visit our newly remodeled website

We’ve moved, remodeled, and added to our main website using our old domain

Everything that is and will be on this site has been integrated into the new site.

Find the Blog here.

What’s New is a quick overview of any announcements, specials, or blurbs worth noting.

We also have a new welcoming home page.

Please visit!

(If you ever get lost as to which site you’re on, the old site has a light gray background and the new site has a black background.)

Posted in Creativity On | Leave a comment

Free digitizing for embroidery ends soon

Embroidered logo

Hurry to save money on embroidery

Not happy with the level of service or quality you’ve been getting from your current embroidery provider? Want embroidered garments but don’t want to pay a set up fee for digitizing your logo? Have a fun project in mind for yourself, your family, or your club, but worried about the expense of embroidered garments?

We have a great deal for you.

We are offering free digitizing for a left chest or hat logo with a minimum purchase of $100 worth of embroidered garments. We’ll pay for your digitizing so your dollars can buy more garments. That translates to a $45 savings!

But hurry. This offer ends at the end of April, 2011.

It’s a perfect opportunity for your business to step into some official new gear or for a club to have embroidery done for a special occasion costume.

It also creates the perfect time to make the switch from an embroidery provider who is not fully meeting your needs. Don’t worry about the cost of digitizing your logo. We’ll do it for you. Then enjoy the work of a company that places top priority on quality, customer service, and meeting deadlines.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Printing for photo quilts and wall hangings

Quilt made from photos

Hand-made quilt fashioned from photos printed on fabric

A service we provide with our direct-to-garment printer is printing photos on fabric. This service is great for people who want to make a photo quilt, wall hanging, or art project.

Here is an example of an heirloom quilt made from childhood school photos that we printed on fabric. There were twelve children in all (this was a very busy mother!) The photos were resized to all be the same, and a few of the photos, which were taken in color, were converted to black and white for overall consistency.

We added printed names of each child and also a title graphic at the top and bottom of the mother’s photo that appeared in the center block of the quilt. The final quilt measured 60″x60″. It was presented as a gift from all the children on the occasion of the mother’s birthday. It will surely become a treasured family heirloom.

Besides printing graphics for quilts, we also turned this cherished memory of a newborn (the new daddy took the photo) into a beautiful wall hanging. Something like this will be appreciated for generations to come.

Graphic for wall hanging

Photo for a wall hanging and a lifetime of memories

Once we have a file ready for printing, it can be used for multiple purposes. For instance, the photo for this wall hanging could also be used to print a t-shirt. Files can often be resized for different purposes, particularly downsizing.


Visit our Downloads page to acquire a submission guide for how to prepare photographs and graphics for printing onto fabric.

Questions? Call Jolene at (503) 365-1955 M-F 9am-5pm Pacific time.

Posted in Creativity On, DTG printing | Leave a comment

Making art (and t-shirts) from your photos

The joy of photography doesn’t have to stop at taking photos. If you like to play in Adobe Photoshop or other image editing software, you’ve probably discovered the joy of filters. You know that by experimenting with different artistic filters you can morph your photos into cool, stylistic works of art.

For this demonstration, I’ll use one photo I took at Minto Park. It’s a nice photo but nothing extraordinary. Using different filters, I came up with different art, some of which really surprised me with their beauty.

Original photo

Original shot from the camera "as is"

infrared filter applied to photo

infrared filter applied to photo and tweaked

Stylizer flter

Dazzlingly unexpected textures erupt in the sky

Other worldly effect

Other worldly effect perfect for a sci-fi graphic

Using filters can help you design the perfect graphic for your project. We use them as a way to enhance and stylize graphics for printing onto t-shirts. The enhanced photos can stand alone or be combined with text and other graphics to create finished t-shirt art. In the example below, I created another version of the photo, added a feather frame effect, and imported our logo as an Adobe Illustrator file.

Creativity On shirt grap[hc

A shirt-ready graphic with our logo and framing

We can print your designs on t-shirts starting at $20. Enjoy making your own great fashions for yourself and as gifts for others. If you want to start a t-shirt business, you could print prototypes of your original or commissioned designs to see how they sell. Wholesale pricing begins at just 12 pieces. Please download our submission guide from the Downloads page for more information on art preparation.


Posted in Creativity On, Custom T-shirts, DTG printing | Leave a comment

Personalize your world with our custom embroidery

Embroidered lighthouse

Custom personalized embroidery

Most of the time our embroidery work is doing logo items for corporations, government agencies, small businesses, nonprofits, and teams. Every now and then we get the opportunity to create embroidered projects for individuals looking for something special and uniquely personal.

We recently had a client who wanted a set of towels embroidered using four different lighthouse designs. Each design required over 35,000 stitches. The process also required skilled thread color selection as the intended effect was a gradient color blend. If you don’t choose your colors wisely, the overall impact can be dull and flat or clashy and loud. Jolene has become an expert in the art form of color blending with thread.

If you’re looking to dress up your home, wear garments with unique embroidered designs, or find special gifts for your special clients, give Jolene a call and find out what she can do for you. Contact Jolene at (503) 365-1955 9am-5pm Pacific.

Embroidered lighthouse

Creativity On is happy to provide personal embroidery services

Posted in Creativity On, Embroidery, Gradient blends | Leave a comment

The heart of our business

Embroidered personal jacket logo

Personal logo for a former teacher

The best part of our business is watching clients’ faces when they see their completed orders for the first time. That’s when the wow factor first hits them. Their idea has become a material reality.

We think of this as our emotional income. It’s when we enjoy the satisfaction that we made the world better for someone. We never tire of it.

One of our favorites is the surprise birthday party. This has often been accentuated by a purchase of original t-shirt designs which have a person’s photo or special message emblazoned on it. Sometimes the shirts are a gift. Sometimes they are atmosphere. In one memorable instance, a whole office got decorative birthday shirts that they wore as uniforms to surprise a co-worker. We were delighted to help make that possible.

Special embroidered hat for a special guy

Special embroidered hat for a special guy

Another one of our favorites was making a special embroidered hat as a surprise gift for a scientist who was retiring. He had discovered a certain species of dragonfly. We obtained a photo of the fly and had an embroidery file made from it. Jolene was then able to create a beautiful souvenir cap. We heard that his face lit up and that he was very moved that people cared about him and his accomplishments enough to create this original cap for him.

Whether you’re thinking embroidery or garment printing, we can help bright your creative ideas to fruition. Perhaps you want to give your small business an identity boost with new uniforms, promotional giveaways like hats or t-shirts, or nice thank-you gifts for your best clients. Maybe you’ve got a big family reunion, company picnic, or trade show event coming up and you’d like to add something special. Maybe you are an artist looking for a way to expand your creative vision through printing your works on shirts or canvas products.

We would love to help. For more information, please contact Jolene at (503) 365-1955 between 9am-5pm Pacific time.

Posted in Client stories, Creativity On | Leave a comment

Designing for direct-to-garment printing

Direct to garment printing

A graphic with color blends is a Creativity On specialty

If you’re designing t-shirt ideas to be output using a direct-to-garment printer, this article is for you. Of course not all DTG printers are the same. At Creativity On we use the Brother GT-541 printer, which prints on whites and light colors, and the information presented here is specific to that.

Document size

Begin by setting up your document size in Adobe Illustrator (or other program you’re using) to 14 inches wide by 16 inches tall. In Adobe Photoshop it would be the canvas size. This size corresponds to the standard print platen on the GT-541. Use these document setup dimensions even if you are designing something small like a 4″x2″ pocket logo.

Color space

Use the RGB color space. This may sound counter-intuitive for printing, but our printer driver performs the conversion to CMYK and is optimized for garment printing. If you use vector clip art in your designs, make sure to convert the colors from the CMYK color space, which many files come in, to the RGB color space. Art left as CMYK tends to print murky. See example here.


Set your resolution for 300 dots per inch. Some programs have presets “for print” which are usually set for 300. When printing on shirts, there is no value to be gained from a higher resolution than 300 dpi.

Main color characteristic

The most important thing to understand about direct-to-garment printing on the GT-541 is that ink color does not opaque. It blends with the fabric color. If you print on a blue shirt you will get much different results than if you print on a yellow shirt. This is the main difference between screen printing, which uses opaque ink, and DTG, which uses an inkjet-style technology. Inkjet technology gives DTG printing the power to print gradient color blends, unlimited color (use as many colors as you want), photographs, and other digital effects not possible with opaque ink.

Color matching

Some clients require exact color matching, usually when they are working with corporate logo requirements that specify color formulas like a special shade of blue. Screen printers are accustomed to using color matching methods which is fine because the ink opaques over the fabric without any blending. With DTG that does not print white inks, the moment you print onto a color you effectively change that color formula because the ink merges with the fabric color. If you or your client can’t live with color shifting, you’d have to use screen printing or a DTG printer capable of printing white ink. It’s usually a more expensive process.

Fabric color

Part of the fun of designing DTG projects for colored shirts is experimenting with color. If you print on a white shirt, you’ll pretty much get what you expect. If you want to print on a bright color, plan for color shifts. The best way to predict how colors will behave is to print your graphic using an inkjet printer on paper that is close to the color of the fabric you wish to print your file on. Another way to approximate the effect is to use blending modes in Illustrator or Photoshop. In Illustrator under File>Document Setup, you could also check the Simulate Colored Paper box under Transparency and use the color picker to create a color to match the fabric color you’re aiming for.

Color charts

When designing for printing on colored fabric, it is handy to have an RGB-formula color chart printed on the color of shirt you want to use (a sample of an actual shirt is best.) This lets you see what colors stay strong and what colors mute based on your background. You can then opt to re-color your art to get the optimum look for your design. See example here.

Photos and DTG

It is important to import the right stuff–or to change it to make it right. For printing on shirts, photos should be 300 dots per inch and in the RGB color space. (Here is more information on photo submission.)

Printing on darks

Some new DTG printers are capable of printing on dark fabrics because they print white ink. This is a more expensive process. We would be happy to discuss this option with you.

Find Out More

If you have not purchased from us before, please start here to read about what to expect when you place an order for garment printing. We also have lots of blog articles about DTG printing (use the topics list in the right column to find them.)

Posted in Creativity On, DTG Design, DTG printing | Leave a comment