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Just What Does T-Shirt Printing Entail?

There are three particular methods usually employed to accomplish screen printing that produces printed garments for promotions, merchandise and fashion. ‘Spot Color’ printing is the method most often used for a large variety of graphics. It is also the best suited method for such a task. Spot color printing is used for those graphics that do not have photographic properties.

The colours of the inks to be used in the reproduction of the graphic images are usually Pantone specified colours chosen by a graphic designer. Pantone coated or noncoated color types are selected to clarify the ink hues of the pattern. Used in publishing, printing and design, the Pantone matching system, is internationally used to identify colors with a unique name and number.

This method of spot colour printing is particularly suited to the printing of branded promotional garments or merchandise where colour identity and uniformity must remain constant throughout a diverse range of products.

4 Color Process is an additional technique for t-shirt printing. Printing in this style is primarily used for images and illustrations that use a wide range of colours, shades and tones. The images found in many books and magazines and printed by the 4 colour process.

The transparent inks blend with one another on a plain white backdrop to recreate each of the colours and shades present in the original. It is a lot harder to process on fabric than it is on paper. However the method employed is essentially the same.

This method of tshirt printing is only useful for white garments, and will not work well on coloured fabrics.

The print set up costs are higher than that of simple spot colour designs and as such only suitable for larger print runs of 100+. When t-shirt printers reproduce such full colour images onto coloured fabrics a method called ‘Simulated Process’ is used. Much like spot colour printing, the art is divided into tones and colours to preserve the essential qualities of the original.

This is a standard method used by all printers and most popular for example with the reproduction of heavy metal and fantasy imagery taken from CD cover artwork and reproduced onto black t-shirts for band merchandise. This type of printing is the most expensive. For that reason, it is used entirely on large print runs. This is because it costs more to set up the colour separations, and it takes a greater number of colours to print the pictures.

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