Printing Guides

How to Choose the Right Screen Printing Process

screen printing quote

When getting custom t-shirts made, you need to think of much more than what you see on the front. When you have decided on the budget, design, and colour, you need to be aware of the screen printing technique that works best for your order. Read on for a rundown of three commonly used screen printing processes, and the types of t-shirt orders that maximize each type’s capabilities.

Spot colour

This is the most used screen printing process today and produces images with thicker layers of ink. Spot colour produces vivid hues and clean edges. It is good for printing company logos because the colour pigments are opaque.

Although this type is a blessing in terms of colour fidelity, it has its disadvantages. For one, it is limited to vector illustrations and does not lend itself well to photography. It also requires manpower and isn’t an automated process. However, it is a cheaper way to make bold, striking graphic t-shirts; printers pay for individual colour plates, and since spot colour printing uses vector illustrations, there are far fewer colours needed.

Simulated process

Also called “sim process,” choose this type when ordering shirts with realistic prints. Because it uses lots of colours, it is better at recreating an image with plenty of details. Sim process can also print on either light or dark shirts, as it uses custom colours and more ink than spot colour printing. 

As a consequence, though, it can cost a little more than spot colour shirts. However, if you have a bulk order, that difference is negligible. Overall, the sim process is better for printing photographs or intricate designs. It is more advisable to use when printing on coloured shirts, and on full (or near full) cotton shirts, which are smoother than blended kinds.

Half- or dual-tone

This process is best for achieving a vintage look. The technique uses one or two colours to produce a gradient of hues, which looks best on designs that are made to appear washed or aged. Half- or dual-tone printing works best on dark-coloured, blended kinds of shirts because the roughness of the threads contributes to the weathered look. Because it uses only two colours at most, this is also a cost-effective way of achieving a stylized shirt with the same kind of details as you would get in a shirt produced through the sim process.

In Summary

Custom t-shirts allow you to fully direct the production of your merchandise, from the design to the type of shirt used, and even the printing process. Promoting your brand should not be confined to having your logo on your clothes. Because a shirt is basically a blank canvas, you can use the material and the type of printing more strategically. 

When you’re aware of the different screen printing techniques, you can choose a process that is aligned with your brand’s personality. Enlist the company that provides custom t-shirt printing near you. Make sure you partner with people who can work with you on your specifications.

Clever Print specializes in screen printing in Toronto and Ottawa. We take orders for screen printing, embroidery, and vinyl, among others. Contact us today, so we can start designing your company’s custom shirt with you.

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