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Frequently asked questions about screen printing


What is screen printing?
What is spot-color?
What is 4-color process?
What is simulated process?
What is index color?
What are half tones?
What is line count, screen frequency, and lpi?
What is screen count or mesh count?
What is an underbase?
What is flashing or flash drying/curing?
How many colors can you print?

 
Q: What is spot-color?
A:

Spot-Color is the term used to describe separation and printing with one ink color for every color in the design. Each color that makes up the composite image will be printed using a separate screen.

Example:

"Spot" Color Design - 2 solid colors
  Original Black Yellow
Design Colors
Separations  

A slightly more advanced type of spot-color uses halftones to create the appearance of a gradient using small dots of the solid ink colors.

Example:

"Spot" Color Design - 1 solid color + gradient
  Original Black Red
Design Colors
Separations  

This technique can be taken a step farther to combine two gradient screens and produce the appearance of more colors then are actually being printed. The small dots being printed so close together trick the eye into seeing the color they make when mixed.

Example:

"Spot" Color Design - 1 solid color + 2 gradients
  Original Black Red Yellow
Design Colors
Separations  

 

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Q: What is 4-color process?
A:

4-color process is a more advanced separation and printing technique that uses 4 colors of transparent ink to produce the colors from the original design. The four colors, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK ( CMYK ), are printed as halftones that interact with each other and the white background of the shirt to create color and tonal values. A wide spectrum of colors can be represented but some colors are impossible to produce.

4-color process is used mostly for photographic or digitally created designs because many shades and colors can be created with only four screens. High screen counts and screen frequencies are required to create the tiny halftone dots.

One drawback to 4-color process is that the garment must be white.

4-color Process
  Original Cyan Magenta Yellow Black
Design Colors
Separations  
As Each Color is Printed  

Close-up of halftones

 

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