Quite frequently, the screen printing industry receives prints from graphic designers that are great designs for web logos, but face issues when it comes to printing. Today, I’d like to talk about some of the designs that are difficult to print and why in some instances, it is necessary for re-submission of new artwork.
One of the most common errors that we see are submissions of images with DPI that are lower than the required level. Typically, 72 dpi is adequate for the web, but unusable when it comes to screen printing. The way that screen printing works is that a stencil is placed into a mesh screen, then the ink is pushed through the screen with a tool called a squeegee. The designs are printed onto a film and no gradient is allowed in the stencil. However, if in any case the image resolution is too low, the screen ends up coming out poorly. For best results, a 300 DPI is recommended for screen printing.
Another suggestion is to only use the Pantone Matching System (PMS) as a color reference because it ensures colors that are absolutely universal. Many with web design background tend to use RGB colors when submitting their request for screen printing. Although that may be a satisfactory guideline, these colors aren’t universal because every monitor varies in color display and likewise with color schemes within different formats. Using RGB colors may lead to the risk of having colors printed that aren’t the shade you were looking for so using the PMS is the best fool-proof way in getting the colors right.
Image files recommended for web design and screen printing are also different so be aware of what programs you are using to create your images for screen printing. The web is based on raster images, which are dependent upon individual pixels. Screen printing, on the other hand, is based on shapes that can be enlarged indefinitely without jeopardizing the quality. Vector is optimal for creating screens and maintaining the quality of your images so please check the programs that you are using to create your images. Programs like Adobe Photoshop use raster graphics (pixels) while Adobe Illustrator uses vector graphics (shapes based on math).
Unlike in web design, the amount of variety of color in screen printing equates to its cost so be mindful of how many colors you want to use and how much you are willing to spend. In web design, the amount of colors used is irrelevant to the cost because it’s merely an image on a display. However, in screen printing, every color requires its own screen so even if you screen printed a very small design with a multitude of colors, it’ll be more costly because every screen is another expenditure, as well as, stocking the pigments or other Ready-For-Use ink bases.
There are several ways to price web designing such as hourly wage, one-time payment for overall project, and commission. However, for screen printing, it’s much more simplified and it’s based on volume printed per time and complexity of the print. For instance, 100 tees printed with one color on the front will be much cheaper than having 25 tees printed with three colors front and back because as previously mentioned, each color requires its own screen. Thus, the effort required to set up and take down each screen for the different colors is much more time consuming than a one color job.