How do I create a design for t-shirt screen printing that will not result in an art charge form my printer?
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When creating Digital artwork for the silk screen print process as used in textile and clothing printing requires a few rules to get it production ready. Here are some tips and techniques that can help keep you from getting art charges from your local Silk screen printing t-shirt shop.
Screen printing almost allays uses spot color! What is spot color? does that means solid areas of ink? The answer to question two is NO. Spot color means that instead of CMYK or (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and black), Or RGB (red, green & blue) of digital displays like tv's and computer monitors..... each area of color will produce a single film positive... cmyk produces four films with dot pattern percentages of color on each.
A Process design like jpeg, Even if the artist only used two colors will produce four films unless done in spot color. And rgb designs will not produce films. these are only for monitors and displays like web pages. Spot color is easiest and best in a vector based drawing program like Adobe® Illustrator, Corel Draw or other post script drawing programs.. the are Open Source free programs like Inkscape and others. These vector based art files are the preferred format for silk screening for several reasons....
- They produce resolution free computer graphics files. this means they can be enlarged to any size.
- The produce post script clean Butt to Butt registration. unlike bit-map pixel art the color separations ( film positives) contour each-other exactly.
- Gradients, tints, tones, halftones & color percentages have perfect crisp, clean and exacting edges.
- Typography is crystal clear at any size.
- These files are very small. an entire full color billboard can be less then one meg in size. making for easy distribution , file transfers and just creating.
- Specific Pantone color matching swatches can be built in for exacting color.
Some basic information & rules about building spot color ( Vector) art files for t-shirt silk screen printing.......
Always convert type to curves or outlines otherwise you may have to send the actual computer font file to the printing company and many font files can be corrupt or copyright protected from sharing.
Stay away from percentages of color less then 10% these may not image in the screen. And due to Dot gain on press any percentage of color over 70% will just fill in to 100%
Stay away from transparency... Use percentages instead.. transparencies do not always rip over correct and are mostly for monitor displays.
Be Leary of cool filters that may convert spot swatches to cmyk.. Make sure the color blends and gradients are built with spot swatches.
Remember to make any white in the design a spot swatch... Unlike most forms of reproduction, t-shirt printing does not print the color of the tee shirt.
Remember to make all color percentage lighter then you want on the actual garment.. due to on press dot gain during the actual printing process.
Saving bit-map or raster based files to a vector format like .eps does not convert them to vector... Vector has to be created.
Things that can be done with spot color vector graphics......
Tertiary colors! these colors are created on the t-shirt and do not result in a set-up or screen charge... they are FREE COLORS!"
- Anything and everything!
- Tertiary colors! these colors are created on the t-shirt and do not result in a set-up or screen charge... they are FREE COLORS!
- Duo-tones, tri-tones
- Solid graphics
- Color tints, color tones, color percentages
- Crisp line work.
- Weathered and distressed effects. antiquing.
- Much more....
Things that can be done with spot color raster graphics......
- Spot color photos
- Simulated process
- Indexing or dither dot patters
- Custom halftone shapes
- Airbrush effects
- Photographic effects
- Special textures
- the list goes on....
It is important to remember, that solid graphics and type should never be done in bitmap or raster, You can import raster files into your vector drawing file and merge them with solid graphics, type and other graphics effects that are not photographic halftones.
More to come later.. Hope this helps you in creating some Killer Custom apparel designs with minimal cast associated with the silk screen printing process of reproduction.