The KISS approach – Keep It Simple!

Welcome To Cora’s Corner, where every month I am going to help you with your artwork issues. This month I’m going to talk about screen printing artwork tips.

Keep the Screen Printing Artwork Simple!

While this tip certainly doesn’t apply in all cases, in general it is best to keep artwork as simple as possible. This is because complex designs require additional printing steps and materials that result in higher costs and longer print times. When attempting to print items inexpensively, it is best to create a design that incorporates just one or two colors. This is because additional colors require the creation of additional screens. Additionally, each color lengthens the printing process.

Use High-Quality Artwork Images

For those who prefer to use completely custom graphics, it is important to consider image quality. This is because a transfer from computer image file to screen print may result in pixilation or blurring if files are of low quality. As such, when designing graphics for screen printing, it is recommended you create the artwork at actual size. This will allow you to see any pixilation prior to sending the file to the printer. Additionally, you might consider using vector images as opposed to rasterized images (vector tends to print smoother and can be resized without loss of much details). As mentioned in previous blogs, low resolution raster images cannot be fixed by simply re-saving at a higher resolution. Those images have to be recreated.

Use appropriate fonts and lines for Screen Printing

Fonts and line widths tend to be a source of angst. Although most fonts are printable at 12 points or more, there are some fonts which just are not suitable for printing. These fonts tend to have very fine lines and/or pre-made distress marks. These look good on paper or computer screen but simply won’t translate to good printable art. Line width or outlines should never be thinner than 2 points.

Some tips and final thoughts

Web graphics/clip art are NOT screen printable art. They can be used to provide concept to a screen printer but due to low resolution and general size, they can not be scaled to useable format. Web designers keep their graphics intentionally small and low res so that the website loads quicker. Their graphics simply are not meant for screen print. The graphic would have to be re-created in a screen printable format.

Word processing programs such as MS Word are NOT graphic programs. They utilize similar type of graphics as websites. Also, since they are not graphics programs, the screen printer can not separate the colors for printing. These programs can convey the concept nicely but again the graphic would have to be re-created in a screen printable format.

I would also like to hear from you about your most pressing issues about artwork. Your question may be used in a future issue of this newsletter.
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