Simulated Process Screen Printing and Color Separation Methods:
Simulated Process Color (full color):
As a much needed replacement for traditional 4 color process on custom T-shirts, simulated process breaks down color using the Pantone Coated color palette rather than with the traditional transparent CMYK colors. Why do we do this? T-shirts are often ordered in other colors than just plain white. Medium to dark colored T-shirts are incompatible with transparent 4 color process inks, at least by our high standards. Strategically made white halftone underbases are over printed with highly opaque Pantone colors allow us to achieve full color prints that are dynamic and rich. Simply put, our prints pop.
Simulated process color is generally reserved for photo-realistic artwork including full color photographs, or artwork containing complex gradients, shadows or other photo realistic effects. Because of the high level of work involved with this process, we maintain a strict minimum order of 72 t-shirts for Simulated Process.
Full color artwork is generally supplied in PSD format (Adobe Photoshop). Though can also be supplied as TIF, or if necessary in a high resolution JPG. 200-300 dpi resolution, actually sized artwork is ideal. RGB color mode is preffered.
Simulated Process Design: Although this artwork appears to be black and white, it's depth and clarity were produced by using 2 shades of grey, 3 different layers of white and 1 layer of black.
Process Color Background information (CYMK)
Often referred to in the printing world as "4-color process", this style of printing can render nearly limitless color by blending and combining key primary colors (CMYK) which then can produce countless secondary and tertiary colors. A highly effective printing method when done on a pure white background (think paper). Obviously colored shirts and even plain white T-shirts are not a pure white medium like high quality paper. Many T-shirt printers insist on using 4 color process, even on dark shirts, but we highly discourage this if you are even remotely picky about quality.
Please note: by today's T-shirt screen printing standards, 4 color process is antiquated for acheiving the best results. The transparency of the plastisol inks used in 4-color process can be obscured by impurities in the fabric. Process inks are also not as durable as other inks due to their weak pigment load and transparent base, and most importantly, the color rendition of these inks leaves something to be desired. For these reasons, we employ the most modern method called Simulated Process Color.
The most common method for printing custom T-shirts is called "Spot Color". Areas of color are put down on shirts per the design specifications as individual areas of color. Normally this printing is for more simplistic designs with broad and well defined areas of color. Vector graphics are most common for spot color. Pantone color matching is employed to best match your concept of color. The most common type of art file associated with spot color printing is EPS or encapsulated post script. EPS, AI, and CDR are common vector file formats and most often are created by programs such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw.