15 Essential Artwork Terms to Understand That Are Specific to the Screen Printing Industry



15 Essential Artwork Terms to Understand That Are Specific to the Screen Printing Industry

Artwork in the screen printing industry is also defined as “screen art”. Screen art is created and set up for the screen printing process. In a future post, I will write the process in order to set up your artwork correctly to obtain crisp and clear print onto the specific garment that you are working on. Listed are popular screen printing artwork terms to know.

1. Under Base – Printing on a dark colored garments requires an under base. An under base is a layer of white ink. This layer must be printed before any color that you are going to be using including white. This is done in order to achieve a print that is true to the exact color needed and to ensure excellent opacity and coverage.

2. Coverage/Opacity- The coverage is also known as the amount of ink that is printed onto the garment through the screen.

3. Registration – Marks that are printed onto film to ensure the exact alignment of artwork and screens. This is required for multi color screen print jobs. Center marks are essential.

4. Bleeding- Bleeding occurs when an ink migrates outside of it’s printed area onto surrounding areas causing blurry edges. This happens when two different colors are printed close together.

5. Dot Gain- Dot gain causes areas of halftones to be enlarged, which in return incorrectly reproduces the art. The dot gain also causes the artwork to look a different color often times darker. This occurs from excess accumulation of ink outside stencil perimeters.

6. Dye Migration – 100% polyester dyes tend to turn to gas when they are heated in the dryer causing plastisol ink dye migration problems. Our easy to use ink prevents dye migration on 50/50 sweatshirts, 100% polyester, and sublimated polyester due to the inks blocking capability and low cure temperature.

7. Four Color Process- Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black are used to create a full-color image. Four Color Process Inks

8. Spot Color- Spot color is the color that is generated by ink that is printed using a single run. There are no dots or line screens creating a photo realistic look. An example of spot color run would be a mascot created with clip art having two to three colors on a white t-shirt.

9. Stroke- Stroke is also known as the outline of an image. Increasing the outline thickness of an image is used to make the screen easier to line up on the press.

10. Halftone Printing- Halftone printing uses various sizes and spaces through dots to create a photo realistic print. Proximity and density are terms used to represent spaces and sizes. Halftone printing reproduces an image creating a binary image with only one color of ink. Tiny halftone dots are blended into smooth tones through the human eye.

11. Exposure Unit- Equipment that shines light onto the coated screen, which cures or does not cure the emulsion. Not curing the emulsion is also called “exposing” or “burning” your screen.

12. RIP (Raster Image Processing)- Software designed to increase the output onto your digitally produced film positive.

13. Knocked Out- Portions of artwork are omitted in a design that prevents other colors from over printing.

14. Scorching- This happens when white cotton t-shirts turn yellow from over heating. With low temperature ink scorching will no longer be an issue. All you have to do is lower the temperature of your dryer. 

15. Simulated Process Printing- This process uses multiple opaque colors to create a photo realistic image. Spot colors and halftones create tone images that look continuous.

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