There are many essential things need to be considered while preparing artwork for screen printing that needs to be assured for the quality of finished products according to your expectations.

When sending designs and artwork for printing, regardless of the printing media, it is necessary to use the appropriate characteristics to minimize delays and eliminate any potential errors in the final product. In this article, we discuss 9 basic considerations for preparing artwork for screen printing during the art preparation and design of images to be printed.

We will also provide some tips to ensure the screen printing process is as efficient and satisfactory as possible. So let’s start!

Provide Vector Images of Artwork

If you want efficient results with minimum errors, always provide vector images of your artwork because vector images are made of mathematical points and lines related to each other to form polygons, which are then filled with colors, tints, or gradients. On the other hand, raster files such as JPEG or PNG files use pixels to create a complete image.

A digital image created using vector graphics has many advantages:

  • Vector graphics is not dependent on resolution, it means you can zoom in as much as you need without images losing their quality which makes it quickly and infinitely scalable.
  • Vector graphic files is relatively small in size as compare to the raster one, even for large images and allows the image to be easily manipulated if necessary.
  • You can save a vector file in different formats right according to you need.

Now let’s see How to Make an SVG File in 7 Simple Steps.

What’s wrong with JPEG or PNG files? The major difference.

A low-PPI JPEG or PNG file is inadequate for large scale screen printing because there aren’t enough pixels in the image, and enlarging it would only make the pixels more prominent and easier to see. On the other hand, a JPEG or PNG file with the right size for large-format printing will likely be too big of a file to be easily sharable.

Additionally, every time a bitmap or raster file is manipulated, pieces of information are lost or changed, leading to rough edges, blurry images, and loss of detail, resulting in low-quality outputs.

Choosing the Right Resolution for Screen printing

When you are creating or converting the article into vector graphics for screen printing, choosing the correct resolution is important and essential, because it guarantees a high-quality result.

What is the difference between DPI and PPI?

DPI stands for “dots per inch”, the rule of thumb for DPI is same, the more DPI results in a crispier and detailed image.

PPI stands for “pixels per inch”, which describes the no of pixels of the original image which is used by the printer to print one inch of paper.

Layering the Image

Flattening a Photoshop image means the program merges all the layers to convert the design into a single-layer image. This is done for the reduction of image size.

However, when submitting artwork for printing, it is preferred to provide the layered files, as the colors of each layer can be adjusted if necessary.

Although, flattening a Photoshop image can pose some disadvantages:

  • Editing parts of a flattened Photoshop image is challenging because it no longer has the layers used to create it.
  • If the image is flattened, only universal color adjustments can be made, limiting accurate color adjustment and potentially hindering the quality of the final output.
  • Additionally, a flattened image may vary slightly from its layered counterpart, especially in tone or transparency.

Define Bleed and Margins

If there is no bleed beyond the final size, any misalignment when cutting, hemming, or sewing panels together to create grand format images will result in sloppy artwork.

Any colors or images of your artwork should extend (or “bleed”) into this buffer area. If your image doesn’t extend to the borders, bleed is still necessary for hemming.
Additionally, enough background beyond the final output size should be added for pole pockets.

Leaving enough bleed will guarantee the results you desire.

Many printing companies offer templates to their clients so the artwork meets the criteria to maximize efficiency. You should always ask if they have a template for the type of product you want to print.

Double Check the Support Files

In addition to the final artwork file, other files are necessary to ensure we provide all the tools to achieve the best results.

Some software, such as Illustrator, requires you to save all files used to create the design to open it properly on another computer. That’s why you should provide files in their original format and include all files and fonts in the artwork. Never assume that files are embedded.

If there are any photos, these should be provided, even if they’re embedded separately.

Conversion of Fonts to Outlines and Paths

If your artwork has any fonts or numbers, they must be converted into outlines or paths for screen printing, because if the file is opened on a computer without access to the original file, it will be replaced, and the final result can be changed due to it.

Conversion of RGB Design to CMYK

This is the most common and bothersome consideration among all of them, as it drastically affects the final result.

RGB and CMYK are two entirely different color systems; RGB colors cannot be reproduced in printing without special inks.

Red Green Blue (RGB)

RGB is an additive color system. Hues are created by combining solid spectral colors, optically mixed when placed close or presented quickly. The human eye perceives these as one color.

It’s the way electronic devices process color. It uses spectral light intensity to create different colors. The more light added, the brighter and crispier the color will be.

Computer screens, TVs, cell phones, tablets, and video games all use the RGB color system to create the colors you see.

An excellent example of how this system works is Newton’s color wheel. When the disc or wheel rotates, all the colors blur together and are perceived as one color, depending on the pattern and the stains set on the disc. When all seven colors are included, and the wheel is rotated, it is perceived as white.

However, these colors cannot be printed accurately as almost all printing systems use CMYK.

Cyan Magenta Yellow Key (CMYK)

CMYK is a subtractive color system and is the most widely used in the screen printing industry.

Colors are created when dyes on an object absorb specific wavelengths of white light and reflect the rest. Any color that we see in “real life” results from this subtractive process; the color we perceive is the reflected color. It is the principle of color printing, where cyan, magenta, and yellow are considered subtractive primary colors.

For dye-sublimation or screen printing, always provide your artwork in CMYK. This way, even if further adjustments are necessary to get the right results, they will be minimal compared to submitting it in RGB.

Saving B&W Images in Greyscale

A grayscale file is the better option if there isn’t any color in the images. Otherwise, they’ll print with some color on them.

Revision of Fonts and Spelling

If your artwork contains any lettering, text and alphabets, do proofread while preparing the file and before sending it to print, and if you’re a beginner take expert review on it.

Some Final Words

If you’re searching for vector conversion services or want to convert your artwork into a vector file for screen printing, DigitEMB offers reliable and high-quality Vector conversion services at the most economical prices for innovative DIY projects and sublimation printing.