graphics — FAMILY INDUSTRIES — Print and Merch Shop Blog

28 Nov.,2022


350gsm FR Fluorescent Yellow Fabric

With screen printing, you can create different finishes such as crackle or glow in the dark, but there are also different techniques that can be done to create a specific look for your print. These different techniques are used when you have a specific look in mind or you’re looking for a specific or unique aesthetic.

Spot Color Screen Printing

Spot Color Screen Printing is the most common t-shirt printing method. It uses the stock color of the ink by printing it through the stencil of the screen. It produces a vibrant solid spot of color and creates a thicker layer of ink depending on the ink and mesh count used.

Being it is one of the most beneficial in printing darker garments. It is useful for printing 1 – 4 colors; when you have more spot colors, other printing methods such as the simulated process may be a good option.

Because spot colors layer an infinite amount of colors, they can provide a much more vibrant and detailed print. In addition to the variety of options, spot colors provide much better consistency from print to print. When printing a solid color with process inks, there may be slight variations in the color balance that can affect the color’s consistency. While spot colors may cost a bit more, they can add a lot to your project making the extra cost well worth it in the end. Check “How To Screen Print: Spot Color”.

Halftone Printing

Halftone prints are single or multiple colors in which gradients are printed. These tones can range from solid spots to halftones of the same color. This screen printing method is excellent when you want to achieve the look of multi-color printing without actually doing it. This screen printing method emphasizes the use of shading with tiny dots, pictures can be printed using halftone screen printing and only use one single color to do so.

For example, if you want to get a pink radiant color on your white t-shirt, you can print red on a white shirt and include a 50% gradient. The 50% gradient will mix with the white to give it a pink appearance, all using only one screen and one color. It improves the graphics quality and produces a softer feeling print when printed directly onto the garment. Check “How To Get Started Screen Printing with Halftones”.

Grayscale Printing

Greyscale printing is a great way to print full-color images as one-color grayscales or halftones. Full-color photographs can be printed as a one-color halftone. Full-color drawings containing a complete range of different colors may also be produced employing a one-color halftone.

Typically it’s done in black ink on a light garment, but technically speaking, it can be done in any color ink as desired. The resolution will depend on the lines per inch used in the dot pattern.

The more dots a halftone has, the more detailed the print will look. It is a great cost-effective screen printing technique to print black and white photographs on garments. Watch “Convert a full color image to grayscale for screen printing using halftones”.


Halftone printing is different than grayscale printing for several reasons. The first is the fact that halftone printing involves using one color to create various shades and portray the desired image as a result. Grayscale printing, on the other hand, is the specific use of gray shades from black and white.

Duotone Printing

Duotone printing, also known as multitone printing, is the combination of two halftones for the same image printed with two colors. First, a black halftone is printed on white tees, and then a second halftone will be printed with color ink.

The color halftone combines with the black halftone to produce a duotone color hue. It gives a retro and cooling effect to the prints on light-color garments and gives a full-color print appearance but at a much less expensive rate. It also produces a softer feel print when printed onto the garment.

This process requires that the press be set up with special inks, usually PANTONE-designated colors, instead of the standard CMYK inks used for process color printing. Check out “Creating and Separating Duotone Images”.

CMYK Printing

CMYK is the oldest, color reproduction, print method. Using cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink, screen printers can print designs on white or light-colored garments. For users skilled in CMYK file preparation, Photoshop, and screen creation, this is still a viable print process for light-colored garments.

CMYK printing is the most complex of all screen printing techniques and should be done on an automatic press. It can be done manually, but for optimum results, you need an automatic t-shirt press.

The printing process combines the above four colors to recreate the original image’s full tonal and color range. Moreover, it is an expensive process. Additionally, CMYK is implemented less because simulated printing is more dominant. Watch “How To Screen Print T-Shirts in CMYK”.

Simulated Process Printing

A simulated printing process is a method used to reproduce almost any image on the market. It does so by overlapping and blending colors in a method similar to CMYK through using halftones and spot colors and/or PMS colors. Essentially, it's a way of taking an image that historically would have been printed via CMYK but instead uses more opaque ink to create a more stable color and production-friendly ink that can print almost any design for any garment.

Moreover, it is most often the process used to print complex images on black-colored garments. Designs that are too difficult to separate in a vector program, raster images, photographs, complex tonal illustrations, are all doable with Simulated Process. Watch “How to Screen Print: Simulated Process”.

Learn more about the different screen printing methods “CMYK vs. Spot Color vs. Simulated Process Printing”.

Author: Irene Floridia - Content Creator