Preparing Artwork for Screen Printing
The Basics / File Formats
You should always provide artwork at the size you want it printed. If you are unsure, provide a mock-up with approximate size and we can help you choose a size.
Below is a list of file formats we accept, they generally fall into 2 types:
This includes: Illustrator (.ai) or vector-based .pdf/.eps./.cdr
Vector files can be scaled and modified easily, without losing print quality. If someone else provides your artwork, it is always worth checking if this is available. Please note, taking raster art (see below) and placing it inside a vector file format does not make it a vector.
Raster Files / Image Files
This includes: .psd, .jpeg (.jpg), .tiff (.tif), .png, .gif, .bmp.
Whichever of these formats you provide, the artwork should be at least print size and 300 dpi. If they are not provided this way, we cannot guarantee the print quality will match your original image.
Artwork file types that aren’t appropriate: Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Publisher file types. Supplying these is likely to increase your turnaround time and will often require you to re-supply the artwork in an alternative format.
Why is resolution important in Raster Files?
If you are providing raster artwork files (such as .psd or common image files), they should be at least 300 dpi and the size you want them printed. This should be done at the beginning of the creation process, not scaled later on.
The reason for this is that any scaling of the final image will have a damaging effect on the artwork, causing it to pixelate. Each time it is scaled, the pixelation will get worse. This means images intended for web use are not likely to be suitable. Please always send the original file where possible.
If you are using non-standard fonts within your artwork, please make sure they are prepared in your artwork appropriately. Text should be converted to Outlines in vector artwork, or rasterized (converted to pixels) within software such as Photoshop. Flat image files (.jpg, .png, .tiff, etc) won’t have this problem.
We do not charge for separating artwork for print, nor do we advise you trying to separate it for us in preparation. This tends to add complications. Saving the artwork as a complete piece (layers are fine and sometimes useful) at the size you require it printed. Supplying a mock-up for us to use as a visual guide can be helpful too.
Laying Out Sponsors Logos / Altering Art
We prefer art to be ready in advance, however if you require us to arrange logos for you or alter art (such as removing unwanted colors), we can do this for a fee of $30/hour, starting at $25. Please make sure all supplied logos are of a reasonable quality – please get in touch if you are unsure.
Inks and Pantones
We do not charge for custom ink colors, however we do ask that you specify Pantones from a Solid Coated Pantone Guide book. It’s important to only choose Pantones from a physical copy of the book, in order to get an accurate match.
The books do vary in price online, and tend come paired with an Uncoated book (which isn’t needed). If you shop around, you can often find the Solid Coated book sold individually on Ebay for around $80.
If getting hold of a book isn’t an option, below are some sample colors we frequently use (Remember these are computer screen representations and only approximate).
Maximum Print Area
Our maximum printable areas for screen printing are:
- Water-based Screen Printing: 15.5″ (width) x 23″+ (height)
- Plastisol Screen Printing: 14″ (width) x 18.5″+ (height)
- Foil Printing: 14″ (width) x 18.5″+ (height)
However, many garments cannot facilitate print areas at full size. This is an important factor to consider when ordering large prints and you have smaller garments in your order, as it’ll be limited by the smallest item.
Below are some general guidelines for printable areas:
If you want to completely fill the front of both small and larger garments in the same order, you’ll need to pay for additional screens. For more information on screen setups, visit our screen printing page.
It’s always a good idea to provide a mock-up of your desired print positions when supplying your artwork, along with desired dimensions. This will ensure it is correct first time, as artwork revisions can delay your order and may incur a fee.