Custom Printing Info - Silkscreen vs. Full Color


Do I only need 2 colors? Does your graphic include a photo? Is it more than 3 colors? Do I need to match an exact color? 


Spot color graphics are produced by printing one color at a time. This process is primarily used in the screen printing process. The inks used in spot color printing are opaque and are referenced by the Pantone Matching System (PMS) for color accuracy. The image is built by printing one color at a time on to your product and each color requires a screen. 

The only restriction in spot color printing is by the printing process itself and the product in which it is being applied to. Since each color is printed individually, there may be a shift in image location from one color to the next. This is referred to as registration and varies depending on the process and products being printed. For instance, printing 3 spot colors on flat items such as a sign or t-shirt has much better registration between the colors than printing 3 spot colors on a cylinder shaped item such as a sports bottle or coffee mug where there will be more shift between the colors and is more difficult to maintain good registration.


Four-color process is just as it is named. A process of printing 4 inks to achieve a full color or photographic image as illustrated above. These colors are layered over one another which produces the entire range of colors that make up the final image. There are different printing processes which use 4-color process to reproduce images. The most common are digital printing and offset printing. Four-color process images can be reproduced from raster or vector graphics. Raster graphics are generally required to be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) to reproduce clearly with 4-color process printing.

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