Bitmap / Raster Art
Bitmaps are made up of pixels in a grid. Pixels are picture elements; tiny dots of individual color that make up what you see on your screen. All these tiny dots of color come together to form the images you see. Most computer monitors display approximately 70 to 100 pixels per inch--the actual number depends on your monitor and screen settings. As these images are scaled up, the quality decreases. For screen printing purposes, these types of images need to be generated at or as close as possible to final print size and at 300 dpi in order to achieve acceptable print quality. These are usually generated in “paint” software such as Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter.


CMYK (4 color process)
Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. In screen printing, CMYK refers to a specific set of transparent based inks that reproduce the full color spectrum. This is accomplished through a color separated set of halftone dots that when printed together blend to make all the colors in your image.


Discharge Printing
Rather than “applying” ink onto your shirt, the discharge process “bleaches” or removes the pigment of the tee and leaves it with the original raw color of the shirt as well as the softest finish possible....just the shirt. Although very often a waterbased product, Our plastisol version can also be blended with most colors to “re-dye” the garment to the desired color/s still leaving only the feel of the shirt once washed. Discharge technically only works fully on 100% cotton but surprisingly vibrant results can at times be obtained on 50/50 blends. If you want a more subtle / vintage look, they can also be a great choice on triblends.


Dye Migration
dye migration in screen printing usually refer to when the color of the garment “bleeds” through the print color. The dyes used in polyester fabrics are given a chemical bond that’s heat-sealed on. The temperatures used to heat seal the dye onto the polyester fibers range from 230º to 260º Fahrenheit. Most plastisol inks need to hit 320º Fahrenheit for up to 1 minute to fully cure. So when the plastisol is on its journey through the dryer and the heat passes the 260º F threshold, the polyester dyes will often get released from the thread and they will sublimate, which basically means they turn into a gas and migrate up through the ink causing it to change in color. This typically is only a problem with lighter colored inks on darker or “richly” pigmented garment colors. In order to combat this, a “low bleed” or poly specific ink that cures at a lower temperature is needed. However, it is still no guarantee that no bleed or migration will occur, but can severely reduce or minimize the effects.


The use of dots in varying in size and shape, to achieve a gradation of tone or value. Anything that isn't one solid print color must be created using halftones. Halftones are often used to achieve the tonal variances in photos or photo realistic images. It can also be used to achieve multiple tonal values in the same ink color.


Plastisol Ink
Our most common type of ink used. Plastisol ink is a PVC (polyvinyl chloride) based system that essentially contains no solvent at all. Plastisol is a thermoplastic ink in that it is necessary to heat the printed ink film to a temperature high enough to cause the molecules of PVC resin and plasticizer to cross-link and thereby solidify, or cure. The temperature at which most plastisol for textile printing cures at is in the range of 300 °F to 330°F).


Vector Art
Vector images are made up of many individual, scalable objects. These objects are defined by mathematical equations rather than pixels, so they always render at the highest quality. Objects may consist of lines, curves, and shapes with editable attributes such as color, fill, and outline. Acceptable file extensions for vector art are .ai, .eps, and .pdf. These are usually generated in high quality “illustration” software such as Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw.


Waterbase Ink
A more “eco-friendly” printing method because of it’s water soluble properties. Water-based ink utilizes either dyes or pigments in a suspension with water as the solvent. The evaporation of the water is necessary to set or cure the ink. The main advantage to water-based printing is a result that is soft and breathable. One disadvantage is that it can tend to lack vibrancy of color especially over time compared to plastisol.