3 Pro Tips for Preparing Artwork for Screen Printing
At Mindzai, we love bringing art to life in many different forms. Whether it be with stickers, clothing, or coffee cups, we want to help your art have a life of its own. To do this however, there are just a few steps you need to follow in order to avoid unnecessary delays or pre-printing adjustments, especially with screen printing services.
1. Plan Out Your Color Scheme
If you’ve already thought out this aspect- great! If not, that’s ok- it’s a small detail that’s easily overlooked. Planning out your color palette in advance- it’s most helpful if you create mock-up designs to test colors- will drastically help any issues when it comes to printing time.
Choosing a color scheme is not as important when you have a piece of artwork that is already designed. Though, it is helpful to think about what color shirt you would like the design printed on. If your graphic is the same color as the shirt, this can be used to accentuate the design by utilizing the negative space in the middle of your print. Note that matching colors around the outside edge of your design will not be visible.
To guarantee maximum visibility, be sure to have contrast between the fabric and ink colors.
If anything above makes you feel out of your depth, be sure to check out tools such as Adobe Color that can help your design be the best it can be.
2. Use Adobe Illustrator
If you have access to the Adobe Suite, then you should be using Illustrator to create your designs (if you’re not already).
Always be sure to save your designs in vector format! Unlike other formats (JPEG, GIF, or BMP), vector images can be resized without sacrificing quality. This technique helps especially if you’re planning to print the same design across different materials such as business cards, postcards, t-shirts, and banners/billboards. If you save your design in this format, it will print clearly across all sizes.
When using other products, like Photoshop, you’re creating a raster-based application. This means you are pretty much stuck with the original dimensions. This can greatly affect the quality of the printing process and final product.
A pro tip: Always create your design at a larger scale and higher resolution than you need. You can scale art down without any issues, but not vice versa. It’s kind of like adding salt to your dish when cooking: You can always add more salt to the finished meal, but you can’t take it away if you add too much while you’re actually cooking.
If your artwork is hand-drawn and needs to be digitized, make sure that you have scanned your design at the correct resolution! Generally, if the drawing is actual size, then scanning at 300 dpi will produce the best end result. If your design has been drawn on a 50% scale, then scan your artwork at double the resolution which, in this example, would be 600 dpi.
3. Save One Copy for Yourself and Another for Print
Sometimes an issue comes up during printing that requires the artwork to be edited further. It’s important that when you submit the design to us that you save one copy that can be edited for yourself should any adjustments arise during the printing process.
Generally, these are the guidelines you need to follow to produce a viable print file:
If Using Illustrator:
- Outline all fonts in black.
- Embed raster links.
- Save files as AI, EPS, or PDFs.
If Using Photoshop:
- Rasterize text layers.
- Merge any printable layers.
- Save files as PSD, TIF, PNG, or PDF.
Note that, no matter which program you use, you should create separate layer on your artwork which represents your garment color (without flattening it!).
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!