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Signage and Marketing Ideas Centre

Marketing Ideas Centre / 7. Color Kitchen & Tips /
Screenprinted Colors
Author Message
# - Edited by: QSSafety

Screenprinting, engraving and adhesive vinyl signage are mediums where we use spot colors (solid Pantone colors)

Screenprinting it is an entirely different process to digital printing, and works well if you require large quantities of the same graphic.

This method allows great vibrancy of solid spot colors and perfect PMS matches.

If you have a large quantity of signage, screenprinting is a cost effective method for you.

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Screen Printing Basics - Spot Colors

Spot Colors are specific colors used by your business in all your signage, printing, web and other business communications. Example, A QuickSmart Signs uses Pantone Orange and Pantone Black as our corporate color scheme.

Typically, a Spot Color is one that is not mixed, that is... it comes out of a can exactly mixed. Then poured onto the screen bed and used.

Mixed or CMYK are colors that would combine different cans of ink, mixed in the color kitchen, then poured onto the screen bed.

New Digital Spot Colors, are mixed through software.

Please note that when choosing a spot color, select a unique 'but' relevant color that can be used by your company in web applications, general printing, outdoor signage, uniforms and vehicle signs and so on.

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Screen Printing Basics

The basics of screenprinting for signage are images created from computerized and color separated dots that are washed away from an emulsion which leave blank dots on a very fine silk screen that ink can be squeezed or pushed through onto the signage material.

Modern screens are aluminum frames with a polyester fabric stretched across them. Traditionally, screenprinting used a fine silk fabric stretched across a timber frame. In the past, making these screens were an apprenticeship, now used as polyester with automated stretching equipment to achieve accurate tensions, fabric orientation and levels.

The coarse density of the screen is important in evaluating the life and/or the number of impressions suited to the sign project. This screen density relates to the amount of ink applied onto the sign material. Particular inks (such as metallic) require careful selection at setup stage.

Australia Signs and Banners have produced over 5300 different sign projects so can advise you correctly.

Screens can be made up-to 3000mm long and are suited to high production big size flags, banners and panels.

Note: High Volume Quantities. Modern offset and lithographic printing presses can replace some signage projects, however, for any outdoor use and for signage that will be placed in sunlight, weather or water conditions, screenprinting remains superior. Moderate to small runs we perform with outdoor grade ink digital printing presses.

Applying Ink

Screenprinting is a stage process. First you must apply an individual color, then overlay (reprint) other colors. Each color requires a specific 'bleed' when using spot colors, or a specific 'dot density' when printing to achieve a photographic image. This is known as CMYK or '4 color printing.

Each ink color will need a color separation so that the ink can squeezed through the silk screen onto the stock.

The Art Department systems create these separations, adjust the angles of lines and sizes and placement of dots to ensure accurate artwork presentation. For clients, if you do not have commercial experience, just let the team know of your aims and send any file. If you want to setup, the team can assist with advice. We make it easy for graphic designers, novice or professionals to take advantage of our sign making history.

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# - Edited by: sign maker

Trade Term: CMYK
When printing a photographic image or rendering a shade, blend or other soft image tone, this split ink quality is a known trade term CMYK or 4 color printing.
Spot colors or Solid colors can also be applied (screen printed) in many different variations to give fantastic signage results.
Consider metallic inks, bright pigmented inks and long term inks for a special use.
The image (right) is created using 4 color separations.
Cyan: A light blue
Magenta: A deep pink
Yellow: A golden bright yellow
Black: Black
This simple sign diagram explains briefly the 4 overlaying films used to create a full color image.


Trade Term: Screen Resolution (mesh density)
Print Resolution: Screen Printing resolution is related to the coarse density of the screen fabric. This equates to printing only and does not relate to any other term of resolution. Effectively, screen printing is best suited to 45 dots per inch. This means every square inch has approximately 45 hexagon shaped dots that correspond to the coarse density for the chosen screen fabric. Remembering that screenprinting is the method of squeezing ink through a mesh, higher resolution invites less ink applied. To ensure long life in exterior and sunlight conditions, signage should be produced at 45 dpi (lpi).


Screen frequency

The number of printer dots or halftone cells per inch used to print grayscale images or color separations. Also known as screen ruling or line screen, screen frequency is measured in lines per inch (lpi)--or lines of cells per inch in a halftone screen.

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