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I'm confused about something...

I've noticed that t-shirt printers vary their rates according to the number of colors in your design, from one color up to 5, 6, 7 or more.

Now from what I understand, with 4-color printing you combine cyan, yellow, magenta, and black components to create full-spectrum prints such as color photos. If that's the case, then what would be the advantage of using more than 4 colors if you can get any color you need from CYMK?
 

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I'm not a screen printer nor have much experience in it but from what I understand they quote on number of colours because each colour in your design is screened seperatly.

For example a layer of white goes on first, then yellow, then blue, then black in a four colour design. I don't think they quote on how many colours it takes to make up another colour.
 

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Since it's actually inked on and not digitally printed, it is difficult to blend colors. I think it is indeed possible to in screen printing, but it's definately not the norm so I can only imagine that it takes extra effort and/or skill to do. If you want to do many color shirts your best bet would be heat transfer.
 

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You're referring to the difference between spot color and process color - two different screen printing processes. Spot color prints usually contain between 1 and 10 colors (depending on the capability of your printer) and is perfect for both light and dark shirts. Process color printing combines colors to produce a more photo like print - but it requires light color shirts. Dark shirts would require simulation process printing - yet another printing style.

If this sounds confusing (and I'm sure it does!), it is always best to call your local printer and discuss your artwork with him. The house artist will be able to work with your artwork to give you the results you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
pawmedia said:
You're referring to the difference between spot color and process color - two different screen printing processes. Spot color prints usually contain between 1 and 10 colors (depending on the capability of your printer) and is perfect for both light and dark shirts. Process color printing combines colors to produce a more photo like print - but it requires light color shirts. Dark shirts would require simulation process printing - yet another printing style.
Now it's clear to me. Thanks!
 

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ThWeems said:
I'm confused about something...

I've noticed that t-shirt printers vary their rates according to the number of colors in your design, from one color up to 5, 6, 7 or more.

Now from what I understand, with 4-color printing you combine cyan, yellow, magenta, and black components to create full-spectrum prints such as color photos. If that's the case, then what would be the advantage of using more than 4 colors if you can get any color you need from CYMK?
The color gamut of CMYK is somewhat limited. For example, you can't get a hot pink using CMYK. Bright blues are also hard to achieve. And process printing is very challenging to get right. It takes both a good prepress person (to make sure the colors are separated properly), and a good printer (to make sure the ink goes down properly), otherwise it can come out really muddy and dull. Not all silkscreen shops are good at this so if you're going to do CMYK, be sure to find a company that really knows the process.
 

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This may sound like a dumb question to most of you but I need to be clear about it.

I want to print on a black tshirt. The design that I have is white,grey and black. The black is on top of parts of the grey. So is this two colors or three?
 

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I'd consider this a two-colour t-shirt as you wouldn't print the black at all - just the grey and the white. When you say that the black is on top - do you mean on the topmost layer in your artwork? We've had some designs like that and we've punched the black out.

Don't know if that helps any.

lawaughn said:
This may sound like a dumb question to most of you but I need to be clear about it.

I want to print on a black tshirt. The design that I have is white,grey and black. The black is on top of parts of the grey. So is this two colors or three?
 
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