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What is Screen Printing?

Screen Printing is the printing process where a logo, design, or illustration is applied to a product by way of a screen. A printer transfers specialized inks to a shirt and then heats it. This process allows the ink to penetrate the garment and by doing this the artwork will last as long as the garment itself.

Helpful Tips

• Printers charge by color. Each color requires a charge for setup and materials. So to keep cost down limit the amount of colors in your design. Also the more shirts you order the cheaper each shirt will be.

• Consider the location of your artwork before printing. Printers will charge per location. Some options are full front, full back, left or right chest.

• Scale your image to fit the printable area. Maximum image sizes tend to be 15" x 15" for a full back t-shirt.

• Solid colors work best. If using a halftones they should be kept between 15% and 80%. Higher than 80% and dot gain will cause your shading to fill in, below 15% and the dots tend to drop out completely.

• We recommend using a light colored t-shirt. Dark shirts require a white "underbase" first - this adds to the cost a complexity of the job.


Screen printing is not limited to just t-shirts. This process will work on most items that are flat.

This is just a small list of other items that can be printed on:

sweatshirts, aprons, tote bags, lunch bags, mouse pads, jackets, vinyl binders, flags, DVDs, & signs.

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Alternatives to Screen Printing?


T-shirt transfers are a common alternative to the screen printing process. Transfers allows full color printing on the T-shirt of your choice. This process however is not a direct print. It uses a process that "transfers" a photo onto the garment using a commercial heat press. Unlike screen printing the ink is not inbedded into the garment. In most instances there are no minimum orders.


Embroidery uses thread instead of ink to apply your graphic. This process can be more expensive but if done right it can give you a very nice look. Price is based on the stitch count rather than numbers of ink colors. You need to think size when considering embroidery - the larger the stitch count the higher the price.

If embroidery is your choice make sure to pick a garment that is thick enough to support the stitching - sweatshirts, polos, caps or denim work well.

Screen printing on the other hand is more adequately suited for lighter weight products.


Freiburger Freelance has trained embroidery and silkscreen artists that know how to correctly create artwork for your specific job. If done right you will save money and your garment will turn out great!

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Screen Printing Tips

Bitmap vs. Vector Graphics

How to WinZip Files

Common Graphic File Formats

Types of Color

Symbolism of Colors

Design Elements



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