Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Screen Printing: Correct File Type?

One question I often receive is, "What type of file is suitable for screen printing"? The answer is, " A vector file, or a file with an ai, cdr or eps extension". What if that type isn't available? A high resolution bit map will work but a low quality image will need to be vectorized.

What is "vectorized? Vectorization is the process of converting a bitmap into sizable line art. Vector art consists of points and lines rather than the bits or "boxes" that form bitmap files. Vector art is clear, crisp art that prints cleanly. Why is a vector or high resolution file needed? High resolution files contain the information needed to produce a clean print. Without that the resulting print will be fuzzy.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Embroidery: Artwork with Gradient Colors?

Does all artwork translate well into embroidery or screen printing? Not necessarily. Variables such as the number of colors, size of detail, desired quantity and purpose factor into the decision of what decoration process will work best.

With the current popularity of Photoshop we receive a number of logos that don't adapt well to embroidery or screen printing. For example, we recently received a logo titled "Eclipse Landscaping". This design uses subtle color gradients to create the look of an eclipse. Although this logo has a cool, unique look it doesn't work well for embroidery or screen printing because of the gradients.

For embroidery, the colors would be simplified to a three to four color logo. This would embroider well but the logo would loose it uniqueness and it wouldn't support the business name quite as strongly. If you want printing then this logo wouldn't work for standard screen printing because the gradients would be printed as solid colors so the effect of the design would be lost. To preserve the look of the logo the design must be printed using either four color process (cost prohibitive for a small run), heat transfers or direct garment printing. Which process is best for you? Heat transfers have been available a while and should be effective if applied correctly. Direct garment printing is most like traditional screen printing without the screen set-up fees and works well on ligh-colored garments. How do you choose your process? Contact your decorator and after they've seen your logo they will explain what process will work best for you.