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Standardization Secrets for Screen Printing

(June 2013) posted on Wed Jul 03, 2013

Stand back and see what you can do to organize your shop processes.


By Thomas Trimingham

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Additional dot styles can always be tested as well, and these can be a great way to boost creativity and give a unique look to printed values. Some popular styles of alternative halftones include lines, mezzotints, wavy lines, and etch-tone looks using filters or generated halftone overlays in Photoshop (Figure 5).
The different value tests can then be compared to the original halftone test to see which styles hold the best clarity and tonal differentiation between the different value ranges. A group of standards can be created from that comparison for using halftones depending upon the style and complexity of artwork that’s requested.

Standardizing inks and colors
A great way to save money and increase production efficiency is to push for a standard ink list that all orders should shift to unless the job requires a special-order ink. The easiest way to implement this is to suggest the nearest stock ink during the sales process. That way, the client is encouraged to use an ink that is readily available with the payback being less downtime and ink waste than with special mixes.

Having to mix inks is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be a standard practice for most orders. The time saved by standardizing and suggesting a stock ink can be a huge benefit to everyone involved in the production because the savings is in multiple areas.

The biggest area of savings is, of course, in labor, but there is also a savings in ink components, containers, and tin waste from leftover inks that are rarely, if ever used again. Even if a printer does not want to implement a custom-mix charge for matching a PMS or specific color, there is a big benefit in pushing a standard inkset to all sales in an attempt to lower the percent of inks that need to be mixed on an average sale.

A good starting set of inks for a screen printer could be around 25 separate inks. This simple set would include some variations of primaries, secondaries, and flesh, wood, and gray-tone inks. Depending upon an experienced printer’s client base, there will likely be additional inks that will need to be added to the list.


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