Is screen printing good for color gradient changes?

No, unfortunately screen printing is not a good candidate for printing design with color gradient changes. For clarification, a color gradient is the term used when one color gradually changes into another color or even multiple other colors. This fading from one color to another can cross thousands of other shades and colors. Since screen printing is best done with singular, solid spot colors, accurately printing color gradients can be very difficult or even impossible in some cases.

When using screen printing for color gradient changes, the finished print rarely looks as good as the design that may have been done on paper or on the computer screen. This often leads to dissatisfaction on the part of the customer as well as frustration on the part of the printer. For this reason here at You Design It we do not recommend trying to print designs with color gradients in them. On the fairly rare occasions when we are willing to attempt printing such an order we make sure that the customer understands the limitations and knows what to expect.

A much better choice than doing a design with color gradients is to do a different design that uses solid spot colors instead. When that isn’t possible we recommend converting the design with color gradients into solid spot colors as a better alternative. For example if the design features an image that fades from blue on one side into bluish green, then greenish blue, and finally green on the opposite side of the image, what we could do instead is convert the entire design into only a single, distinct shade of blue, and a single distinct shade of green. Thus there would be no transition between the two colors but the results would be much more reliable and consistent. Alternatively we could add a third distinct ink color that is a bluish green in between the two colors; however, it is important to remember that with screen printing the more ink colors used the higher the cost per shirt. Thus the two color option is less expensive than the three color option. Doing something like making everything a single shade of blue, or a single shade of green, and leaving out the other color entirely would be the most economical route to take.

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