Is screen printing good for shading in the images?

Designs that feature a shading effect, and the technique of screen printing to produce them, are not really a very good combination. Color gradients can be used in screen printing, but it isn’t optimal because the process involves single colors. Half-tones can be used to imitate shading in images but it isn’t very accurate. The half tone process rarely comes out as good as the design looks on paper or on the computer screen.

That means that generally the best type of design for screen printing will be one that uses solid spot colors without any shading or color gradients. That is because each screen represents a different, distinct ink color. A design that has a shaded appearance is not in a single solid spot color, instead it has a huge amount of variance and may look very light in one place and very dark in another place. Or the color may look green in one place and blend to blue in another place for example. These types of designs are not a good fit for screen printing.

For this same reason photographs, including black and white photographs, are also not good candidates for screen printing. This is logical because of course photographs will naturally have a ton of different color variations in them, as well as lighting effects, all of which make some areas of the photograph appear darker than others.

On the other hand screen printing is ideal for designs which use solid colored designs. Actually many, if not most, company and business logos will use this type of design. Very often, even if a design does have a slight color gradient to it, it will still look fine if it is converted to spot colors instead and will then be printable with screen printing. In fact many designs which initially feature spot colors can easily be converted to solid spot colors instead without compromising the tone and effect of the design. Remember also that for screen printing the number of ink colors printed will impact the price. This is another good reason to try to reduce the number of colors in your design if at all possible.

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