What is color separation for designs with screen printing?

One phrase which many customers are unfamiliar with, and are even sometimes intimidated by, is "color separation." So just what is color separation? It is actually much simpler and more straightforward than you might think. Color separations of a design for screen printing is the process of preparing artwork for screen printing. Since the solid colors in a design have to be converted to Pantone colors, usually referred to as PMS colors, which let the screen printer know what color ink to use, each color has to be separated out in order to do so.

Every color printed on a t-shirt represents a different screen. Every screen has to have the ink applied to it for the color printed on the t-shirt. Therefore each color in the design must be separated out individually so that it can be then be transferred onto the t-shirt.

This is a very important process since not only is it necessary to chose the PMS colors as accurately as possible to ensure that the design is printed in the right colors, but if part of the design is somehow left out at this stage then it will not appear on the final printed shirt. For this reason it is crucial that the person preparing the artwork check everything carefully. There is nothing more frustrating than having a great design concept that gets messed up on the final product.

Obviously the more ink colors being used in the design, the more colors in the color separation and the more screens which are required to print the shirts. It is for this reason that the number of ink colors plays such a large role in the price for screen printing. By the same token the more locations being printed the more screens required.

Here at You Design It we do color separations at no additional cost. That means that even if you don't understand the process you can rest assured that it will be taken care of during the setup process. However, if you have your own color separated files you are definitely welcome to send those over as well.

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