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How should I prepare my art files for Screen Printing?
How should I prepare my art files for Screen Printing?
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Written by Amplifier
Updated over a week ago

Spot color jobs

  • We recommend using a vector-based program to design your screen print art, as the resulting files are resolution independent and can be resized without pixelating.

  • Adobe Illustrator is the most widely used design program, and preparing your art in the .ai format is recommended.

  • Macromedia Freehand and Flash are alternative programs that can be used, both of which can export files in .ai format.

  • Both .eps or .pdf are also acceptable vector formats, so long as the files are free of compression.

Four-color process jobs

  • We recommend using Adobe Photoshop.

  • Retain your original file in .psd format at 300 DPI or higher resolution, at your intended print size.

Art guidelines

  • Submit .psd or .ai files, 300 dpi or Vector.

  • Be sure to convert all text to outlines.

  • We will print the art as sized in the file unless directed explicitly to do otherwise.

  • Standard Prints are up to 15" x 17".

  • Oversize Prints are up to 20” x 26”.

  • Amplifier will do the color separations.

  • We use Pantone Solid Coated or Uncoated to match colors.

  • Be advised: Pantone matching is most reliable with Plastisol inks because these inks sit on top of the shirt fabric.  We cannot guarantee requested Pantone colors of water-based and discharge inks because of how these inks behave (they dye the fabric of the shirt itself, and these fabrics can differ slightly even within the same style of shirt produced by the same maker).

  • Please also provide detailed placement instructions, e.g. “two inches below collar.” Be advised -- while we will aim for consistency for your entire print run, small variations should be expected. For example, if you ask for art to be printed 2" below the bottom of a collar, a 1” deviation in either direction will be considered acceptable and is not a misprint.

  • We do not recommend printing over seams, over collars, over zippers, or bleeding over the edge of a shirt because it is much more difficult if not impossible, to achieve a flat printing surface in such instances. If we ever agree to do so on your behalf, you agree that any print imperfections, distortions, and/or other small inconsistencies are acceptable goods.

What print dimension should I use for my design?

That depends on the effect you are trying to achieve. When determining print dimension, we recommend starting for reference with a size large shirt, or the median shirt size of your desired production job.

Because we will use the same print dimensions (i.e. screens) for all sizes in your job, the relative proportion of art to shirt will vary based on the size of each garment. Keep the range of garment sizes in mind as you prepare your design. It may be helpful to even reference a favorite shirt in your closet when determining print dimension.

While Amplifier can be a good sounding board for print dimensions, we can't determine them on your behalf. Since our team will be producing film and screens based on the dimensions you specify, any modification requested during the press check will require new film and screens to be made, and production to be rescheduled.

What is the maximum print size for a Screen Print job?

Amplifier's Standard print size is 14" W x 16 " H. Oversize printing is available, at an extra charge, up to 20" W x 28" H. Keep in mind that even the maximum Standard Print dimensions are typically too large to allow printing on unisex size small or women's garments.

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