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What do you need to know before talking with your printer?


How many colors are used.        

Your line sheet should also indicate the number of colors used. You can do with by creating a shape and filling it with that color. This will be a helpful visual indicator later on. If you are using multiple colors and halftones please check to make sure your printer can printer halftones and ask how it would be be prepared for them depending on the printing method used. If you do not know what halftones are, that is a topic for another time.

discharge-printingThe Pantone color codes for all colors used.

Where do you find these you may ask? You or your designer should be using a Pantone swatch book. If you are not, buy one! Most design programs such as Adobe Photoshop come with the Pantone libraries built in. You or your designer can use the color picker tool to sample a color from your design. Once you have done that, double click on the foreground color in your tools pallet. When the menu pops up simply click the color libraries button and use the Pantone Solid Coated library (3-4 digit pantone # followed by a C). This color will be the one you tell your printer to use when printing. If this is confusing to you, you can probably find a more in depth tutorial online or ask your designer.

distressed logo

The type of printing method used.

The standard type of T-shirt printing is screen printing, most often used with plastisol ink or water based ink. Simply put, plastisol has a thicker feel on the shirt and water based soaks into the shirt giving it a very soft hand. There is a brief explanation of different printing methods in the section below.

Are you using specialty inks or applications?

Before, most chosen designs were printed with plastisol inks, some with a chino additive and a few with water based or discharge inks. But now, designers can now use up to 8 colors, specify super glow, puff, high density, suede, UV color change, shimmer, metallic clear, glitter, blister, flock, vinyl, foils, embroider, gradients, simulated process and even belt printing. See the printing method section below for more info.


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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