While most designers are familiar with submitting artwork for digital printers and offset litho printing which excels at printing 4-colour halftone, many designers remain unfamiliar with the process of screen-printing. Yes, you can print 4-colour halftone by screenprint, but the results are not nearly as refined as with offset or digital technology. After all the ink has to be squeezed through a mesh which dictates the fineness and detail of the print. Screenprint is able to use the 4-colour process and the results can be quite effective due to the richness of colour. However, where screenprint is really unmatched is in dealing with flat colours. Each colour is mixed separately and printed rather than concocted through a series of dots (halftones) and the results are exceptionally vibrant.

In artwork where colours do not touch each other, the artwork is simple and if there is sufficient space between colours you can even submit the artwork as one piece of unseparated film. However, where the colours touch each other, and this is especially true of artwork where text is laid on another colour, artwork should be submitted with reasonable grip (also known as trap). Programs such as Quark XPress are able to add grip (trap) automatically before output to colour seperated film. Grip is very important to the screenprint process as it helps eradicate the ugly spectre of space between mis-keyed colours caused by screen stretch and squeegee pressure. Before you add trap to any particular colour you will have to decide which colours need to be trapped and in which sequence.

If in doubt, telephone 01483 570397 for further information. Remember, grip (trap) is only applicable to flat colours.

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Advances in mesh-weave technology and printing inks mean that screenprinters can now print finer halftone than in the past. Typical dot screens used are 50dpi for a large poster and 70 to 85dpi for smaller scale work. Vignettes (graduated halftones) often cause difficulty as the finer dots disappear while heavier dots clump together - the vignettes should not be too fine or too heavy and should fall between the range of 10% to 90%. Recent development in pre-press technology has meant that hexachromes are increasingly available as an improved alternative to four colour process. Although more expensive, the printing of orange and green halftones in addition to the traditional cyan, yellow, magenta & black (CYMK), adds richness and subtlety to the final image.

If in doubt, telephone 01483 570397 for further information.

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Digital (electronic) artwork suits us well as we can then take a look at the computer file to see whether there is any adjustments to be made or whether there is enough grip (trap) etc. Programs we regularly process include Quark XPress, Illustrator and Photoshop. We also accept PDFs though only for single colour work and black on white. Although we prefer to work in Mac format, we are able to process PC media as well.

As we often need to plan up artwork before printing, we would prefer native files that we are able to impose rather than PDFs, especially for smaller sizes. The prefered formats are:
1. EPS — Encapsulated Postscript Files as generated by Illustrator and Freehand: Remember to save all type as outline (this will avoid any font clashes later on). Save all Illustrator EPS files as Illustrator 9 (legacy )or ealier to suit our image-setting system.
The beauty of EPS is that a properly saved file with outline fonts and no halftone embedded (linked) art files, can be sized to almost any size without losing quality.
2. Native files — We are able to handle most formats but remember to collect all linked files such as embedded image files and check with us to see whether we have the fonts used. Remember that TIFF file formats for images are the best for half-tone (photographic type) images while EPS is the best format for line art and flat colour separations.

As Screen print is best suited for flat colours, we prefer EPS where colours are clearly defined as spot with grip or trap predefined. Invariably, we find we have to add trap to artwork submitted. Some files types and forms that often have problems:
1. JPEGS — These files are more suited to the Internet than print and are often sourced through consumer-based input devices such as digital cameras. They tend to save in RGB colour format, once again suited more to computer screens than professional output. These files often come with halftone which compromises solid colours especially around the edges of lines... for example where black text meets white background. Halftoned images need to scanned at a reasonable resolution to output properly.
2. RGB — These colour files are best suited for the computer screen. Resave them as CMYK before sending.

If in doubt, telephone 01483 570397 for further information.

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Artwork can be submitted in either of two ways: 1. digital (electronic) media, or by 2. hard copy - camera-ready artwork or film. Few now use hard copy but prefer electronic media. We request you send hard copy along with your digital files. We prefer digital files as it gives us the ability to make necessary changes like adding grip and to plan artwork, before processing it to print.

We are happy to accept artwork in any form but if you intend to supply camera-ready artwork or film, please fax us the image first so that the job can be discussed and any complications ironed out in the initial stages. While camera-ready artwork (bromide etc.) can be manipulated for an extra charge, film is more difficult to alter once it has been output.

1. Digital (Electronic) media
We can handle most Mac and PC formats but we prefer to receive artwork on CD or 100Mb Zip cartridge. Any artwork of 5Mb or less can be emailed to us (see below).

2. Film, Bromide or other printouts
Film should be set in either of 2 ways: emulsion up or emulsion down; both positive. Film should normally be output emulsion up unless the final print is to be in reverse for example with a car window sticker or to be viewed through clear material such as acrylic.


Remember, when you send artwork to enclose all the components needed to output the artwork - eg scanned files, font information etc plus a hard copy proof.

For further information, telephone 01483 570397 or fax us on 01483 302393 or email us: (please note, we have avoided publishing a link here to avoid spam)

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Although, we don't foresee many problems, it is always wise to check and double check artwork before sending. Some common problems include scanned images. Sometimes we are asked to produce large format prints from small scanned images - in which case all tiny imperfections will also be magnified. We are happy to try and manipulate artwork for you but it is not part of our conventional service and it will cost extra.

Telephone 01483 570397 for further information.

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