Ever wonder how a CMYK process print translates to screen printing? We do it on a limited basis because there’s a lot of prepress work required, and you can only print on light shirts.

Screen printing typically is a spot color process, meaning each color in the design is printed in a separate screen. The ink does not overlap, but uses butt registration. Colors are more accurate using spot printing because each one is determined by its specific Pantone number.

Process printing uses four transparent inks – cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. By overlapping these four colors at different angles and opacity, you are able to create a wide range of colors. Since the inks are transparent, it’s only possible to print on light shirt colors, so it’s a little limiting.

For New Belgium Brewing, we print all of their beer label t-shirts using the CMYK process. Below are pictures of each screen in the print order – yellow, magenta, cyan, and black. You can see when each screen is added, the print changes quite a bit.  Oh, and thank you to Darin for being the head model for the mannequin!






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