Screen Printing - October/November 2012 - (Page 16)
E XPE R T A P PA R E L EXPERT APPAREL
THE BEST HALFTONE FOR DIFFERENT STYLES OF ARTWORK
In this installment, Trimingham presents an overview of halftone styles and discusses how to match them to the designs you print.
Thomas Trimingham has worked in the screen printing industry for more than 15 years as an artist, art director, industry consultant, and head of R&D for some of the nation’s largest screen printers. He is an awardwinning illustrator, designer, and author of more than 45 articles on graphics for screen printing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
creen printers like to stick with techniques that work well consistently. This is a clear reflection of the printing process itself, because you don’t want to change the way a shirt is being printed halfway through the production run. It might start to look different, or even worse, it might become unacceptable to the client. So it stands to reason that a printer will always look for the best method that produces the highest quality reproduction in the shortest period of time. The more experienced printers that have been around awhile have occasionally tried different methods and styles of printing with a wide variety of results. Often these experiences quickly can create a mindset of what does and doesn’t work in separations and printing and sometimes this in turn creates a real hesitation to attempting new techniques. This “don’t fix what isn’t broken” mentality often will flow backwards from production into the art department. There may be very little time for changes in processes or testing new methods in a busy art department, and even less time to attempt things that may not end up being used at all. When considering these challenges, it is easy to see why so many screen printers stick with only one style of halftone. It is common to hear something like, “We use a 42-dpi elliptical dot at 22° on everything” in a lot of art departments. The downside to having such a fixed process for halftone printing is that a lot of diverse art styles can benefit from using a variety of halftone types that work best when used with the right type of artwork. A halftone
that works incredibly on a pencil drawing may not be ideal for a watercolor print, etc. The first step in advancing the detail and quality of screen printing is always addressing the ability of production to recreate the cleanest possible halftone dots on the press with the least amount of unnecessary dot gain. To try to forge ahead into art-related areas without defining production abilities first is clearly putting the cart before the horse. No matter how good the films are coming out of the art department, they will never look great with 35% dot gain and a lot of tonal compression (this is the tendency of the 0-30% and 70-100% to all appear similar). Moving up in printing quality requires clear, honest, selfassessment and willingness to address and standardize procedures in production prior to developing new art and separation formulas. Once the printing variables are in place and halftones can be reproduced consistently on press, the hard part of moving a company to a higher level of printing is already done. Now that the production department can produce well defined screens that print good quality halftones with minimal dot gain, it is time to address the art department and see if some new styles of halftones would benefit and improve both separations and final prints. First, it is a good idea to review the different styles of halftones so that each type of dot can be clearly identified. Then the halftone styles can be looked at for how each type is
FIGURE 1 Round vs. elliptical dots
FIGURE 2 Traditional halftones allow the printer to use garment color effectively.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - October/November 2012
Screen Printing - October/November 2012
Where Are You Coming From?
The Best Halftone for Different Styles of Artwork
Adding Dye Sublimation to Your Business
Best Practices in the Challenging World of 3D P-O-P
The Future of Screen Printing
Pressure-Sensitive Adhesives for Decals and Labels
Screen Printing - October/November 2012