Halftones in Screen Printing


Have you ever wondered how we are able to blend colors
or add shadows in screen printed designs? 


That is all due to the magic of halftones!  They are an important part of screen printing and can really help make certain designs pop.  When printing film to burn screens, we are only capable of printing solid areas of black on film, but those areas can become extremely fine in detail. Throughout the process this is where halftones come in.  We use special software to generate a dot pattern that scales using a variation of different sized dots to create the gradients in your art.  


We have a standard when printing the halftones, but they can vary with different dot shapes, angles, & frequencies or LPI (Lines Per Inch).  In certain cases they may need to be adjusted due to desired screen mesh or ink colors that are being printed.


Although halftones are helpful in some designs, they are not always the best option for every design.  When you have a design with a multiple variations of the same color, ie. a design with 3 different yellows, it doesn’t mean that we can achieve all 3 yellows using 1 yellow screen and different halftones.  We still use spot colors as the majority of the print to get the closest match to the original art that was provided.  When we have designs that have a lot of variation in color or several gradients we use a method called simulated process which we have discussed in previous articles. 


As always, if you have any questions on designs or about the article feel free to reach out to us.  We are always happy to help and share our knowledge.

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