The thumbnail version:

  • The question: How to best do it on a dark shirt.
  • The answer: Don’t.

The full version:

As you may know by now, Images Magazine has an “Ask Tony” feature in which readers pose Tony Palmer technical textile screen printing questions. In the September edition just issued, the question concerns the best way to print a four-colour process photo-quality print on a dark Tee.

After a detailed description of the technicalities of four colour process printing, Palmer then says that while what the questioner is asking about is possible, it is not viable. He concludes: “Don’t attempt to do it unless you are doing it solely for (Instagram) and you already have enough money and don’t need to make any more.” He then proceeds to suggest that specialist separations are the viable alternative. He says that if you use specialist separations you can swap out your transparent four-colour ink set and instead use a number of opaque inks, the number of which would be dictated by the number of heads on the press.

Palmer says that he has seen spectacular prints done this way. His final piece of advice is to use a bureau for the separations for the best results. It will cost more but he suggest that the extra charge can be passed on to the customer.

So, if you’ve been thinking about four-colour process on dark Tees, or just want to knw more about the topic, spend a few minutes reading Tony Palmer’s full column in the September edition of Images.