December '20

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6 4 G R A P H I C S P R O D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M simple piece of clip-art or grab a JPEG off the internet, and they're ready to go. But there's so much more that producers could do to offer more options to their customers, and/ or step up the quality of their de- signs to make their business more desirable. Here's some general in- formation regarding artwork for different decoration processes, especially for newcomers to the industry, to help make sure you have the proper art for your pro- duction method. SCREEN PRINTING When it comes to screen printing, both raster and vector artwork work well. Vector artwork is probably more common because it is the type that most people are familiar with when using clip-art. It's created using a vector program like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW and is made up of various shapes created by paths and points. These shapes can be filled and outlined with spot colors, which are printed out individually as separations to reproduce your garment (Figure 2). Raster artwork, on the other hand, is made up pixels that create a continuous tone image (Figure 3). These types of designs are recre- ated by printing out separations as grayscale halftones and therefore require a printer that accommodates a large-size halftone dot, or require RIP software that interprets the in- formation from the computer and translates it in a way for the printer to produce the ap- propriate halftone screen. In the past, separating raster artwork would be a time-consuming process, tak- ing hours depending on the complexity of the design. Now, there is automated software that knocks down the separation process to a fraction of the time (Figure 4). Due to the amount of work involved on the front end with creating separations, exposing screens and setting them up on press, printing short runs is not a good option for screen printing. Screen print- ing large quantity runs on the other hand, regardless of the type of artwork, is benefi- cial. Once all the pre-press work is done and it's set up on press, whether you've got 24 or 2,400 shirts, it's pretty much smooth sailing. You can knock out many more shirts in a shorter amount of time. Screen printing works well for designs that have large areas of solid color. With the usage of clip-art and simple type, this is common. When the squeegee is pulled, the ink is applied smoothly and evenly, covering the entire area without any band- ing issues as is common with forms of digi- tal printing. VINYL CUTTING Vinyl cutting has become a popular deco- ration method with the growth of the craft market. With the introduction of desktop home cutters like Silhouette and Cricut, it has truly taken off. When it comes to artwork, vector art- work is necessary for creating cut designs. The cutters read the paths and points that make up the design in order to know where to cut. However, simply using any vector file won't work. Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4

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