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Let me just start with saying I am really a beginner printing wise :)

Client wants a logo to be screen printed on apparel. For the time being he will print it on vinyl and later he will do some screen printing. Logo has gold circle and green icon inside the circle.

Currently what I want to do is like pick some Pantone green for an icon, use PMS 871 C for a gold circle, make bleed and margin and send away as PDF.

Questions:

  • Can I just use CMYK instead of Pantone?
  • Can object on object (green on gold in this case) cause some issues when printing, I should be aware of?
  • So printing some CMYK gradient would just turn out terrible?
  • Also in any case I understood that for screen printing I would have to do color separation in Illustrator?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Scott, Westside, Paolo Gibellini, Luciano, Ovaryraptor Jun 4 '18 at 14:40

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    Sorry, what's the question? – Scott May 25 '18 at 22:03
  • Hi Scott, Can I just use CMYK instead of Pantone? Can object on object (green on gold in this case) cause some issues when printing, I should be aware of? – Zare May 26 '18 at 17:17
  • Theres no such thing as a CMYK "Gold". If you actually intend to print something with a metallic appearance (like Pantone 871), it can't be CMYK. – Scott May 26 '18 at 17:48
  • Oh, I understand. So printing some CMYK gradient would just turn out terrible? Also in any case I understood that for screen printing I would have to do color separation in Illustrator? – Zare May 26 '18 at 18:45
  • Hi Zare, Welcome to Graphic Design.SE. A good way to visualize how gold will look using CMYK is to take a photo of the/some gold you like and print it using a CMYK printer. I don't think it's what you're after. You might want to leave the colour separations to the printer's pre-press who also know what the appropriate bleeds would be. – Stan May 26 '18 at 19:16
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It is possible to mix CMYK printing with spot colour printing, although the price will increase, since a screen (or plate) is needed for each CMYK separation, plus each spot colour separation. Personally, in your scenario, I wouldn't mix the two methods. Either stick with CMYK or go down the spot colour route.

It is entirely possible to get something to have the illusion of gold using CMYK only. In the example below (made in Illustrator) I used some gradients, several ellipses and some blurs, to give the illusion of a gold ring. It is also possible to go down the spot colour route with a metallic gold. Obviously, looking at the spot colour version in Illustrator (or whatever software you are using) - you are not going to see the reflective metallic effect on screen.

It might be worth while having your client contact the screen printers for samples of reflective gold finishes - whether it's gold ink, or some other gold effect, to see what they will look like in reality.

Also note that in printing (particularly with CMYK) the colour of material (or substrate) can drastically affect the colour of the inks. In some cases they may need to print a white sub-colour before overprinting it.

enter image description here

  • +1 for the visuals. I would just keep in mind if you go the CMYK route with a gold "effect" and not an actual golden ink that the halftone on screenprint is much much coarser than on a typical print. You may be able to simulate the effect in Photoshop if you ask your vendor the density of halftoning they aim for and then plug the values in a Bitmap (see graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/95150/18168). – Emilie May 27 '18 at 17:02
  • @Emilie - yes that's certainly something to be taken into account. – Billy Kerr May 27 '18 at 21:00
  • Thanks @Emilie Could you share some thoughts for the vinyl printing as well? Much appreciated – Zare May 31 '18 at 16:49
  • @Zare I'm not acquainted enough with vinyl printing to provide a proper answer. – Emilie May 31 '18 at 16:51
  • @Zare probably better to contact the printer/manufacturer for exact requirements. – Billy Kerr May 31 '18 at 18:39
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I'm not sure if you want information on vinyl or screenprinting but here goes for screenprinting.

I don't have a whole lot of screenprinting experience but a fairly good knowledge of the crafting process (industrial less so). The two places I've printed at mix their own colors. So they'll use CMYK inks among other inks to recreate the required hue, not necessarily Pantone (to be honest I don't even know if Pantone makes inks for silkscreening).

So in your file, what I would do is simply use a Pantone that looks like a golden hue and let your vendor know that this is supposed to be gold (rename the color to "gold", isolate on a layer that you also name "gold", and give them a call). The vendor likely doesn't care if you use a Pantone but it will make things smoother if you use a "spot" color as opposed to a "process" color. You may need to meet with them to see if they have different types of metallic finishes (more or less shiny) and agree on which specific gold is to be used with your client.

As for your worries for overlaying objects, ask your vendor if they take care of the separations or if you need to take care of them. There will likely be some overlap between the two objects but usually the object under will be "knocked out" where the overlaying object is so the two should not interact.

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