I've got a poster design that I wish to print. But provided that poster has multiple colors that won't go good for a screen print (further, I would like to restrict screen printing to t-shirts), is there any printing technique that can be used? Please note that, one I'm a DIY guy, and two I don't want the prints on a large scale and hence won't prefer the idea of going for offset printing or some Print-on-Demand printing firm. Please let me know even if there is some inkjet printer or the like that you use that gives out good prints of A3 size at least. Thanks.

  • Do you mind posting the design and size? We may be able to direct you with an excellent solution.
    – user9447
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 15:48
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    I confess that I am a little confused, since vibrant colors are more easily achievable using custom inks, this is something that is easier with screen printing than with offset press. Serigraphs are frequently upwards of 10 individual color passes and AFAIK a screen printing process. Registration is going to be crucial no matter how many colors past 1 you use and the only decision you need make is whether you need to use halftone screen or just threshold stencils. No reason you can't use both of course.
    – horatio
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 16:36
  • @graphicsman I'm sorry but this one's for a client and hence can't be disclosed unless they permit (which according to the SLA is upon print and delivery).
    – ikartik90
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 17:48
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    how is the poster created? Is it actually a digital image file? Are there really 8 inks or is it just RGB (3) or CMYK(4)? Or is it CMYK+individual spot color(s)? These are important considerations, because of color gamut: the range of possible colors is restricted by the inks used to build it.
    – horatio
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 18:04
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    Well just understand that if you are looking into starting this on your own you would need around 5-10k USD for decent equipment. I would wait before you built a clientele and become knowledgeable with the process before just diving into it. By that last comment your company life span would be no more than a year per statistics. Plan smart and learn. There is no reason to just dive in. Contact around an see if you can outsource your work to a reputable company.
    – user9447
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 18:37

3 Answers 3


Obviously you're limited by the equipment you have at your disposal, but have you considered CMYK screen printing? You will need a 4 color press with precise registration, but it is entirely possible to do: CMYK Screen Printing

Consumer level wide format inkjet printers are available if you're looking to buy one, in my experience Epson is generally regarded as the best quality. Unfortunately, they can get rather pricey: Epson Artisan 1430 Inkjet Printer. This printer can print larger than A3, up to 13" x 19".

If that is out of your price range, I would just consider going to a local print shop and asking for a price quote.

  • If you have any further idea, can you please inform me about how the screens are prepared for a CMYK screen printing? Are they prepared the same way as for any ordinary screen printing and the color (specifically the Key color) creates the necessary tone, or are they prepared in some distinctive way?
    – ikartik90
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 15:53
  • @ikartik90, I have never actually done a CMYK screen print, it's on my list of things to try out. Screen preparation as far as I've researched is no different. The tricky part is the color separation, which I believe can be done in Photoshop. You'll need special inks for this type of print as well.
    – JohnB
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 16:16
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    @ikartik90 I would create a new thread since the preparation of plates is a different topic than what you asked. It would help more in the future, too.
    – user9447
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 16:31
  • @graphicsman Please do share the link to the thread here once you're done. Thanks.
    – ikartik90
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 17:32
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John has a great solution with Epson. Personally I run the Workforce 1100, if you watch Staples they go on sale every other year for 149.99. Last time I bought two. I also picked up BlackMax to print a plate for each CMYK. Do exactly what John's video recommends. In all I think I walked out with a couple hundred bucks in equipment.

EDIT: video on setup with BlackMax

  • Have you ever done a CMYK print? @ikartik90 asked for more detail in a comment to my answer, but I hesitate to offer advice on something I've only read about/watched videos on. Any advice based on first hand experience would be multitudes better than what I can offer.
    – JohnB
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 16:18

It's really impossible to answer this question without knowing the specifics of your question. But let's start by talking about 'vibrant' and what that means.

I'm going to assume you mean it's a bright, highly saturated color.

Your main options:

  1. Traditional 4-color printing. This is your CMYK process. There's a limit to the range of colors CMYK can make and perhaps isn't going to be as 'vibrant' as you want.

  2. CMYK+more. There are several techniques for printing CMYK inks, plus typically a few additional colors to increase the range of reproducible colors. "Hexachrome" is a popular model which uses a total of 6 colors. Some higher-end ink jet printers also use a 6-color system (Epson makes several).

  3. Spot colors. A 'spot' color is basically any custom mixed color. This is where the truly vibrant colors can come from as you can create colors that fall way outside of CMYK, including metallic ink, fluorescent colors, etc.

So that's the ink-options.

On top of that is actual printing options. You typically will have 3 options: offset printing, screen printing, and digital printing.

Offset printing is the cheapest option for large quantities (per unit cost is lowest).

Screen printing is also cheaper per unit the more you make, but is a viable option for short run posters and t-shirts and the like.

Digital printing (basically commercial ink jet printers) is the more expensive per-unit, but allows you to do very short runs.

So, hopefully some part of that answer will help you. Again, though, without knowing exactly what you mean by 'vibrant' colors, it's really impossible for us to give you specific advice.

  • Hi, I've explained to @horatio in the question comments of what I mean by vibrant (though it was my bad of not using some better descriptive adjectives). Please go through the same and see if you can help me further with the solution. Thanks.
    – ikartik90
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 6:40
  • It sounds like you want to print in CMYK. So, any of the above are options. You can screen print in CMYK, you can pay an offset printer to do it, or just go find a color ink jet printer (all of which can do CMYK).
    – DA01
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 6:46

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