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Screen Print Ready Art explained in Laymans Terms

On this page we will discuss the most common two computer graphic formats and explain in laymans terms how at 24 Uniforms each of these formats will be translated to the film positives we make as part of the process of screen printing your t-shirt design.

Graphic Design Software comes in two basic formats, Vector Programmes and Bitmap Programmes. One uses lines to identify shapes, the other uses millions of tiny pixels (tiny squares) to identify shapes.


Vector Design Programmes

The first we will discuss is Vector Design Programmes otherwise known as Drawing Programmes.

Vector design programmes use lines to identify shapes. The most popular Vector design programmes are Adobe Illustrator, Freehand & Corel Draw.

When you create any shape in one of these programmes it is made up entirely of lines. If you re-size or re-shape any of these shapes the software recalculates the new shape and re-draws the new shape instantly.

Because the software redraws the art every time you edit it, the quality and sharpness of the lines is constantly kept at an optimum level. For screen printing this is great. We often have to increase the size of the art sent to us to a size which suits a t-shirt print. Having vector art makes this step easy with no fear of compromise in the final quality of the print.

Where would you have a Vector format copy of your logo? If you have ever had a sign done, your sign maker will most probably have a copy on file. The printer who did your letterhead & business cards will probably have a copy on file. Most printers prefer this format and if you have had any graphics done at all, chances are whoever did them for you has your logo in vector format filed away.

What we need from you. Any vector file is great and easy for us to work with. Files with .ai .cdr or files saved from a Vector design programme as a .pdf or.eps are fine as well.

Remember though before you send the file to us, convert the fonts to outlines.


Bitmap Design Programmes

The second type of common design format is Bitmap Design Programmes otherwise known as Paint Programmes.

Bitmap design programmes use tiny tiles to identify shapes called bits or pixels. The most popular Bitmap design graphics programmes are Photoshop, Paint, Gimpshop.

When you create a design in any of these programmes, the design is entirely made up of tiny tiles called bits or pixels similar to tiles in a giant mosaic. Where this gets confusing is that all graphics, both vector and bitmap are displayed in pixels on the computer screen you are looking at right now, usually at 72 ppi or pixels per inch.

Here is the crucial difference. Computer monitors are designed to display images at 72 ppi so the images look smooth, crisp & pleasing to the eye. To do that a computer monitor pixel consists of 3 sub pixels, a red, green & blue one which controlled by your computer light up differently to create the colours you're viewing right now.

When we screen print, we usually have to convert your image to individual spot colours with sharp edges. Most people want any curves on their fianl screen print to appear smooth. We have found that without the benefit of computer aided graphics to trick the eye, the minimum ppi we need the art to be is 300 ppi at the final t-shirt print size when we create the film positive. Any less than this and the curves appear as tiny steps or jaggered.

What we need from you. If you want to give us an image to screen print in a bitmap design format. Your art needs to be at minimum 300 ppi at the size you want the final screen print to be. As an example, if you give us a design which is 10 cm wide at 300 ppi but you want us to print your design at 20 cm wide, when we resize the image to 20 cm wide, the resolution will drop proportionally to 150 ppi and will not screen print clearly.

Common file formats for bitmap images are .jpg .jpeg .psd .gif .tiff

Having said all this, DON'T WORRY!

If you don't have exactly what we need, we can redraw your logo for you very inexpensively.