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Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Custom Screen Printing Services Offer an Alternative to Offset and Inkjet

You may think that screen printing is only appropriate for two-color printing on binders and hats. Well that’s no longer true. Color screen printing companies (screen printing) now offer a myriad of options that rival offset. And the ink is thick and vibrant.

In the screen printing process, a squeegie is used to force ink through a synthetic mesh screen onto a substrate. A stencil attached to the screen blocks the ink in certain areas.

For instance, for a poster incorporating a 4-color image and an area with display type, a screen printing company might begin by creating four separate stencils for the four process colors. Each stencil will block out all but the defined area for that particular color. If the type on the poster is black, the screen printing company would create a reverse of the type (with everything but the reverse of the letters blocked out) so the ink can be forced through the letterforms attached to the screen and onto the substrate.

Here are some of the benefits of screen printing:

  • Whereas offset printing might limit you to various thicknesses of paper and board, you can screen print onto plastic, fabric, even metal. If you’re producing a screen printed plastic globe, for instance, you can print the ink on the back of the plexiglass. Then you can extrude the plastic into two half spheres and attach them to form the finished globe.
  • Using UV screen inks instead of conventional screen inks, and then instantly drying these inks with UV light, you can produce a large format print that rivals an offset printed poster. The line screen (and hence the resolution of the image) will probably be far less coarse than you would expect for screen printing, allowing for brilliant halftoned images.
  • You can print longer runs for less money. Whereas the unit cost for a large format print produced on an inkjet printer would be the same whether you’re printing 100 copies or 1,000 copies, for a screen printing company, once the set-up charges have been accounted for, the unit cost actually decreases as the press run gets longer and longer.

Custom screen printing services can offer you options not available with conventional offset printing, whether you need to print descriptive wording on the wall of a museum exhibit, create a printed element of extruded plastic for use in industrial design (like the front panel of a Coke machine), or produce a back-printed plexiglass achievement award.

2 Responses to “Custom Screen Printing Services Offer an Alternative to Offset and Inkjet”

  1. Professional online color printing is a big help to most of business. All they have to do in order to find local printing companies is to pick up their local yellow pages and they are likely to see several of them listed. How will they choose the best one?

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment.

      During my twenty years’ of buying printing (from print vendors across the United States, in Canada, and online), I have always started with price (requesting bids either directly from the printer or online). If I liked the pricing, I requested samples and an equipment list (to help determine the kind of work the printer does best), as well as a list of references that I promptly checked (I especially asked how satisfied the clients had been with the service as well as the printed product).

      To be safe, I have often started with a small job and then worked up to larger jobs as the professional relationship developed and my level of trust in the printer increased. I don’t expect perfection. I think every printer can make a mistake. It is how quickly and how well a printer remedies a problem that makes me a long-time customer.

      For especially large or high-profile projects, I have tried to actually visit the printing plant prior to submitting a job. You can learn a lot not only from the equipment choices and placement (the flow of work through a plant), but also from the responsiveness of employees, and even the cleanliness of the facility.

      I’m sure others have slightly diffrent methods for vetting printers, and I would encourage all readers to reply.


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