Color Issues

posted by graphyk • 5 years ago

Hey I am new to the website and wanted to know how the 8 color limit works.
Like will a light red and crimson be considered as two different colors?

Also, I know that screen printing only offers a limited number of colors. Where can I find a list of all the colors that are available for use?

Thirdly, I see some of the designs using vectors (AI) while others use PSDs. Is it possible to submit a rasterized design of high enough resolution?

Lastly, I see artists adding shadows to parts of designs. Would that not upset the color limit due to the gradient? Or is it accomplished through the use of halftone?

4 Replies

wotto wotto Artist from CA, United States

Hi Graphyk,

Screen printing colors are determined by Pantone Color books, most professional tee designers buy a set.

If you are using Photoshop or Illustrator the colors are in the color palette options menu. Each color selected is a classed a color, so red and crimson would count as 2 colors unless we half toned crimson to create red.
We prefer ai. of psd. files for final art, even huge jpg images can give us issues.
Artists use halftones very cleverly to create the illusion of color, thats a real skill.

wotto wotto Artist from CA, United States

Here is a great example from kharmazero who creates amazing designs from very limited color palettes using clever halftone skills. Just 3 colors used here:

See the full submission

graphyk graphyk Human from New Delhi, India

Thank you for the prompt reply. I just have two last queries:

1. I choose any two colors and create a gradient out of them. That gives you a spectrum of shades. So that still counts as 2 as far as logic goes. Right?

2. I choose one color (Eg. Crimson) and create a texture out of it. It WOULD have red due to the variation of shade. Isn’t that correct?

wotto wotto Artist from CA, United States


1. Sort of. Technically you should use halftones but we do except gradients, our separators just halftone them when preparing for printing. It’s really the job of the artists, we just have great separators.
2. I am not 100% sure what you mean here. Even if you make Crimson a texture, it’s still Crimson just broken up to give the illusion of shade. It would be printed using one pantone color, say 188C not Crimson and a separate red.

You should read more about the screen printing process to really understand how the colors are laid down on top of one another – you can read more in our 101section select screen printing.

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