Screen Print Guidelines

Much of our love of screen printing comes from the unique processes involved in bringing artwork to life. Creating a successful screen printed piece of work is a process with a few steps, starting with your design. We’ve put together these tips to help you get the best results from your design. Please read them before sending your artwork.

What Can We Print?
We can screen print on paper or on fabric. There are different uses and limitations for each:

Printing on paper is suitable for posters, artist editions, or other projects where digital printing does not produce the desired results. We typically print on 300gsm paper.

Printing on fabric is mostly done to produce t-shirts or tote bags, or other cotton garments, in designs of up to four colours. It is worth noting that designs with a high level of detail – small text, thin lines, intricate shading – are generally difficult to replicate on fabric. A higher level of detail is achievable when screen printing on paper, however.

Minimum Print Orders
As screen printing is best suited to multiples, we typically do not print one-off pieces. 

How Should I send my artwork?
As screen printing involves printing one layer of colour at a time, we need separate files for each layer. You should send one file per layer, each one in black*, and a colour reference showing your desired result.

*Please make sure the shade of black is 100% black in CMYK mode. Anything lighter will cause a halftone on your image.

File Formats
We can print from Vector files (.ai, .eps) or image files (.jpeg or .tiff).

Halftones and Bitmapping
If you are printing a photo, or a design with tonal variation, your image will require a halftone. We can apply this to regular black and white files so there is no need to do it yourself.

Image/Print Sizes
We can print images up to 600 x 800mm in size. Please ensure your artwork is 300dpi at 100% the size of your finished piece.

T-shirts and Totes Print Sizes
Our bags are 42 (W)x 38cm (H) in size, with a maximum print area of 27 (W)x 32 cm (H)

Please make lines no thinner than 0.5mm if printing on fabric and no thinner than 1pt if printing on paper.

Text should generally not be smaller than 18pt when printing on fabric and 12pt when printing on paper. If you are sending a vector file, please outline your text.

We have a number of colours out of the pot or can colour match to your reference. As colours on screen can’t always be accurate in print, we recommend coming to the studio and choosing a sample from our Pantone book, if possible.

Often you’ll find yourself printing an image that has multiple layers of colour which lie very close together. When registering this by hand, it can be difficult to avoid some mis-registration and white lines showing through in the gaps between the layers.

Your printing environment can also contribute to difficulty with registration if the paper expands or contracts, based on the level of moisture in the air. Water based inks, such as the ones we use in Damn Fine Print, can also affect paper stretching.

If you’re printing a few layers of an image that is hairline registered (this means the registration of layers is quite tight between them), it is unlikely that all of them will line up perfectly. Keep this in mind when designing your files. You can include trapping to compensate for this.

Trapping is where you add a 1pt stroke to your artwork, so that you have slight overlapping with other layers when printing. This will minimise the risk of having gaps between layers and the appearance of blank paper showing through underneath.

Though mis-registration is an aesthetic some people go for and really enjoy, a lot of people do try to achieve close to perfect registration.

Something to note when trapping your artwork is the inks you’re going to use. When one colour lies on top of another, it can add a texture to the area it overlaps as there is more ink built up on this surface. It is ink on top of ink as opposed to ink on uncoated paper, so it might appear more glossy.

Some inks are also not fully opaque so you might see the colour underneath through in the trapping from the top colour. Keep the aesthetic you’re going for in mind when trapping and overprinting inks. Matte, opaque ink can reduce the appearance of trapping.

What is the best way to send files?
You can email your files to or send a link using WeTransfer.

Any questions?
Shoot us an email at and we’ll get back to you.