Print and design company Vektor was awarded Distinction at the Fespa Awards in 2018 for this clever New York-themed T-shirt. Operations manager James Smith and screen printer Sam Ockenden explain the precise measurements and production techniques required to create the print. 

(1) The first step was for our in-house graphics team to create a full-colour screen print on a white garment. Once this was created, the team decided, after much testing, to opt for frequency modulation (FM) screening, also known as stochastic screening, for the colour separations. The advantage of this over using halftones is that a much finer dot is printed, ensuring more detail is preserved and moiré is completely eliminated. We used Separation Studio for the colour separation.

(2) The inks were also adjusted so that they matched the colour values used in the software separation process. These were checked using a spectrophotometer, a device that reads colours and gives information that can be compared to the target.

(3) We used four screens for this CMYK print. All of them were 120 mesh and had a newton reading of 21. We used CPS Ultra Coat 535 emulsion and once dried we exposed the screen at 100 light units on a NuArc MSP 3140 exposure unit to ensure all details were resolved. This was then followed by a warm rinse of water, then a further 150 light units of exposure to fully harden the emulsion.

(4) You have to measure your results as the halftone dots tend to grow when printed, leading to ‘dot gain’, which makes prints too dark. We used our transmission densitometer to take those crucial measurements on the films and a mesh tension meter to ensure the high tension required so that the printed result was faithful to the artwork files.

(5) The films were printed with 144 micron frequency modulated stochastic halftone dot with a linear curve correction on the film.

(6) We used the standard CMYK sequence of printing, with a flash in between the magenta and yellow.

(7) We printed the garments using our M&R Diamondback S. They were then cured through our M&R Fusion tunnel dryer, which was set at a temperature of 280°C as the T-shirt needed to reach a temperature of 178-182°C to ensure the ink was fully cured.

FM half tone film checking

Dot gain check

Colour gamut reading