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CMYK Process Screen Printing

Last Updated: Monday 4th December 2017

CMYK process printing is a method of printing inks based around the colours Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The four colours work together to give you an entire spectrum of choices.

The printed colour starts to appears as the inks are used to subtract the appearance of the colour white.

This printing process works great for screen printing t-shirts and putting logos on any number of items. It's also used for printing flyers, newsletters and a lot more.

Thanks to computers, preparing an image for CMYK process printing is easier than it has ever been before, since the separations and half tone set-up can be done with a couple clicks of a mouse now.

One of the benefits of printing with CMYK rather than RGB (Red, green blue) is that the former is subtractive, whereas RGB is additive printing which means that you're mixing colours together to create secondary colours.

Having the black (the K in CMYK) allows for greater detail without blurring that can occur with RGB printing, since you're not required to mix all of the colours together to create the black parts of the image, you already have access to black ink on it's own.

For this reason this process is best used on white garments.

How CMYK Separations Work

When preparing an image for printing using the CMYK colour method, the image is divided into four parts. There is one part for the parts of the image that are cyan, one for magenta, one for yellow and finally the black parts of the image have their own separation as well.

It might sound like you would just end up with a bunch of colours stuck on top of each other making a dark mess, but that's where half-tones come into play.

Keep reading to find out exactly how half-tones work to create sharp images and the appearance of many more colours than are actually present in the image.

You're able to create an entire spectrum of colour using just these 4 starting points, it's really an amazing process when you see it happening right in front of you.

Half toning with CMYK

With the naked eye you can't even tell when you're looking at a printed image, but up close (see image) you'll notice that there are tons of little dots that make up the image.

The placing of these little dots near one another in different patterns is how you're able to have a full image come to life using just four colours of ink.

An example of this is how half-tones of yellow underneath magenta will show up as red. To create green, you simply need to put cyan on top of yellow.

There are plenty of possible combinations like these, and that's essentially how screen printing, half-tones and separations all come together to facilitate the use of CMYK process printing.

List Of Uses For CMYK Printing

Here's a little list we put together to go over some of the top uses for this type of printing. This should help you to understand exactly what some of the benefits are and to determine when CMYK is the best option.


  • Ink Jet printers. Most home printers use the CMYK colour model for printing anything from homework assignments to family photos from a recent vacation.
  • Screen printing. From your favourite band's t-shirt to that poster hanging up on the telephone pole at the bus stop, you'll find CMYK is frequently used in screen printing.
  • Printing presses. Giant industrial printing presses will also use this method. It's everywhere!


Why Use Us To Screen Print Your T-shirts?

T-shirt Screen Printing is the best solution for all your bulk printing needs. If you need to buy in bulk, our team has the perfect printing solution for you!


  • Looking at printing a large order?
  • Need lots of colours printed on t-shirts?
  • Looking for blank Tees at wholesale prices?
  • Want to print T-shirts for your local sports team?
  • Do you have different text or images for each shirt?


If you know what you require or have a specific product in mind, we will be glad to give you a custom quote, designed exactly to your needs.

Just let us know here. Contact Us | Quote Form | Design Online

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 Just letting you know I have received the t-shirts and they LOOK FANTASTIC!!!! Am happy with the look so if they wear well I will be even happier!! thank you!


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