CMYK Full Color Screen Printing Process

What are the options if I would like to print a full-color image on a t-shirt?

There are two main printing options when screen printing full-color artwork on apparel: Full-color process or CMYK and Simulated Process printing.

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key)

CMYK is a widely used technique to replicate full-color images on light colored backgrounds.  The full-color process originated to accurately reproduce artwork on white paper.  Once the textile and t-shirt screen printing companies got word of this process, the experimenting began!

The inks are semitransparent and look best on white apparel or very light colors.  The transparency in the inks allows the colors to overlap and create a large variety of colors similar to how your printer at home prints on paper.  However, the steps needed to reproduce a full-color screen printed t-shirt are very detailed.

complete logo wild florida boats on full color t-shirt printing by impressionz printing

Simulated Printing Process

Simulated process is our preferred method for recreating full-color artwork and illustrations. Unlike CMYK that is limited to cyan, magenta, yellow and black to create other colors, Simulated process allows us to print specific pantone colors of our choice to screen print the original artwork.


What works & what doesn’t

We recommend using either our standard or premium inks for full-color illustrations.

Water based and discharge inks can be used as well but the colors are not guaranteed to be as accurate due to the nature of the ink.  For more information on the variables that affect water based and discharge inks click here for more info.

Types of Fabrics We Can Print On

  • 100% cotton
  • 100% Polyester and Moisture Wicking Apparel
  • Cotton/Polyester Blends
  • Tri-Blends
Night of Lights | Full Color Printing T-Shirt | Impressionz Printing
Remember Fallen Heroes | Full Color Printing T-Shirt | Impressionz Printing
adventure challenge custom t-shirt design by impressionz printing
Custom Design | Full Color T-Shirt | Impressionz Printing

Artwork & Separations

Factors that Affect Cost: 

  • CMYK Artwork Separations Cost: $125 (includes artwork and set-up)
  • Simulated Process Separations: $25 per color

Shirt Size Chart, Jumbo shirt, Oversize shirt, Standard shirt


White and Light Colored Apparel:

Minimum of 48 pieces for CMYK Printing
Minimum of 48 pieces for Simulated Process Printing

Black and Dark Apparel:

Minimum of 144 pieces for CMYK on dark apparel
Minimum of 48 pieces for Simulated Process on dark apparel