There are several different options for imaging apparel.  The type of process used is crucial.  After all, you want to look cool.  Ragged Apparel offers screen printing, dye sublimation, digital thermal imaging, and die cut vinyl imaging.  The process used is dependent on several factors which can include size of order and the image that is desired on the apparel.  We are happy to assist you in making an informed decision on which way would work best for your specific order.  Screen printing is of course the primary method of imaging apparel; however, not every image is amendable to screen printing, and screen printing does require a minimum order of 10 shirts due to the process involved.  For those smaller orders or images which cannot be screen printed, we can discuss with you other options such as dye sublimation, digital image heat press, or die cut vinyl imaging. 

There are also several factors and options to consider when screen printing apparel.  We will discuss this with you during your consultation in order to meet your specific needs.  Below is a description of some of the options we use in screen printing.  This is not an all inclusive list, but the most common processes.  Depending on your image, we may also utilize a combination of these imaging techniques.  

Types of Printing

The most common form of printing, spot color printing uses a full-tone of color to create an image. Each color in the image is printed separately on its own screen.  Additional colors affects the cost, but up to 6 spot colors on one location can be printed.

  • Yields Vibrant, Professional Quality Prints

  • Print on any color garment

  • Price: Less Expensive to More expensive, depending on the number of colors printed

  • Used For: Most standard print of logos, graphics, and text

Spot Colors

When printing a full color image or photograph that involves many colors and many gradients or shades of colors, process prints are used. The 4-Color CMYK process uses the basic colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black in halftones to create the image, much like an inkjet printer.

  • Yields Vibrant, professional quality prints

  • Print only on white garments

  • Price: The lesser expensive way to create full color prints when many colors or shades of colors are involved

  • Used For: Photographs or Multi-Colored images with many tones of color when printing on a white shirt

4 Color Process

In order to achieve a cracked, worn-in, eroded look, artists either utilize filters prior to printing to remove parts of the images in a way to give it that vintage look (part of the artwork), or utilize certain inks and techniques with certain types of garments like tri-blends.  Discharge printing may also be recommended based on your design.

  • Yields professional quality, eroded prints

  • Print on any color garment

  • Price: There is no additional fee for making a print look eroded through the artwork process.  Price may be affected if specialty inks or techniques or used.  

  • Used For: Vintage-looking prints

Distressed Printing


An inexpensive way to reproduce a photograph or other multi color image into apparel. A grayscale of the image is created using full and half tones of black and or white. The image can then be printed in that "grayscale" version on a garment in any print color you choose.

  • Yields a Combination of Vibrant and Muted Color, Quality depends on size and resolution of photo

  • Print on any color garment, recommended for dark prints on light color garments for best results, but can vary depending on design

  • Price: Inexpensive - the cheapest way to print a photograph or multi-colored image

  • Used For: One color versions of photos and multi-color images

Greyscale Halftones

When printing a full color logo with many shades and tones of colors and a more vibrant, sharp print is desired, a simulated process is used. Unlike 4 Color CMYK process, Simulated Process prints use a multiple spot colors and half tones to create all the colors in the image.

  • Yields vibrant, professional quality prints

  • Print on any color garment

  • Price: This is a more expensive option to print multiple colors and shades than the 4-Color CMYK process, but it is still less expensive than using individual spot colors for every shade. Typically it involves the use of 4-8 colors to create the design.

  • Used for: Full color images with many tones of color when printing on a dark shirt

Simulated Process

Discharge printing is the process of replacing the dye out of the shirt, leaving its natural color showing through (usually a tan color). We can also replace the color of the original dye with a new ink color mixed into the discharge ink, however results vary depending on shirt color & brand.  

  • Yields Vibrant or Muted, professional prints

  • Print on dark garments only

  • Print on 100% cotton only, unless a distressed look by design is requested, then 50/50 blend can be used.

  • Leaves a super soft-hand on the garment

  • Price: Premium fee

  • Used for: Standard print of logos, graphics, text, vintage-looking prints

Discharge Printing

Spot Colors


Distressed Printing

4 Color Process

Simulated Process

Discharge Printing


Simulated Process
Simulated Process
Greyscale Halftone Process
Traditional Spot Colors
Traditional Spot Colors
Traditional Spot Colors
Greyscale Halftone Process
Simulated Process
Combination of Traditional Spot Color and Greyscale Halftone Process
Show More


When screen printing, a piece of film is output for each color in the design. The film that is output must be 100% Black to make the screen. If the artwork is not in a Vector Format, changing each color in the design to black is not possible. Also, the lines and edges in the design would not be smooth and sharp, they would be jagged and "blurry"

The most important part of your order is what goes on it.  From simple words to a full color scenic view, what is put on the item IS the most important part. Whether screen printing, or using one of the digital technologies to embellish your garments, the artwork is different for each.  

For screen printing, 95% of the time Vector art is used. Vector art is a design that is created in a Vector based program such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, or a couple of others. Adobe Photoshop does NOT produce vector art.  

Vector art is based on mathematical angles and shapes and can be blown up or shrunk down without loss in quality. Photoshop and other "paint" programs use Pixels to make the design and do not take to enlarging very well, and quality is usually lost.

At times, we do utilize other file formats, specifically when doing 4 color process and simulated process prints.  High quality Adobe Photoshop images typically work well for this type of processing.

Don't worry if you don't have the proper format - Ragged Apparel has the experience to make it for you. We can take your idea and turn it into a reality.  If your artwork is not "screen ready," we will need to re-draw it.  Looking awesome isn't instantaneous, so it will take us extra time to complete your order if we have to re-create your artwork.  But trust us, it will be well worth it.


Not all inks are created equal!  Different types and colors of inks have different formulations, and are created for specific purposes.  Some inks work only on 100% cotton, while others are able to be utilized on most types of garments.  Some inks are prone to "dye migration" in which the dye on the shirt mixes with the color of the ink.  White ink is especially prone to dye migration, as such, we have multiple types of white ink designed for specific types of garments, ie: 100% cotton, 50/50 blends, tri-blend, 100% polyester.  

Based on the type or color of garment, as well as colors of inks in the design, your design may require an "underbase."  An underbase is a layer of white ink which is first printed on the shirt, and then the design is printed over the top of the white layer.  This may be required to prevent dye migration, and also help the colors of the image appear brighter.  We will be able to advise you of the formulations of ink we will need to use, and the possibility of needing and underbase during the processing of your garments during your consultation. 

Which garments don't show details well:

With advancements in screen printing we can recreate a level of detail with t-shirts that was previously unattainable just 5-10 years ago. However, due to the way some garments are constructed, they will not work well with detail. The following is a list of some of those garments:

  • Ribbed Garments

  • Canvas Material (Aprons, Bags, etc.)

  • Burnout Tees

  • Pique Polos


These items do not work well with detail because they are not smooth like standard t-shirts.  This may be exactly the look you are wanting to achieve; however, before choosing one of these garment types, it is advisable to discuss this with us so we can make sure this is what you are wanting.  


To get the best quality print when screen printing, we need as flat a surface as possible between the pallet (that the garment lays on) and the screen (that holds your design). The fronts and backs of t-shirts are consistently smooth and the same thickness, which allows us to get a perfect print every time. However, when you print over a seam, pocket or zipper, it creates an inconsistency, because these are thicker portions of the garment. When you print over these portions of the garments, it creates a gap in the print where the ink from the screen does not touch the shirt due to the ridge caused by the seam. 

For zipper hoodies, we recommend a pocket logo on front, with large image on back.  We can discuss additional options with you.

1900 S. Telshor Blvd.

Las Cruces, New Mexico


Tel: 575-323-1820

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