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Poster Design and the Screen Printing Process

Lesson 4 of 9

Selecting Ink Color: Using the Pantone System

Mama's Sauce, Clark Orr

Poster Design and the Screen Printing Process

Mama's Sauce, Clark Orr

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Lesson Info

4. Selecting Ink Color: Using the Pantone System

Lesson Info

Selecting Ink Color: Using the Pantone System

All right. So we're now we're gonna talk about colors. So when you're planning on printing a so screen printed poster, you really want to start Teoh, figure out what colors you're gonna go with. So generally I print 2 to 3 colors per per poster, and I try Teoh toe match, Um, the colors before I send off the files to the printer. So I do that using the Pantone matching system, um, which is synonymous with printing. So Pantone makes Swatch books like these that have, ah, wide array of colors that, um, we have to match to give to the printer before we actually send off the file. So they know what colors T mix actually match to what the color on the poster is going to be. We're going to grab a poster that's already finished, and we'll show you what it's like. T match a Pantone color to actual printed poster. So yeah, and we actually require here among themselves toe have that color chosen from the physical book you can use. Um, Panton provides a Let's watch the library that you can actuall...

y install into Illustrator so you can pull up this watches for kind of a quick reference, but at the end of the day, nothing is gonna matches closely is the actual book. So that's why we ask for that color to be chosen from this physical book. Because, um, there's definitely a pretty big difference. Oftentimes between the color on screen and the color in the book. And the reason for that is because of screen calibration, everything. If you're not calibrating your screen exactly toe Pantone specifications. Um, it can be pretty crazy. How how off that can be get turn a purple to a blue. And so it's definitely super important to have that physical book. They are a little pricey, but I think there are offering some options now to get some for a little bit more affordable prices for students and stuff like that. All right, so we're probably looking somewhere around like a to what is a 2187? Um, and of course, this is a process that you do before the posters actually printed. Oftentimes, what I'll do is get a color close enough on the screen and try and match it up from there. But that's not something that you can give a printer as we mentioned before, because every screen is different, gonna be calibrated differently. So if you have something that you're trying to match for a brain, let's say you're doing Ah, poster for a brand that already exists. You're going to get me to get their Pantone colors to give to the printer when you send along the file and again what we're using here. This this specific book is the Pantone Formula Guide for the Uncoated, which means that this has used specifically for uncoated papers. If we were to use the coded book which we have here, you can see the colors are much more bright. They have that gloss to them that we're talking about, and we can't match these colors on uncoated papers. The only way to get colors of this bright is to use a coated paper to help with that ink sitting really bright on there. So that's why we pretty much exclusively used that, um, uncoated book, except for things like sticker vinyl, cause that's a coated paper. Um, and anything that has, you know, a coating on it. You would want to use the coated paper there. Sorry. The coded Pantone book, right? And Pantone offers the asked Ah, selection of Pantone Swatch booklets to get so what you're gonna need to look for specifically is the Pantone formula, the formula guide for uncoated, which is also called Pantone. You you don't want to get the wrong one, or it's gonna be a little confusing and hard to match. Often they ah, they make ah coated and uncoated booklet so you can get it all in one, um, to be able to match your colors with they do work with fabrics with paints, stuff like that. So there's different books that relate to those different kind of avenues before using color matching systems. So just to show an example real quick of of using the coded book, we've got a few stickers here, um that are on that coated sticker vinyl that we're talking about so you can see that these colors are much brighter than something like on this poster, because we're able to get a much brighter color by using that's lightly coated paper so we can use that coded book. In this rare instance of using the coded sticker, vinyl greens like that are really, really tough to get on the on coated papers. I wouldn't say they're impossible, but you definitely can't get quite the same saturation as you can on a coated paper like this. Sticker vinyl here when you're looking at swatches from Pantone, Uh, this one would be called Pantone uncoated, which would be Pantone. You and this one would be Pantone coded. Also Pantone, see? So you want to be really careful when you're either ordering online? Um, whichever book that you're going for. But if you're printing flat stock like a poster, your mainly gonna wanna be using a Pantone uncoated or Pantone you. So one thing we didn't really talk about with the Pantone book in the reason why this is so important is outside of just it. Having the physical color that we need to match too is that it actually gives us, um, a little bit of a formula of what thanks to use to to create that color. Now it's never going to really be exactly what this is, but this definitely gets you started in terms of knowing which based colors you're trying to use to get to that color that you're trying to print. So you can see all of these have that formula listed red underneath, and it gives you kind of parts per Inc that you need to add into your mixture to make that happen. So what we'll do is we'll pull the base colors, um, in mix the amount of ink that we need, based on how many sheets the job has in it. If it's a 200 poster job, if it's 50 posters, things like that, and then we'll kind of tweaking by hand, which is where the kind of ink Master Nous comes in in that it takes adding tiny amounts of pigment to really get that color dead on to match this book. If you just use these formulas on Lee and stuck straight to that, odds are you're not going to be dead on that color. So we like to kind of give it that extra step and really make sure it's honed right in there close as possible. One of the other benefits to screen printing is ah, that you're not stuck with just solid colors. You conduce specialty inks like metallic eggs. You could do a silver or gold or copper, uh, with with a metal flak in it. And so, as a Shimer almost looks like a like a glitter, you can also do something like glow in the dark ink. Like this poster uses right here, you're certainly not necessarily bound to just a solid color. There's a lot of variation, and a lot of really just kind of figuring out what you want to do and kind of working backwards from there. So and a lot of times, what those specialty inks allow you to do is to print on things like dark paper stocks or colored paper stocks with a light color like a metallic. So this, for example, is a a gold metallic screen printing ink. Um, so this differs from, um, foil stamping. You've heard the term foil stamping and that that's that's a smooth of oil stamp surfaces of smooth, um, piece of material that's pressed into the paper. Whereas this is a screen printed Inc that actually has, like Clark, was saying a metallic flake that's actually getting mixed in with that ink and getting pulled through the screens, you're actually laying down physical metallic flake onto the sheet, which allows it to be nice and bright on a dark paper. Typically, you'll have toe kind of running through twice, sometimes to get a really nice, solid layer of ink on there. But you definitely can get a much brighter metallic than you could with something like offset, for example, or with a digital print, which there is no option with the drill printing for a metallic color. Um, so things like this little belly band. We've also got a poster here that we did for one of our intern events, which uses a custom mixed metallic color. So this is actually kind of a rose gold. So you are able to even tint those metallic flakes to be more of a pigmented color, so you'll pick a base flake, which I'm not sure what this one use. I would imagine you some kind of copper base, and then we use some straight pigment, which will take a look at later to tent that color to be where it is in. The Pantone matching system actually provides a set of metallic Pantone's so there are metallic books that come with the Pantone sets, depending on which that you pay for some of this. That's only have the uncoated encoded books. Some of them include all of the metallic books, including even pastels and neons. Eso again just making that range of possibilities even wider so you can see some of these are the metallic colors much outside of just your standard gold, your standard silver, bronze and copper. So you can use these to kind of tent. Those colors definitely kind of want to stay away from or just at least understand that the darker colors because they have more pigment. They're going to kind of pull away that metallic flake from from showing up. So you can see even in this book that the darker metallic colors are not quite as as metallic as some of these later ones. So a screen printing you're not necessarily bound by solid colors alone. I did a poster one time, and we made it scratch and sniff so he could even put in, you know, scented oils. Um, like I mentioned before, glow in the dark. There's all sorts of specialty thinks that you can use, so it's definitely one of those processes where you can a lot of people do. It's tough to go too crazy because you can start messing with your screen, you can mess up the mesh. You can actually break down your screen toe where it's not printing will anymore if you're putting anything too crazy in there. But if it's a something that's a fine powder or liquid, you can pretty much do anything you want. What also is really great, it is worth keeping in mind is we talk a lot about number of colors and how that kind of affects the pricing of the job. So we have a few examples of posters that use kind of that higher end of colors, meaning 567 colors sometimes where again, you're having to run all of the sheets through the press one color at a time before you can get that finished product. So you've got to keep in mind that if you're running, let's say 200 posters with three colors. You're looking at 600 impressions plus over ridge, so there's a lot of labor involved in that, on top of the fact that all of these, except for black, are custom mixed inks, So those are all being mixed by hand, using the Pantone matching system for each color in each color is getting tweaked when it's on press. Each color is making slight changes to really get close to that Pantone color, right? And when you're printing multiple colors, you print lightest to darkest. So on this, when it probably went gray, yellow, blue, pink and black in that order, and that so that you, when you over printer or what we'll talk about me say trapping. You're making sure that you're not losing any other quality in the ink over another colors. So you print order becomes pretty important in terms of setting up your files so that you've got that in mind in terms of where things wrong on top of each other or where they're supposed to be below. And if that ankle cover well on top of the other one that went down before

Class Description

Join us as we go behind the scenes at Mama’s Sauce, an award-winning letterpress and screen printing studio. You’ll hear from both sides - Designer (Clark Orr) and Printer (Hogan Birney) -as they work together to create and screen print a poster.

In this class, you’ll learn:

  • What screen printing is and how to design for it
  • Choosing the best paper and ink for the job
  • Best practices for preparing and delivering files to the printer
Hogan Birney has played many roles at Mama's Sauce, from Letterpress printer to Production Consultant, and he'll be your guide through the production process. Clark Orr is a master of screen printing, known for his amazing poster design. He’ll share his process as he creates a poster from concept to final print in Adobe Illustrator. 

You’ll also receive a version of this poster, a how-to infographic, you can print on your own. Interested in designing and screen printing posters but not sure how to get started? This class is for you.


AJ Estrada

Man, I've been waiting for a class/tutorial like this for years. You've both cleared up a lot of confusion that I've had about the this process. Love the final design and colors you went with. More classes please!

Mjose Mab

Hi, I'm Spanish. I would like to know some company that works with silkscreen paper in Europe.Me You can say some european brand. Thank you.

Nataly Belyakova