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Using Knockout Colors: Punch out excess cost and discomfort with intelligent design for t-shirts

cherry on top for knockout screen printing blog post

Cherry designed by Benni from the Noun Project

Mastering the knockout technique will make you a heavyweight champ in the custom apparel design world – or just save you a couple bucks and make your custom tees more comfortable forever.

Wherever ink is not printed is referred to as the knockout color. In apparel printing, you have the luxury of being able to choose the color of your “canvas” – the t-shirt itself! By using the t-shirt color to your advantage in the design you will save money by decreasing the number of ink colors needed to print your design. Each ink color adds cost to your project.

The cherry on top is that while you’re saving money by decreasing screen print cost you’re actually making your t-shirts more comfortable. Why? Because there is less ink on the shirt. This means the shirt is lighter, softer, and more breathable.

We also try to take advantage of the knockout color when designing artwork for clients – and encourage you to as well! Here are a couple of examples:

Notice how the dragon wings and interior lettering knocks out to the shirt color on this softball jersey design.

FA-Day-Softball-screen-printed-t-shirt-newton-zoom-2 FA-Day-Softball-screen-printed-t-shirt-big


Notice on this design, for, how much white (t-shirt) space is preserved, yet how much is conveyed with the thin and minimal screen printed ink.

special event screen printed t-shirt hand drawn artwork boston MA special event screen printed t-shirt hand drawn artwork boston MA zoom