Overlay Pantones to Maximize Screenprinting Limitations

Screenprinting with Pantones is a great way to cut costs and ensure an accurate color match. But when you work with Pantones, paint is money. The company I print with has a price cut at four colors, which can be limiting for illustrators. I'm all for using limitations as a personal challenge, but sometimes an illustration just screams for more color.

Luckily, we can use the natural properties of Pantones to our advantage. As I explained in a previous blog post, Pantones consist of pigment + base. Some Pantones have a transparent base, while others have a white or charcoal base. Pantones with the transparent base are just that: a little transparent. 

Pantones with a transparent base can be overlaid to create a third color. Because of their transparent properties, light reaches both of the overlaid Pantones, and will bounce of your material in the form of a third, new color. This works the same way as mixing paints: blue + yellow = green.

The downside is, you can't completely predict how that third color will come out. This can be especially tough on the hyper-precise, Pantone-color-matching world of designers. But with a little luck, this technique will introduce more than 4 colors at a 4 color price.

Printing on a non-standard paper size

Using Adobe Acrobat to print on custom paper sizes

Short-run or late night prints are often conveniently done in the comfort of your home (yoga pants and wine glass required). If you're like me and a few of my clients, you've picked up pre-cut paper, taken it home, and realized your printer doesn't have a preset for the size you just shelled out $20 for.

I've run into this problem enough that I thought I should just put it up on a post for safe-keeping. Here's how you can use Adobe Acrobat to print on non-standard paper sizes:

  1. Make sure your file's dimensions match your desired paper size. To check, go to "File > Properties". In the "Description" tab, look for "Page Size" towards the bottom.
    NOTE: If your page size does not match your desired paper size, contact your graphic designer for edits.
  2. Open the file in Adobe Acrobat
  3. File > Print
  4. Make sure you have “Actual Size” radio button selected in “Page Sizing and Handling"
  5. Click the "Page Setup" button (bottom left).
  6. In the "Paper Size" dropdown, select "Manage Custom Sizes..."
  7. Click “+” at bottom left to start new template. Title your template.
  8. Type the size of your pre-cut non-standard paper size into the “Paper Size” text fields
  9. In “Non-Printable Area”, select “User Defined” and change the fields to 0in.
  10. Click “OK” and “Print”

Questions? Fire off at beth@designthatfits.work.