Why Simulated Process Screen Printing is Better Than CMYK Screen Printing

When you’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, you probably find yourself “liking” photos that are high quality and detailed because they catch your eye immediately. The colors pop and contrast against other elements on the screen, making you go “wow” before giving your friend a thumbs up.

Here at Scrappy Apparel, we want you to have the same feeling when it comes to your custom screen print shirts.

If you’re creating a piece of wearable art, you’re going to want to show it off. That means you’ll probably want the best method of getting your idea onto a garment. And that’s exactly why we prefer simulation printing instead of CMYK printing, also called 4 color process printing.

We want you to post what you wear!

But terms like simulated process and CMYK aren’t typical things you hear day to day, and if you do, kudos to you. So let’s break it down to explain why simulated process screen printing will give you the best results and the most likes.

Full-Color Screen Printing for Full Spectrum Realness


  • Simulated process screen printing uses up to 16 colors
  • We can print up to 17” x 22”
  • Highly durable designs


  • Higher minimum orders (72 pieces)
  • Higher prices and additional artwork separation fees

While there are multiple printing processes and techniques , at the end of the day, you want something that will look good, last a long time, and turn heads. Simulation, or full-color printing, allows you to have just that.

The simulated process screen printing uses 16 different colors to create remarkably photorealistic designs, so whatever your vision is, we can make it happen. Meanwhile, CMYK is more like a regular old printer you would find in a dorm, office, or library.

While the range of colors and capabilities make it, in our opinion, a more desirable option, there are two things that should be mentioned about the simulated process screen printing. Due to the work that goes into each piece, there is a minimum order of 72 pieces. Additionally, it does cost more than other techniques as well as having an artwork separation fee.

But, like anything high quality, you pay for what you get, and when ordering from Scrappy Apparel, you can be sure that the quality will match the price point.

CMYK Screen Printing

Just like a computer printer, CMYK uses 4 ink colors, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, halftoning (making tiny dots with the primary colors) to trick your eye into thinking it is a different color. While these 4 primary colors can make a range of shades and gradients, halftoning isn’t pure.

It’s not like you’re going to see these minuscule dots, unless you have a microscope lying around or someone made a serious error, and from a distance, it might seem like a really cool design.

Unfortunately, as you get closer, you’ll start noticing that the colors aren’t defined, instead looking more muddled and less vivid. The details will start looking splotchy and the lines that seemed clean won’t be as crisp.

Think of the quality of items you can print at home. If it’s a brochure or pamphlet, it will look pretty good, especially if you use high-quality paper. But if you’re trying to print a photo, it’s not something you would typically want to hang on your walls.

CMYK screen printing simply can’t capture the depth of the image and the smaller elements get lost in the ink.

That’s not to say that CMYK doesn’t have its benefits, rather, we want to provide you with nothing but the finest. For some individuals, this process is completely fine and has pretty good results. But we aren’t okay with being pretty good, we want to be the best.

4x the Color = 4x the Vibrancy

If someone offered you 4 of something versus 16, depending on the situation, we are pretty sure you’d choose 16. And that’s how we feel about our ink.

To put it simply: 4 colors cannot show the full spectrum of detail with the same level of vibrancy that 16 colors can. This is why you take your photos somewhere to get printed, or use one of those fancy, high-end printers that can do everything but make you coffee.

And, being that almost no one has a large scale printing press at home, you’re going to want to trust a custom tshirt printing company like Scrappy Apparel, who can provide you with the full spectrum of colors and render your design to your specifications.

We like to provide you with as many options as possible, whether it’s what type of clothing you’d like, the material it’s made of, or the colors of ink available to you, you should have the freedom to create to your heart’s content.

Be Creative

Instead of having to decide what to keep in your design and what to get rid of, you can be as creative as you’d like. Simulated Process screen printing allows you to be more specific with your ideas.

Most companies cannot do this process because they have limitations, but not Scrappy Apparel! When it comes to our customers, we want you to receive the best quality possible with maximum detail and vibrant hues. Plus, it’s a pretty cool process for our team.

Why Choose Scrappy Apparel

Each layer of ink that goes on during our simulation printing process, and it’s a lot of ink, adds to the piece, creating depth within the design. The closer you get to your garment, the more intricacies you’ll see.

Whether you’re looking for some company swag, shirts for a group outing, or, like those decorated in tattoos, want to see yourself and others wearing your art, you’re going to want to show off and stand out.

Plus, these designs are highly durable!

Don’t be Limited to Smaller Dimensions

Unlike most apparel printing companies in the United States, Scrappy Apparel can print simulated process design up to 17” x 22”. This means you won’t have to restrict your idea to smaller dimensions.

If you have a design that has particular features or characteristics, and a smaller space would limit your ability to see those minute aspects, we can provide you with a large enough canvas to have it all fit.

Wear Your Art

With a range of ink options, plenty of space to create your design, and a team who can help you throughout the entire process, Scrappy Apparel is here to help make your ideas come to life.

If you still have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at any time!