Four Color Process – CMYK Screen Printing on T-Shirts

May 22, 2019

What is Four Color Process, CMYK printing?

CMYK, also known as Four Color Process, stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. CMYK is a color profile originally designed for printing on white paper.  Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black are layered in halftones (various densities of dots of each color) in such a way as to produce a full color image. By layering these colors and varying the densities of the halftones, and allowing a white background to show through as well, a decent spectrum of colors can be achieved. In reality, there is technically a 5th “color” involved with CMYK – a white substrate.

CMYK is known as a subtractive process, meaning that for each additional color used, more light is removed to achieve that color. When using 100% values for each color in CMYK, the result is black. By its nature the color profile for CMYK is limited in comparison to the RGB color profile (what you see on computer screens).  RGB results in a more vibrant and diverse color profile than CMYK.

CMYK can be used in screen printing to create a full color design, although there are more considerations and complexities when screen printing CMYK on fabric than printing CMYK on paper, which will be outlined below.

What is RGB Color and how is it different?

In comparison to CMYK, the RGB color profile uses Red, Green, and Blue, the primary colors from which other colors are created. RGB is almost strictly used for digital graphics, as digital devices (phones, computer monitors, etc.) actually use light to create color.  Rather than blending inks which is the case with CMYK, RGB blends light to create its diverse and vibrant color profile.

RGB is considered an additive process, where adding colors together in varying amounts creates the full color spectrum. When adding all colors on the RGB spectrum the result is white, and the absence of RGB colors is black. The RGB color blending method is not used in screen printing because ink is mixed rather than light.

What about PMS Colors?

PMS stands for Pantone Matching System, and unlike CMYK and RGB where colored inks or colored light are mixed together within a design to create the color profile, PMS colors are created by pre-mixing inks before the design is printed.  This allows for exact color matching and consistency in color profile.  The universal PMS method can translate an RGB color to a PMS value and allows for thousands of pre-mixed ink color variations.  In screen printing, using PMS colors is known as the Spot Color method, and is the most common method for screen printing.

CMYK Screen Printing Considerations

Partly due to the differences in color profiles as outlined above, there are definite considerations before choosing the CMYK method for screen printing:

  • Slight variations of print color across garments is unavoidable.
  • Exact color match is not a guarantee. PMS match is not possible.
  • Digital mockups can only approximate the finished CMYK product, as the colors on a monitor are using RGB rather than the more limited CMYK.
  • CMYK does not result in neon or very bright colors. Because it’s a mixture of dots on a non-glossy fabric, it’s not possible to achieve as vibrant of a color result.  If bright or neon colors are important in a design, Spot Color (with Weiskamp standard inks or custom mixed PMS inks) is the recommended method.
  • CMYK is designed to be printed on white. If printing on a dark shirt, the CMYK colors are printed on top of a white ink underbase, which results in a thicker print than on a white shirt. Even though this method on a dark shirt can be done, we would not recommend it for every design. 
  • After CMYK screen printed shirts are washed, the design may lighten up no more than 10%.

Why does the print consistency vary across garments?

For large print runs, the ink consistency may change as it is worked by the squeegee in the screens. This can result in slight color shifts across the print run, often tending toward a darker result near the end of a large print run.

The combination of the CMYK inks are not as predictable on a fabric substrate. CMYK inks are more transparent than spot color inks, so the saturation of the ink can potentially vary across fabrics. Even t-shirts of the same brand may have a variation in thickness, as most shirts are made all over the world. Size smalls might be made in Honduras, and size large might be made in Indonesia. The flexibility and thickness of the fabric is not as uniform as paper, and can introduce variations across the print. The thickness, fabric type, and weave of the shirt can affect the saturation of the ink, which can result in shade variation.

Why is an exact color match not guaranteed?

Closeup of a CMYK screen print

The way CMYK inks are layered to achieve the full color spectrum on the fabric is more art than science, and often requires trial and error to produce the correct shades. Rather than mixing the inks ahead of time to achieve an exact color match like with the Spot Color method, the inks are “mixed” as dot percentages of each color as separate layers on the shirt.  There are also additives in the ink to help achieve fine detail and photo realism, and that may interact with the fabric and affect the color outcome.

As we discussed earlier, the CMYK color gambut is decent, but not all colors you see with RGB (or on a computer screen) can be produced with printed inks. A full color design though is definitely possible, and can produce beautiful results.

Is CMYK the right choice for your design?

Original artwork next to a CMYK screen print on a t-shirt.

Now that we’ve discussed the limitations of CMYK, there are many scenarios where CMYK is a great choice. CMYK allows for a full color design with fewer screens than spot color, making it a more affordable choice for many designs. CMYK can also produce very fine detail, shading, and photo realistic prints that often cannot be achieved through the Spot Color method. A CMYK print also has a very soft hand since the inks aren’t as thick and are more transparent. The photo on the left is original artwork next to a t-shirt screen printed with the CMYK process. 

Design types that would be a good fit for CMYK can include:

  • Hand drawn full color artwork
  • Artwork that has a lot of color and a lot of gradients
  • Designs where slight color differences adds to the uniqueness of the shirt
  • Distressed designs

CMYK Screen Printing at Weiskamp Screen Printing

We want you to be happy with your shirts, so we take extra steps with CMYK printing to help avoid some of the limitations we’ve discussed.

  • To avoid a color shift due to the ink consistency changing during a print run, we sacrifice the first 12 shirts in a print run to allow for the inks to stabilize in consistency.  
  • CMYK jobs are run on an automatic press only so the pressure of the ink application does not vary across prints. This helps avoid variations in the saturation of the print, which helps maintain color consistency.
  • We require approval in-person (preferred) or from a photograph of the 13th shirt in the print run. This final approval will need to be scheduled ahead of time to accommodate the production team’s schedule and yours.
  • To fulfill these extra steps, a 10% upcharge is added for CMYK printing.  This includes one additional set of screens with adjusted artwork if the in-person print is declined.

Contact us today to see if CMYK is a good fit for your next t-shirt design!

Weiskamp Garage Sale – 2019 Spring

May 19, 2019

Mark your calendars for our Epic Weiskamp Garage Sale! This Saturday, May 25th from 8-1PM.  We’re clearing out our warehouse and offering BRAND NEW blank and decorated garments in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Hats, basic t-shirts, dry fit tees, polos, dress shirts, shorts, sweatshirts, quarter zips, full zips, athletic wear and more!  Whether you’re looking for some misprint t-shirts to wear while gardening or looking for a great deal on some nicer items, we bet you’ll find something you like.

Continue reading “Weiskamp Garage Sale – 2019 Spring”

Family Reunion T-Shirt Special

May 15, 2019

It’s that time of the year! Create lasting memories with a personalized vacation or family reunion t-shirt.  Valid for any fun family events, vacations, cruises, and parties!

On a deadline? Our standard turnaround is 5-7 business days, but we have Express Services available too.  Need help with your design? An hour’s worth of our art team’s time is included in every order. If you need youth sizes too, we’ll include a second size design at no extra charge.
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How is Custom Embroidery Priced?

February 11, 2019

EmbroideryWe believe in transparent pricing for our customers, so here we detail a full explanation for all possible embroidery costs.  We’ve made some changes in 2019, and don’t want anything to come as a surprise to you. The biggest change involves calculating the cost of your embroidered design by the number of stitches in your design, rather than a flat rate per logo. The second biggest change involves a different pricing formula for Customer Provided garments.

Continue reading “How is Custom Embroidery Priced?”

Sweatshirt T-shirt Special

October 1, 2018

Looking to order sweatshirts for the colder weather? How about some really inexpensive t-shirts to go along with them? Our sweatshirt t-shirt special is almost here! The special runs from October 1st – March 1st, and for every sweatshirt you order (minimum of 5), you can receive an equal number of matching t-shirts for only $2.99 each!  Continue reading “Sweatshirt T-shirt Special”

Breast Cancer Awareness T-Shirt Special

September 7, 2018

Breast Cancer Awareness Shirts

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month! We see lots of custom t-shirts printed for this worthy cause, and in support of Breast Cancer Awareness we’re offering an additional $1.00 off every pink t-shirt, or $1.00 off every shirt printed with pink ink or pink thread for designs in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.  This special is not limited to t-shirts – tank tops, polos, and jackets qualify as well. Embroidery orders also qualify for this special.

Here are a few product suggestions for pink garments:

Gildan Heavy Cotton T-Shirt in Azaela (most affordable)

Bella + Canvas Unisex Ringspun Cotton T-Shirt in Charity Pink (staff favorite tee)

Bella + Canvas Unisex Raglan 3/4 Sleeve Baseball Tee in Neon Pink/White

Jerzees Spotshield 50/50 Sport Shirt Polo in Classic Pink

Pink Hoodies, various brands and colors

Start designing your Breast Cancer Awareness design on your favorite shirt!

How Fast is Custom Embroidery?

June 4, 2018

Custom EmbroideryThe nature of custom embroidery inherently takes longer than screen printing, so our standard turnaround for custom embroidery does change during the busy seasons. From December – March, and in June and July, the turnaround time is 7-10 business days from the time the order is placed. During the busy seasons in April-May, and from August – November, the standard turnaround is 10-15 business days.  If your order is 1000+ pieces, please contact us for your turnaround.  Continue reading “How Fast is Custom Embroidery?”

Sample Garment Policy

March 4, 2018

Sample GarmentsBefore you’re ready to commit to an order, we understand that sometimes you want to ensure you like the style and fit of the garments beforehand. We understand that a size large in one brand doesn’t always have the same measurements as a size large in another brand – it can sometimes be tricky to always know the correct size to order. We offer a few options to make sure you’re confident before you order.

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Local Resident makes News for DACA Protest

January 18, 2018

Last week we got a next day rush order request for a custom sweatshirt, here is the message: “My mom is going to be protesting in DC on her 78th birthday on 1/17. I would like to have a sweatshirt made for her that says “I WANT A CLEAN DACA BILL FOR MY BIRTHDAY” with a picture of a birthday cake with 78 on it.”  We were able to accommodate their rush request, and this morning they followed up with us and shared an NBC Nightly News clip, view here.

A group of over 100 Jewish activists travelled to DC to participate in a pro-DACA demonstration in support of Dreamers this week. After staging a peaceful sit-in, 86 people Daca Protestwere arrested, including several residents from the Champaign area. If you’re interested in learning more about this story, here is a Fox News video, as well as a video from Bend the Arc Jewish Action.  You can read more about the story on WAND 17.

If you have a t-shirt story you’d like us to share, please contact us.

Weiskamp CommuniTee Contest

January 18, 2018

We love seeing pictures of folks in the community wearing shirts we’ve printed, so we decided to sweeten the deal a bit for you with the Weiskamp CommuniTee contest. To be eligible for the monthly cash prize, simply tag @weiskampscreenprinting and use #weiskampcommunitee on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to enter.  Once a month we will randomly select one winner who’ll take home the cash, no strings attached.  You can enter more than once each month if you have the pics to share, but each person will have a limit of 5  entry chances to win per month.

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January 17, 2018

Lightbox EkahIt’s our pleasure to announce EKAH, our newest Lightbox artist! Walk, bike, or drive by 312 S Neil St (corner of Springfield & Neil) to see her surreal mural, Subsurface, in person.  EKAH was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in NYC. She’s most interested in exploring the surreal, the absurd, the nonsensical, and the beautiful through images in all media, and tell a story in the process.

Continue reading “LIGHTBOX – EKAH”


January 16, 2018

Did you know we’re the fastest screen printer in town?  Now through the end of February, we’re even faster!  All applicable* screen print orders automatically receive a free upgrade to our 3-5 Day Express Service Turnaround at no extra charge.  This is a savings of 10-20%.   Need something even faster?  No problem, a 1-2 day Express Turnaround Upcharge is 50% off too.  See more details about our Express Services here.


Donate Sweatshirts to Those In Need

November 28, 2017

Have you heard about the Daily Bread Backpack Giveaway?  For the past 9 years, the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen has organized and accepted donations of clothing, socks, and toiletries – and fills around 800-1000 backpacks to be given away to folks in need.  Last year, we were approached to donate any warm clothing we could.  To spread awareness about this kind and generous local organization and event, we are encouraging anyone who can afford to donate towards a few sweatshirts to please do so, and we’ll match your donation. Continue reading “Donate Sweatshirts to Those In Need”

Business Gift Guide

November 17, 2017

It’s not too late to order custom gear for your employees, customers, family and friends in time for the holidays.   Most people know us for screen printing t-shirts, but we have tons more options if you’re looking to give a unique gift this year.  Here are just some of our favorite ideas, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to the customized products we can offer.  Continue reading “Business Gift Guide”

C-U Artist Press

September 6, 2017

We are excited to introduce The C-U Artist Press, a collective online e-commerce platform for local CU area artists to sell their designs on t-shirts, slip mats, and screen printed posters (printed by participants at Weiskamp Poster Printing Workshops). Continue reading “C-U Artist Press”

LIGHTBOX – Tifani Vancil

July 28, 2017

This summer we welcomed our LIGHTBOX featured artist, Tifani Vancil! Walk, bike, or drive by Weiskamp at 312 S Neil St in Champaign IL to see her newest piece, on display through September 15th.  If you’ve ordered shirts from us at Weiskamp, you may have worked with Tifani – she is our Art Director.

Continue reading “LIGHTBOX – Tifani Vancil”

Online Custom T-shirt Stores

August 29, 2019

Did you know we offer online stores for your custom t-shirts?  Whether you’re trying to raise money for a fundraising event, looking for a simple e-commerce option for your designs or need an easier way for folks to pay and submit their t-shirt size, our online store options are designed to be simple and customizable to work for you. Continue reading “Online Custom T-shirt Stores”

Unofficial T-Shirts for U of I

February 22, 2017

If you need Unofficial T-shirts, we’re the fastest place in town.  We produce our own Unofficial T-shirts here in Champaign, and have plenty of designs you can choose from, if you need a little inspiration.  If you have your own design and want t-shirts customized, no problem!  We have no order minimums, so if you’re looking for just one or 500, we can get it done for you.  Continue reading “Unofficial T-Shirts for U of I”

Refer a Friend Program

February 16, 2017

We’re excited to announce our Refer a Friend program!  We’re a small local business, and records show that the #1 way we find new customers is through word of mouth referrals. We grow by folks like you sharing your experiences with your friends, and we really appreciate it!

We asked our customers in a customer survey last summer what the best reward would be if we did create a referral program, and the majority said they would prefer dollars towards their next purchase.  So here we are!

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LIGHTBOX – Matt Wiley

February 16, 2017

This month we welcomed Matt Wiley as our newest Lightbox artist! Walk, bike, or drive by Weiskamp at 312 S Neil St in Champaign IL to see his newest piece, on display now through April 15th.

If you’re involved in the Arts community in Champaign-Urbana, you’ve probably met Matt or have seen his art around the community.  You may have seen his Pechakucha GenderSwap!, or his beautiful windows at the CU Adventures in Time & Space. Continue reading “LIGHTBOX – Matt Wiley”

Pop-Up Poster Printing – Imbibe Urbana

February 2, 2017

Have you been to Urbana First Fridays, organized by Imbibe Urbana?  Every first Friday of each month, Imbibe Urbana hosts all kinds of fun and cool community events in and around downtown Urbana! In February we were invited to host a pop-up poster printing mini-workshop for everyone, from 5:30-8:00.  Folks got hands on and screen printed their own LOVE FOR ALL poster to take home with you.   We were set up in the Cohen Building, across the street from Bohemia at the corner of Race & Vine in downtown Urbana. We were in the same space as Lumen Events, who hosted cocktails for the evening, plus a black-out poetry craft table.

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Valentines Day T-Shirt Giveaway

February 1, 2017

For the past three years, one of our designers has created a Valentine’s Day themed shirt for a t-shirt giveaway we host on Facebook.  25 people that enter the contest on Facebook will win a free tee!  Valentine’s Day is everywhere this time of the year, and we like to create designs that don’t focus on the couple-y aspect of Valentines Day.  We like to focus on designs that are empowering for someone that might not happen to be in a relationship.  The single folks don’t feel as much love around Valentine’s Day, and we don’t think that’s fair!  Our 2015-16 design was a Candy Heart that said, “No Thanks.”

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Happy Holidays from Weiskamp!

December 22, 2016

This time of the year we reflect back and appreciate the many things to be grateful for.  As a local business, one of our favorite things about Weiskamp is being able to get to know people in and around our extended community.  We wouldn’t be Weiskamp without our friendly and loyal customers – thank you so much for your business this year, you guys are truly awesome. Continue reading “Happy Holidays from Weiskamp!”

Prairie Fruits Farm Opens New Store

November 17, 2016

Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, an awesome local farm that makes their own delicious cheeses, is a favorite outdoor destination for the Champaign-Urbana community.  Visiting their farm is always an experience, where you can often taste their cheeses, see how cheese is made, and best of all, visit with their friendly goats! Their brand new store, The Real Stand, offers even more of an experience when you visit.

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LIGHTBOX – Preetika Rajgariah

October 20, 2016

We’re happy to welcome Preetika Rajgariah, our newest LIGHTBOX artist!  Her eye-catching piece, So Exotic, shares a poignant story, and will be on display October 15- January 15, 2017.

Born in New Delhi, India, Preetika Rajgariah is a Houston-based artist who is currently pursuing her MFA at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She received a BFA in Art from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX in 2008 and has completed residencies at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT (2014) and the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY (2010).

Preetika is a visual artist whose work explores themes of migration, diaspora, and cultural identity in the form of multilayered watercolor paintings of masses to installations that use traditional Indian textiles. By utilizing varying degrees of transparency, she investigates the layered result of an increasingly globalized world and the multifaceted experience of populations.

Continue reading “LIGHTBOX – Preetika Rajgariah”

Artist Edition Pygmalion Tees and Totes

September 22, 2016

We are proud to sponsor  The Pygmalion Festival and a be a local vendor at The Made Fest for the third year in a row. What we love most about Pygmalion and The Made Fest is the expression of creativity and sense of community created by the festival. Not only does Pygmalion celebrate music, writing, food, technology, and handmade crafts as creative expression, it brings people together from within and beyond our community.  It’s definitely a treat to be involved with Pygmalion!

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Free Local Delivery in C-U

August 25, 2016

As a convenience feature for you, we offer free local delivery in the Champaign-Urbana-Savoy area! Just let us know when you place your order that you would like to take advantage of the free delivery option and we’ll get  you on the schedule.  Be sure to include all delivery instructions and a contact phone number in case we have any questions.   Continue reading “Free Local Delivery in C-U”

Weiskamp Survey Results

August 24, 2016

A gigantic THANK YOU to everyone who shared their feedback with us from our July newsletter! We sincerely appreciate ALL of your feedback.  We are taking steps to address all the comments and suggestions we received, and wanted to share the overall results with you.  We are excited for some big changes we’ll be announcing soon that will definitely make the design and ordering process a lot easier.

Continue reading “Weiskamp Survey Results”

Proposal T-Shirt Story

July 14, 2016

This picture says it all! There’s always a story behind every t-shirt, and this one in particular was so sweet we just had to share it.  Jake came in asking if we could do just one custom infant t-shirt, and since we have no minimum for orders, we were glad we could help him out with his proposal t-shirt!


Continue reading “Proposal T-Shirt Story”

LIGHTBOX – Cory Imig

July 14, 2016

This summer we welcomed Cory Imig as our newest Lightbox artist!  Walk, bike, or drive by Weiskamp at 312 S Neil St in Champaign IL to see her peice, on display June 15- September 15th, 2016.

Currently, Cory Imig is an MFA student at the University of Illinois. Before moving to Champaign she attended Savannah College of Art and Design where she studied Fiber and Sculpture.  Her work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions across the United States, in spaces such as Charlotte Street Foundation (Kansas City, MO), Hardesty Art Center (Tulsa, OK), ACRE Projects (Chicago, IL), and DEMO Project (Springfield, IL). Continue reading “LIGHTBOX – Cory Imig”

Quick Custom T-Shirts Express Services

June 16, 2016

Need quick custom t-shirts? We’re excited to announce a more affordable pricing structure for local rush orders, our new Express Services.  Need your t-shirts tomorrow without breaking the bank?  No problem, we can help you out with that! Need one t-shirt later today? We can make it happen. Because we do all our printing in-house here in Champaign, IL, we have the ability to meet very quick turnarounds for you.
Continue reading “Quick Custom T-Shirts Express Services”

Weiskamp Garage Sale

June 8, 2016

Mark your calendars for our Epic Weiskamp Garage Sale on Saturday, June 18th from 9AM-4PM!  We’re spring cleaning our warehouse and offering BRAND NEW blank and decorated garments in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Hats, basic t-shirts, dry fit tees, polos, dress shirts, shorts, sweatshirts, quarter zips, full zips, athletic wear and more!  Whether you’re looking for some misprint t-shirts to wear while gardening or looking for a great deal on some nicer items, we bet you’ll find something you like.

Continue reading “Weiskamp Garage Sale”

Homer Soda Fest T-Shirts

May 19, 2016

We’re excited to be live screen printing Homer Soda Fest t-shirts this year!  Our booth will have four different t-shirt designs you can choose from, and we’ll screen print it right in front of you. If you’re curious about screen printing, we love to answer questions.  Some people like to get more hands on and give screen printing a try themselves!

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LIGHTBOX – Jenna Richards

March 24, 2016

We’re delighted to welcome our newest LIGHTBOX artist, Jenna Leigh Richards! Jenna earned her BFA in Ceramics and Fibers from Hite Art Institute at University of Louisville in Kentucky, and currently resides and creates art here in Champaign-Urbana.  Walk or drive by our 312 S. Neil St. storefront to view Jenna Richards’ creative art installation made from knitted fabric remnants, on display March 16 – June 15, 2016.  Continue reading “LIGHTBOX – Jenna Richards”

LIGHTBOX – Angelo Ray Martinez

January 29, 2016

We are honored to host our fourth LIGHTBOX artist,  Angelo Ray Martinez! Originally from Boulder, CO, he’s an undergraduate instructor and third year MFA candidate here at the University of Illinois. Fun fact, he’s married to Melonie Mulkey, our first LIGHTBOX artist!  Walk or drive by our 312 S. Neil St. storefront to view Angelo’s playful art installation made from latex on wood panels and the wall, on display December 15 – March 15, 2016. Continue reading “LIGHTBOX – Angelo Ray Martinez”

LIGHTBOX – Chris Kienke

November 14, 2015

We’re excited to showcase “Flag Bomb, Champaign” as the third art installation featured in our LIGHTBOX program. Chris Kienke is a father, painter and professor at University of Illinois School of Art + Design.  Walk or drive by our 312 S. Neil St. storefront to view Chris’s beautiful collage, on display from September 1st – December 4th, 2015.  Continue reading “LIGHTBOX – Chris Kienke”

It’s a Champaign Life: Business Backstage

October 16, 2015

Would you like your own It’s a Champaign Life t-shirt?  How about actually screen printing it yourself, perhaps while sipping on some delicious wine from Miga? The best part: it’s free! On Tuesday, October 20th from 6:00-7:30, we’re hosting the first of Champaign Center Partnership’s new series It’s a Champaign Life: Business Backstage that explores what goes on behind the scenes at our local businesses in our community.  Register here today, there’s only a few spots left!

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