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The Why and How of Screen Printing Set-Up Fees - Sage Screenprinting

The Why and How of Screen Printing Set-Up Fees

If you've ever ordered custom-printed products, you might have noticed an additional charge known as a "set-up fee." In this blog post, we'll explain why screen printers charge a set-up fee and why it's a necessary part of the process.

What Is a Set-Up Fee?

A set-up fee is a fee that screen printers charge to cover the costs associated with preparing your design for printing. It encompasses various pre-production activities required to ensure your design is transferred accurately and effectively onto the chosen items. Here are some of the key reasons why screen printers charge a set-up fee:

1. Artwork Preparation: Before the actual printing process begins, the artwork provided by the customer needs to be prepared for screen printing. This includes tasks like color separation, image resizing, and making sure the design is compatible with the printing equipment. Skilled graphic designers and color separation specialists are often involved in this step, ensuring your design looks its best.

2. Screen Creation: Screen printing relies on screens (mesh stencils) to transfer ink onto the surface. Each color in your design requires a separate screen. Creating these screens is a labor-intensive process involving coating screens with emulsion, exposing them to your artwork, and then rinsing and drying them. This process must be repeated for each color in your design.

3. Ink Mixing: Achieving the precise colors in your design requires custom mixing of ink. Screen printers carefully match ink colors to your specifications, which can be a time-consuming task.

4. Set-Up and Calibration: Setting up the printing equipment, aligning the screens accurately, and performing test prints to ensure color registration and quality are all part of the set-up process. This ensures your final product meets the desired standards.

5. Cleaning and Maintenance: After the job is completed, the screens need to be cleaned thoroughly to remove any ink residue. Regular maintenance of printing equipment is essential to maintain quality and consistency.

What Are Reprint Set-Up Fees?

In the case of reprints, we already have saved all of the digital files from your prior orders. However, we still need to do steps 2-5 from the above.


Why Is Any of This Necessary?

Screen printing set-up fees may seem like an additional cost, but they serve several crucial purposes:

1. Quality Assurance: Proper set-up ensures that your custom products are printed accurately, with vibrant colors and precise details. It guarantees that you get a high-quality final product that matches your expectations.

2. Efficiency: The set-up process streamlines the actual printing, making it more efficient. This helps screen printers keep costs down and offer competitive pricing.

3. Customization: Screen printing is versatile and allows for customization, even for smaller orders. Set-up fees make it economically viable for screen printers to handle custom work.

In conclusion, while set-up fees may increase the initial cost of your custom-printed items, they are essential for maintaining the quality and efficiency of the screen printing process. Without these fees, it would be challenging for screen printers to offer customization and produce high-quality products. So, the next time you place an order for custom-printed goods, remember that the set-up fee is an investment in the quality and uniqueness of your items.

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