Simulated Process Printing

What is simulated process printing?

Screen print halftones

Simulated process printing is the method of silkscreen printing in which ink colors are blended together. By using halftones, simulated process mixes colors together to brew up complex hues and shades that would otherwise be unfeasible by spot color alone. 

Combining the diverse processes of silkscreen separation, simulated process enables designers to manifest their silkscreened products to reflect their digital artwork accurately. To understand how simulated process works, it is crucially important for designers to have a strong understanding of basic silkscreen separation principles and techniques.

What is Separation?

In silkscreen printing, each screen that is used is assigned to one color for the entire print process. Our in house graphic designers will identify what colors are used for the design and then single out specific colors within the design to be assigned to singular screens.

Screen print separations


Spot color is the most basic silkscreen separation principle, in which whole colors are separated to create singular shapes. They do not mix with other colors within a silkscreen design.

Our silkscreen machines have the capacity to print up to 12 colors. When a design has colors that go beyond the 12 color limit, our team will incorporate simulated process to interpret the art on silkscreen. 

What identifies art that needs simulated process?

Typically when art has colors that reach beyond 12 colors or has intensive shading and detail, simulated process will be needed to achieve these elements in silkscreen printing. Traditional spot color separation is extremely graphic, meaning that it has strong shapes and hard lines. Spot color does have its strengths visually, but when it comes to conveying gradients, shading and subtle hues, simulated process is the way to go.

Simulated process


How does simulated process work?

Simulated process, like spot colors, is a separation process in which our graphic designer will single out the most prominent colors within an artwork and blend them together with other screens. In order to have a better understanding of how simulated process blending works, it is important to understand what halftones are.

Halftones are tiny dots that simulate continuous-tone imagery. They vary in size and spacing but in effect, they generate a gradient-like effect. When halftone dots are seen up close they just look like tiny little dots that are spaced in a grid like pattern. When you take a step back, those little dots disappear and the illusion of a gradient or shade appears. This subtle application of printmaking has been incorporated in not just silkscreen printing but also lithography and intaglio printing for ages. 

When incorporating separate halftone dots of various colors, simulated process can create tons of color combinations. For example, mixing yellow and blue halftones can give off the appearance of green. 


Half tones

Fig. 3 Left: Halftone dots zoomed in. Right: Example of what halftones look from a distance. 

Half tone artwork
Fig. 4 Example of simulated process art

If you are an artist or designer with colorful or intricately detailed artwork and you’d like to screen print them on garments, you know the place to go. Here at Money Merch, our top notch production team can make your art manifest in the highest quality on garments. Our extensive experience and history is unmatched.

Contact us at (714) 900-7290 or email us at, we can set up an appointment for you to check out our simulated process silkscreen prints and other production processes we provide.