What Is Halftone Printing?

What is halftone printing

The world of printing uses many techniques to create high-quality prints. One of the most intriguing is by using halftones. But what is halftone printing, and why do we get so many requests for such printing?

We are passionate about bringing your creative visions through high-quality prints on T-shirts and apparel at Thrive Screen Printing. But we are also dedicated to educating you about the different printing techniques you can utilize. 

Let’s find out how to use halftone printing to achieve stunning visual effects!

What Is Halftone Printing?

Halftone printing is a widely used reprographic printing technique. However, few understand the concept and wonder what halftone printing is.

It is a printing method that uses different-sized dots to create the desired print. Besides the sizes of the dots — halftones, halftone printing uses different spacing to achieve a realistic effect. The technique reproduces the photograph’s full tone range or tone artwork. As a result, the final print is an image broken down into a series of dots. 

What Is Halftone Printing
Source: thrivescreenprinting.com

What are halftones in screen printing?

The halftones are, in fact, the little dots that are used in screen printing. They represent the grayscale color value and are created according to the grid. We use them to simulate different shades of a specific color.

In the printing industry, we insert a screen over the plate that is exposed so we can break up the image into a series of dots. With the innovative halftone technique, we can create various shades of one color without a special printer that can lay down different ink shades.

What is the printing halftone process for clothing?

The halftone printing technique can be used on several surfaces, including different types of textiles and clothing. In our screen printing services for T-shirts and apparel, we use the most professional screen printer for halftone printing at Thrive Screen Printing. So, here is a short overview of our halftone process for printing clothes:

  1. We examine the image you want to print and quickly assess how the picture will print on the textile.
  2. We choose the colors together with you.
  3. If needed, we split the image into separate layers for each screen color and prepare each layer.
  4. We print the films.

During the process, we use specialized equipment for halftone printing, such as the finer mesh. Regarding the ink, we use translucent inks because they are one of the best for halftones.

When Is the Halftone Screen Printing Process Used?

The halftone screen printing process offers many opportunities for creating visual effects. However, it is most commonly used as an alternative to gradient printing.

Simply put, it may be impossible to create the perfect gradient picture with different shades of color for some images. Instead, we use halftone screening and the same intensity of ink to print artistic pieces. If you want your T-shirt or other apparel to give the illusion of continuous color, we can use smaller dots for a more convincing effect.

Also, we always recommend using the halftone screen printing technique when you need a detailed design. This includes realistic-looking effects, shades, and images with shadows.

When Is the Halftone Screen Printing Process Used
Source: thrivescreenprinting.com

Important Considerations for High-Quality Halftone Images

To fully understand “What does halftone mean in printing?”, you need to know how we make the prints. For printing high-quality halftone images, we take into consideration three important factors.

The resolution of the halftone screens

We measure the resolution of halftone screens in lines per inch. As the name suggests, we use the measurement to determine the number of lines of dots required in one inch. Also, the dots per inch should be set as twice the value of the LPI.

As a rule of thumb, we will use higher resolution if you want to get a T-shirt or other apparel with the highest resolution. However, the catch is that the resolution of the file you provide is always matched with the output resolution. 

So, the better the pixel reproduction and resolution of the source file, the better the design we can create. Higher resolution means a more convenient optical illusion that the printed image is one whole picture instead of a collection of dots.

Adjusting the design according to the material

One of the most common challenges in the halftone printing industry we may face is the dot gain. Some clothing materials tend to absorb the dots, making the dots appear larger and darker than the initial design. That’s why we always adjust the design and pattern according to the material we need to print the image.

Choosing the ink

The ink that will be used for halftone printing also greatly impacts the final product. Thus, we always recommend using darker ink than the shirt itself. 

What Are the Advantages of Halftone Printing?

Knowing what halftone screen printing is brings the question of why you should consider hiring a contractor that uses this printing technique.

Simulates continuous tones

One of the greatest advantages of halftone printing is that it creates the illusion of continuous tones. This makes the printing technique useful when you need to reproduce photographs.

Additionally, the technique can effectively reproduce intricate details and gradients. Thanks to the different-sized dots, we can capture nuances in shading with halftone printing that can’t be achieved with solid colors and other printing methods.


If you choose us to do a design with halftone printing, you will have the opportunity to choose between different surfaces like paper, fabric, and plastic. If your printing needs require T-shirts or other types of clothes, we are one of the best in the industry you can find.

In addition to the various surfaces, you can generally take advantage of the wide range of colors. You can enable vibrant and visually appealing prints by picking the most suitable ones.


The screen printing we offer is one of the most durable techniques. It, particularly halftone printing, may last as long as the T-shirt or other material used if adequately cared for.

Moreover, compared to digital printing, screen printing offers higher-quality designs. Plus, halftone screen printing gives the end product a more vibrant finish.

Halftone Screen Printing
Source: thrivescreenprinting.com


What is halftone printing? We hope this article has provided a detailed explanation of halftone printing and will help you decide on your printing needs. If you want to print T-shirts or other types of clothes for yourself or your business, we at Thrive Screen Printing can offer you the best services. We can cleverly manipulate the dots to produce prints with remarkable detail and fidelity. Contact us if you want to use this cost-effective and versatile printing technique!