The Complete Guide to Quick Turnaround Screen Printing

Emma Hewitt
March 5, 2024

In the fast-paced world of printing, quick turnaround times can make all the difference between meeting client deadlines and losing out on valuable opportunities. As a screen printer, we’ve discovered that mastering quick turnaround screen printing involves careful planning, efficient workflows, and leveraging the right tools and techniques to streamline the entire process without compromising on quality. Read on to understand how we at Extreme Screen Prints are able to accomplish a fast turnaround without sacrificing the high standards that we’re known for.

Understanding Quick Turnaround Screen Printing

Pre-Press Preparation

Design Preparation: Artwork must be separated and prepared for being burned to screens. Depending on the number of colors and print methods needed, this process can take anywhere from 10 minutes for a 1-color print, to several hours for a high-color simulated process print. Working efficiently and accurately in this phase is important to make sure we can have enough time for the rest of the printing process.

Screen Preparation: Being detail-oriented when it comes to making sure screens are prepped for artwork is crucial, especially when working on a tight timeline. The last thing anyone wants is to have a job set up on press only to realize a screen hasn’t been coated properly or the design hasn’t been fully washed out after being exposed. To turn your order around quickly, we take extra care in our process to get things done right the first time.

Ink and Color Matching: Before the order even gets to press, we assign each color in your design a Pantone® Solid Coated color and confirm the inks are accurately mixed. This way, there are no questions on color accuracy as we have a standard to match to each and every time.

Efficient Printing Setup

Automated Equipment: We use ROQ® automatic presses that help our printing press operators breeze through orders efficiently and accurately. Using an automatic press ensures a consistent pressure, speed, and application throughout the entire run. 

Registration Systems: Registration is perfected at the very beginning of a job’s run on press before a production strike-off is approved by our customer service team. We use a tri-lock system and visual lasers to make sure all prints and garments are lined up and loaded precisely each time.

Streamlined Production Processes

Batch Printing: Grouping similar print jobs together minimizes setup changes and maximizes efficiency. This reduces downtime associated with switching between different designs or garments. For example, we run all of our orders with sleeve prints together on the same presses to avoid needing to swap out shirt pallets for sleeve pallets in between every job.

Trained Staff: Our staff, all the way from our press operators to our dryer team members, are counting and quality checking as the order runs its course to make sure any issues are addressed as soon as possible. 

Flash Curing: Incorporating flash curing between color layers accelerates the drying process and facilitates faster production speeds. Flash units with adjustable intensity and dwell times offer flexibility in controlling curing speeds.

Quality Control Measures

Regular Maintenance: We make it a priority to maintain our printing equipment and screens regularly to prevent downtime due to malfunctions or defects. Cleaning screens and replacing worn-out components ensures consistent print quality.

Test Prints: Conducting test prints and quality checks throughout the production run helps identify any issues early on and make necessary adjustments. This prevents wastage of materials and ensures customer satisfaction with the final products. Every single order is reviewed and approved by the order’s account specialist to ensure all expectations for the order are met. 

Tips for Success in Quick Turnaround Screen Printing

Communication is Key

Maintaining open and clear communication with clients to manage expectations regarding turnaround times and project requirements is crucial. Providing regular updates on the progress of their orders builds trust and satisfaction. We’re committed to excellent and timely communication with our clients and we’re often praised for it! We often hear that new customers choose to do business with us because of our customer service chops.

Training and Development

Continuously investing in training and upskilling our team enhances their efficiency and proficiency in screen printing techniques. Well-trained staff significantly contribute to faster turnaround times and superior print quality. Our office staff are also highly knowledgeable in screen printing so that nothing is over promised, overlooked, or miscommunicated throughout the ordering and production process. 

Optimize Workflow Efficiency

Analyzing our production workflow regularly helps identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement. Streamlining processes, eliminating unnecessary steps, and automating repetitive tasks maximize efficiency and minimize production time. We’re constantly looking for ways to make our processes more efficient and keep communication clear across all departments. 

Build a Reliable Supply Chain

Establishing strong relationships with suppliers ensures timely delivery of materials and components required for screen printing. Having a reliable supply chain minimizes delays and enables smoother production operations. We’re ordering from several of our suppliers nearly every single day, so we’re tuned into the ins and outs of how they operate and the turnaround times we can expect from each one.

What is Considered Quick Turnaround Screen Printing?

At Extreme Screen Prints, we have a standard production turnaround time of 10-15 business days. This can vary depending on a number of factors.

  • Number of colors in the design: If the design has a high color count, that will determine what press we need to print the order on. A higher color count design will have more screens required to print it and will therefore be assigned to a press with more heads. Each press has a different workload each week, and some are often scheduled more tightly than others. We will always hit your agreed upon in-hands date, guaranteed, but the quickest turnaround possible does depend on our current workload.
  • Type of artwork: If your design is a simulated process print, or photorealistic print, this will require extra time and attention both before heading to press and while in production to ensure the best quality result. We are thoroughly experienced in this type of printing, but it does still take time.
  • Number of garments: Printing 50 pieces doesn’t take much less time than 100 pieces due to the amount of time it takes to set up a press and get it ready for production. Once the press is moving and production gets started, we can fly through a couple hundred pieces. Once quantities start to reach 500, 750, or 1000 pieces, this is where we will need to ensure that enough time is accounted for to get your order out the door in a timely manner.
  • Finishing Services: When adding on a finishing service to your apparel order, such as fold & bag, printed tags, or hang or hem tag applications, these do add a certain number of business days onto our fastest turnaround time depending on the quantity of your order. To ensure your order leaves our facility looking sharp, we can’t rush through these extra services.

All of that said, our lower color count orders, such as 1-3 colors, have the fastest turnaround available. On average, without any extra finishing services, we’re able to push these orders out the door within 5-8 business days. Any orders with more colors will typically have an 8-12 business day turnaround. In order to guarantee a quick turnaround, we are sometimes able to offer expedited production for a rush fee depending on press time availability. We don’t like to charge extra fees, but sometimes we must in order to get you a prime spot on our schedule and to pay our team accordingly if extra hours are required. *These are only estimates and do not guarantee that we will be able to push your particular order through that quickly. Please contact us to see how fast we can get your order out the door.


Mastering quick turnaround screen printing has been a journey of continuous learning and improvement for us Extreme Screen Prints, but where we are today, we’re proud to offer high quality printing at fast turnaround times without sacrificing care and attention. By optimizing pre-press preparation, investing in automated equipment, streamlining production processes, and implementing quality control measures, we’ve been able to enhance our printing efficiency and meet tight deadlines with ease. With a focus on delivering exceptional results and a commitment to continuous improvement, we have emerged a leader in the fast-paced world of screen printing.

Choosing Extreme for your quick turnaround screen printing order will be a smart investment. We’ll get your order done right. Reach out to us today to see how we can help get your apparel out the door as soon as possible. 

Emma Hewitt
Last Updated:
March 5, 2024