Screen Printing …. why?
There are many ways to get an image onto a garment — screen printing of course, but also digital printing, litho transfers, and screen printed transfers…they are all available from October.
Digital is super detailed, and we think have created some lovely examples – there are some size restrictions, it can’t go quite as massive as screen print, and our biggest concern it should be said, is that is that it may now be too widely available – does it give us the ability to really stand out from all the others? But it has it’s place with shorter print runs of multi coloured images.
Litho and screen printed transfers…offering a nice high detail, but not our favourite as they provide a slightly papery finish, and again, how can we make you different by perhaps having the texture of a solvent based ink, next to a lovely soft water based print, with a sneaky touch of 3D high build…maybe even a gloss, a metallic, or foil? Not effects for effects sake, but where applicable.
Screen printing is really what we’re about – hand printed, in England, by craftsmen willing to admit to owning a dodgy tattoo. There are a lot of decisions for us to make around artwork films, screen meshes and tensions, we’ll talk you through that, but your main choice is what ink to use…
Solvent based inks — the most common screen printing ink, they will provide strong vibrant colours, and because they sit slightly more on top of the garment, create a more clean and graphic line. Because they are more on the surface of the T-shirt or sweatshirt though, they will create more texture, ideal for a more old school American feel, but if your feeling a bit more All Saints than Stussy, you may want to consider…
Water based inks — standard water based inks are more penetrative, so they will feel a part of the garment for a softer screen printed feel. Because they are right inside the garment, when washed the fabric fibres will come through the ink creating a more vintage look, which you may love, or not love…we can show you examples. They are used for screen printing darker colours with soft texture onto lighter garments, but where you want lighter colours onto darker garments, you will need
Discharge Inks — discharge inks are almost like screen printing a bleach, they’re not really, but just to give you the idea…they will remove the dye of the garment, and replace it with a pigment, as if by baffling magic when at high temperature in a tunnel dryer. Just the job for getting bright colours onto dark garments, while keeping the texture nice and soft.
Screen printing can also provide special effects, where relevant to the design:
Gloss — a screen printed ink that when heat pressed with a special gloss paper will provide a really shiny finish.
Foil — again, detailed adhesive screen prints can then have a foil heat pressed onto them, filling the design with all manner of bling, an ting…word.
High build — a solvent based screen printed ink, containing magic moon dust that will make it rise up like a loaf of bread, into a fascinating 3D effect. We like these in small areas that customers don’t even notice when they buy the garment, and then go ‘hello, what the bloody hell is that?’… at a later date’
Metallics — screen printed inks that contain small fragments of a distant star, adding sparkle to the dullest occasions.
Other screen printed inks — there are more…phosphorescents, neons, etc, etc…give us a call when you’ve got an hour. So you see, it’s tricky, but within that trickiness is the chance to be special and different…which is why we love screen printing the best.
What do you do next?
If you’re starting a new brand, or your surname is St Lauren, there’s no substitute for a proper chat on the phone, or preferably a visit, but we will need:
· Your artwork — at 300 dpi at the print size, preferably in Illustrator or Photoshop if possible…if not, just send us what you have.
· Some thoughts on your preferred type of screen print…just say ‘I’d like to rub it on my cat’s face, so it needs to be nice and soft’ or, ‘I may be involved in a drive by, please can I have a life saving rubberised ink’…it’s always a good start point.