Meet The Family of Prints | Part 1
For hundreds of years, prints has been the key to expressing a great design on apparel for both personal and corporate use. However, in recent years, the industry has experienced a burst of new innovative techniques that has presented us with new approaches when printing on our apparel.
In this blog, I will focus more on the prints that we have been so accustomed to over the years when looking at Printed Apparel.
Silkscreen Printing is the most frequently used printing method right now in the market which utilizes a stencil (Screen) and mesh which is then covered with a layer of emulsion to block any unwanted ink going through the mesh during printing of the design.
Silkscreen printing is ideal for printing high quality and detailed designs on apparels. This printing method is great for companies looking for near perfect colour reproduction of their logo’s ,provided that the correct Pantone (PMS) code is provided to your local printers. Furthermore, Silkscreen Printing gets more economical and provides impressive quality-price ratio for large print runs especially those with 1-2 colours (100 pieces and above).
However, the turnaround time for Silkscreen printed jobs is longer than Heat Press or Embroidery due to the fact that a new mesh and stencil is needed for each colour that is being printed. Not only that, if there are many colours in a design, the price for printing will get very expensive (especially for quantities below 100 pieces). The best option to reduce cost in this occasion would be using CMYK printing which is able to produce multiple colored prints at a lower cost but the colour accuracy will not be as spot on.
Heat Press Printing
Another commonly used method of printing known as heat transfer is a two-step process which requires the design to be transferred to a paper (Check out how heat transfer paper is made and printed from 0.38) and then heat-pressed onto the garment which causes the adhesive ink to stick on the garment.
Heat Press is perfect for small quantity runs which allows customer to get their orders quickly due to the easy process and also at a much more affordable price when compared to silkscreen printing. On top of that, heat transfer can be done in a variety of colours as well as placements on the garment where it is impossible for silkscreen to replicate. (Eg: Shoulder, Close to Seam, Collar)
Heat press, unlike silkscreen printing is more costly when done in a large quantity and may take up more time due to each artwork needing to be heat pressed individually. Also, It may not look or feel as professional as silkscreen Printed T-shirts due to the print being stiff which causes the shirt be firm and not as breathable.
For many years, embroidery has been considered as one of the most durable methods when decorating apparel. With the combination of Digitized artwork, Automated embroidery machines, and thread can create a detailed image in both texture and depth.
In addition to that, most printed artworks have limited fabrics which it can be printed on, whereas; for embroidery most fabrics is embroidery friendly. On top of that, there is a large variety of coloured threads which you can mix and match to create long-lasting, rich, vibrant colours for your design. Furthermore, unlike silkscreen printing; the number of colours within a logo or design when using embroidery does not add any significant costs.
However, there are a few shortcomings when it comes to embroidery. One that has received the most complaints would be the ability to produced a sharp, detailed image like silkscreen or Heat transfer printing. It is also hard to recreated a gradient with embroidery due to the multiple coloured threads that is required in order to replicate the design.
These are a few of the most commonly used types of print and decorating methods on Apparels around the world. Our next blog will feature some less known, new advanced methods of print that has started to gain traction in recent years.