February '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 101 of 108

From Software to Substrate Graphics Hot Spot t-shirt design 101 continued from page 20 continued from page 29 continued from page 64 the path effect tool so we could adjust the offset to -0.05. Next, we opened our stroke panel to adjust the weight to 2 pts and checked the dashed line box to give us the stitch effect on the edges of the type. To vary the stitch size and to make it appear more realistic, we set the first dash at 5 pt, the first gap to 3 pt, set the second dash to 6 pt and the second gap to 2 pt, and so on. Since we built all of this in spot colors and in Illustrator, it was already separated and ready for output. A color management system can be set to choose between ways of mapping: photometric mapping of continuous tone art or photographs, or colorimetric of vector graphics and the like. The electronic color management system characterizes each of your devices. The set of data that characterizes a color input or output device or a color space according to the standards of the International Color Consortium is known as an ICC Profile. These profiles are lookup tables that describe the properties of the various color spaces. They define the most saturated colors available in the color space, for example, the reddest red and the deepest black your printer can produce. Accurate profiles are the key to good color management and good workflow in your business. That means that your sublimation transfers, direct-tosubstrate/garment printing and other printing will match what you see on your monitor without a lot of guessing. Is the square/rectangular advertisement going to make a good shirt that people wear? Consistent or not with a marketing plan, there's no real advertising value at all if the shirt isn't something people will wear. The real work We exposed the background plate on a 230 tpi (threads per inch) mesh with a thin stencil for a soft hand. The background inks were cut with a fashion soft base (additive). We printed black on storm gray garments and Texas orange on the navy. For the "twill" part of the graphic, we mixed the ink to a stone and mid gray with a sculpture base. The sculpture would print on an 83 tpi 70 u (micron) thread, which is smaller than standard. The special effect ink also requires a thicker-than-normal ink deposit, so we used a 200 u capillary film to accommodate the dimension we were trying to accomplish. Finally, the stitch screen would print white puff. For that, we used a 110 mesh coated with a high solids pure photopolymer emulsion for a thicker ink deposit to leave that texture of real stitching. We exposed, developed, dried, taped and inspected the screens after imaging. Just three screens total. Using our registration fixture on press made setup easy. This imagery set up with the soft distressed background outline first, then the HD screen, followed by a flash and a cool and finally the puff on top. The first strike off was pretty dialed in. A small micro adjustment and we were good to go. The twill areas had some dimension and the puff stitches rose in the dryer for just the right height to feel almost like stitches. We have built some pretty complicated screen prints to simulate other decorating techniques, but we can't beat a three color that works as well as this did. Gotta love it! pw Color resources Whether the application is sublimation, digital direct printing or flexible media printing, color management is the same. So, you want to pull it all together. A profile is available for most digital devices in your shop and can be downloaded from the device manufacturer. The International Color Consortium at is a good place to start. If a profile is available and not installed on your system, you can use their Profile Search to locate ICC Profiles for the devices in your system. If there is no profile available, it may be the device is intended to use a standard RGB color space such as sRGB. Of course, if you are adventurous and have some knowledge of color and your devices, you can write your own. A good place to start is by downloading "Building ICC Profile-the Mechanics and Engineering" by Dawn Wallner from the ICC website. pw Stop the Bleeding Designs that run off the bottom of the shirt, off the sleeve, and/or over the collar (called a bleed) can look good but have to be done carefully. In paper printing, bleeds are simply printed on a larger piece of paper that is cut down so the color looks to go right off the edge. A bleed of that type is not possible with T-shirts (unless we're talking pre-fabrication prints). There are ways to do it, but they are time consuming and expensive and range from slightly messy to very messy depending on the exact print. Worth the Effort? There is a recent trend of wrap designs where graphics are designed to print all the way around the bottom of the shirt, or up and over the shoulder, or those that ride over buttons, seams or pockets. There is a place for such designs, but it probably isn't on 30 shirts for a fraternity. Not only are they difficult to execute, but consider what happens when the wraparound print must go on sizes S up to 3X. This entails using seven different sizes of screens that you'll print three times. Such prints often only look good on mockups, are sometimes impossible and, when possible, are prohibitively expensive. Keep Calm, Design On Some of these principles may seem obvious. But unfortunately, they end up all around us and give our industry a bad name. Take time to consider basic rules and fundamentals in the design process. Steer clients away from ill-selections and prove your worth as a creative professional. Editor's Note: Go to tips to get advice on best design practices, plus insight on how to execute them in production. pw 2013 February Printwear PW_FEB13.indd 91 | 91 1/18/13 10:31 AM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Printwear - February '13