November '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Graphic-to- Garment Success Achieving the right look and hand b y R a y S m i t h 48 | Printwear N ov e m b e r 20 1 4 W ith almost any screen printed garment, the look and hand of the print set the overall tone and make the first im- pression on customers. Screen print buyers primarily judge work quality by the look and hand, and both attributes play huge roles in customer satisfaction. Achieving the right hand and look with clean, bright colors or a worn, distressed appearance isn't always easy, and sometimes the ink requirements seem at cross-purpos- es. But exploring the options can pay off in a balance of look, hand, and functionality that adds value to the product and distin- guishes your business as one that knows and cares what it's doing. Producing a smooth Print Generally, customers look for a smooth print with rich, bright colors but without weight or bulk, except for athletic wear and some special effects. Customers want prints that drape well and are soft, comfort- able, and breathable, especially for fashion wear. Even if a customer willingly sacrifices brightness for a soft hand, he or she typical- ly still wants a smooth-to-the-touch print. However, the challenge is consistently producing full, bright colors on all gar- ments while laying down as little ink as possible—bearing in mind that a thinner coat can reduce opacity. This doesn't always require a trade-off, but covering fibers to keep them from coming through the ink in Ray Smith has been in the screen printing industry since 1978. He has been involved as an art director, production manager, plant manager, and business owner. He rejoined Wilflex in 2008 as the applications lab manager and is charged with benchmarking products, investigating ink inquiries, and testing new inks and applications. Contact him at To get the brightest colors, plastisol ink works best be- cause it's more solid and al- lows for a higher percentage of pigment. (All images cour- tesy Polyone/Wilflex Inks) Your n Intermediate

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