November '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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5 2 | Printwear N ov e m b e r 20 1 4 Still, there are some restrictions to these inks. For a soft hand on dark garments with plastisol inks, color is usually sacri- ficed, and most people won't go for that. Plastisol's soft hand is also relative. While it's passable, it's not as soft as discharge or water-based printing. And with discharge inks, you're limited to specific colors and fabrics because of dischargeability require- ments. There is no correlation between a soft hand and ink durability, provided the ink is properly formulated. If the surface is smooth and covered with a fully cured plas- tisol, it won't lose color. But if the soft hand is created with a weaker base that doesn't hold a high pigment load, fibrillation will show up after the first wash. It's not that the surface is weak; it's that the fibers popped through and are not coated. Color brightness matters There's a trade-off between brightness and a softer hand, and most customers are more concerned with color. Typically, customers have predefined color expectations and are used to seeing at least one bright color that makes a design pop. Because bright colors are usually the most transparent, you have to build opacity to support them by under- basing or adding white to bring up the color without dulling it. Producing bright color is easier with a plastisol ink because it's more solid, and you can add a higher percentage of pigment. Color systems are available that allow for the addition of an in- finite amount of curable pigment to make the ink as opaque as needed. There are also plastisol ink systems that make it easier to hit a color with one screen. With water-based ink, build the color by creating a white or tonal underbase to make your desired color pop. To get bright colors with discharge inks, use the right ink with a compatible shirt. Discharge and water-based inks generally require a specific process with little to no room for error in order to get bright colors. Plastisol ink is usually more forgiving. graphic-to- garment suCCess Typically, customers are more concerned with get- ting bright color, which can sacrifice some of a garment's soft hand.

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