July '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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4 2 P R I N T W E A R J U L Y 2 0 1 9 HD Ink offers a wet look for a high-tech feel. (Im- age courtesy Denver Print House) PUFF OR HD INK A great way to elevate a standard screen- printed T that creates texture and depth is puff or HD ink. Most shops offer spe- cialty inks or have access to them, but the power comes from knowing how to use them. Specifically when & where to use them. The statement "all because you can, doesn't mean you should" applies to all specialty inks. I've seen so many prints that make the design worse because they used puff ink with too much coverage, or the puff was so chunky it looked like a mistake. The trend of using puff ink for oversized name drops on the back of a relaxed gameday jersey seems to fit, but all other applications of puff should be thought through. We use HD a lot for outlining a block of text instead of the full letters. I also like to utilize 1/2" stripes using full HD or left- chest logos that have the main icon or text in negative (aka shirt showing through). Puff ink works great for animal prints, children's characters, and cartoons. Streetwear is the most popular style that uses puff ink. In fact, Kanye West just launched his 'church merch' at Coachella music festi- val using oversize puff ink on fleece, Ts, and joggers. HD ink also works for sporty looks and futuristic/technology driven designs. Show your client the advantages of adding some raised ink to give their design a more distinctive look. OVER ZIPPER PRINTING Over the zipper prints seem to be one of the most difficult placements to achieve a clean look, and I have only seen a handful of printers who do it with excellence. I don't have the technical experience on how to best make it work, but I'll share a few tips from what I have seen though my research. 1. The costliest method, but easiest to prep, utilizes the platens that have a 'valley' prebuilt. They allow for easier loading and help with more consistent placement. 2. Add adhesive-backed foam to plat- ens to leave a gap for the zipper to sit down in. This will also help create a valley. Having a covered zipper placket is the ideal option when printing over zippers, but it is possible to get a nice split print with open zippers if you de- sign for it. 3. With open zippers, I have seen people add masking tape over the zipper or tape to the middle of the screen so the ink doesn't come out in that area. This still gives a higher possibility of tearing your screens or getting extra ink on the garment. But with all business, you have to do what works, and that will take some experimenting. Education and managing expectations for your customer is vital with this process. Pos- sible ink build ups or breaks in the print are common due to the uneven print surface. Designing with the zipper in mind is im- portant for a great result. We add heavier distressed textures in the design near the zipper so there is less ink deposit. This gives some leeway so that inconsistencies won't mess up the final product. While the risk is high, a good over the zipper print will give your clients a special garment with retail appeal. FIVE METHODS Using puff ink sparingly adds visual and textural interest without creating a heavy or clumpy mess. (Images courtesy AMB3R Creative) Over zipper printing is one of the harder applica- tions, but it can be done in multiple ways with care. (Image courtesy AMB3R Creative)

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