Printwear

October '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R 5 7 TAKING IT DIGITAL This is where it becomes challenging but also fun. During the whole digital rendering process, always have these three things in the front of your mind: • Color scheme • Garment type/fabric • Specialty ink add-ons These are important to create a T-shirt that looks authentic. APPLYING DISTRESS TEXTURES This is where the real magic happens. The step where the differen- tiation between a good and great design become clear. This is where you need to think through the rest of the design process from screen printing to the customer wearing the T-shirt. Think about how the ink from a vintage T is worn out and the spots where the ink comes off. How did the elements affect our fa- vorite ghost signs from old buildings? Think as a sign painter on a window and how the brush strokes are part of the design. The non-uniformity and flow of being analog gives more interest and a handmade element. Don't just use stock fonts! While there are plenty of "vintage fonts" available, the goal is to create the most authentic piece for your cus- tomer. By taking a stock font and then manipulating it, your design will have idiosyncrasies in line with the quirks of the past. Montiel starts by taking the font and applying roughened, round corners, and offset paths. This starts to change the font and give it more edge and uniqueness. We hand draw the main fonts for certain designs, but with this design we started with hard edged shapes. We begin to build up the design in areas and then take away coverage that utilizes the garment color which starts to give the natural weathered look. We combined four to six different textured brushes to make up one vintage design. We also want to distress it enough so the end print won't be a heavy blob of ink. On some of the vintage T-shirts we analyzed, the top layer of ink peeled away to reveal the original under base that gives that show- through look. We kept the core shape of the elements intact to give some structure and depth. We usually keep the bottom print tonal to the garment or keep the top layer a darker color and the eroded print white. Since Montiel and I love integrating specialty inks in our T-shirts, we wanted to bring in the element of crackle ink to give the dis- tressed vintage design even more aging. Crackle is a nice way to make the print look like it has been washed a thousand times. You can see how the beginning structure is still visible, but now it has variations of wear and distress. Color brings it to life. Now we are almost there. The moment you start to turn it from computer screen to screen printing screens. Montiel started his ca- reer as a screen washer, moving to press operator to production artist and then to an art director and understands how the design will come out in production. While it could take some experimentation, you want to make sure the print does the design justice. Think about how you can mix screen mesh, squeegee pressure, print sequence, ink type, and garment/fabric type. I know you can't always take the time to R & D, but I encourage you to find what works with your design and production teams to solidify that what is on screen trans- lates to the print. When done right, an authentic looking vintage T-shirt will become a favorite in the end wearer's closet. PW Jeremy Picker is the Creative Director and CEO at AMB3R Creative, a Colorado based apparel design firm. He has over 20 years experience in the fashion industry and brings a depth of knowledge in custom design, screen printing, embroidery, appliqué, finishing, and promotional products. Jeremy has helped numerous brands launch and grow and managed merchandise for major label bands. He is also passionate about creating retail quality for the non-profit sector to fuel fundraising efforts and to expand awareness. His current clients list spans from churches to restaurants to corporations. He is a cancer survivor and a cofounder of ESTAINE, a high-end accessory line to support cancer education efforts. Jeremy spends his free time doing market research and has one of the best self-proclaimed Pinterest profiles for apparel and accessories inspiration.

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