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Quality Screen Printing
On Time Since 1985
© 2013 Neil Prime-Coote Contact Me

The longstanding trend  in screen printing from our experience is that the vast majority of volume of  decoration work on apparel is traditionally done in 1 to 3 colour prints. As far as our experience at Beaverbrook Co . popularity for 4 colour process  and spot process  printing that achieve photographic or highly realistic effects is also still very healthy and in demand. Lately there has been a developing trend  for special-effects printing as evidenced by every season’s line of major retail  brands that seem to be utilizing one specialty technique or another. Ultimately many of these trends spill over to the corporatewear and special event aparrel markets . The emphasis now seems to be on  special-effect printing that is entirely graphic or design driven  (as it should be for spectacular & truly unique effects ) rather than being  driven by specialty technique printing  for it's own sake. The specialty technique is secondary to a quality engineered  graphic complemented by intelligent & thoughtful use of specialty ink (and usually in the writer's  experience  "less is more " for impact , effect and wearability reasons )  rather than just for a one dimensional approach of making a weak design "pop". Here are some integrated specialty decoration effects that we have achieved  at Beaverbrook Co :
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Printing for hand  Soft-hand prints can be achieved in a number of ways, but consider the possibilities of using soft-hand prints as parts of larger designs or as background color components of more complex  prints. A design can use many different levels of hand in the same print for different effects. Inks of varying viscosity can be  used to produce an accurate representation of the details of a sketched illustration or a painting . Heavy-bodied ink can used where multiple layers of cross hatching overlap and in the richer colors of the illustration. Much thinner,  inks can be used where the line work and shading in the design fade into the garment. The **varying levels of hand in the print contribute can enrich look of the design or reproduce a painterly effect. Specially treated  and mixed inks used in the graphic lend themselves to varying hand feels & visual effects that can yield rich variations in print look and hand feel .
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**"Multimedia" Printing Very unique prints can be produced by using any of the techniques mentioned in this article in a thoughtful and strategic manner  to yield a striking organic whole of combined effects . Again this must be a  graphic or design driven process to be effective . Examples of multimedia printing would be using flock , conventional flat spot screen printing and fine puff or high density stitch marks to create the overall effect of a much more expensive "sewn on" applique or chenille look to a garment . Realistic photographic process printing can be combined with high opacity metallic inks or  foil or "glow in the dark" ink (see ink types below ) to create a unique multimedia print effect  for example as well. There are many more multimedia combinations possible . All that is needed is creative flair and inspiration , combined with the solid advice and execution of  qualified and experienced screen printing company professionals.
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Faux Embroidery can be achieved  when Puff ink ( which is plastisol ink with an additive in it that causes the ink to rise ,much like yeast  does in bread, when the print is exposed to the heat of the curing dryer )  is used as an under print, to simulate embroidery that is  stitched on  top of a print.  With this technique the shirt remains much softer and wearable  than  it would with  actual "sewn-on" embroidery . Again here,  as usual " more is less",   as by using this effect on a small area of the total print , you can enhance the soft hand feel , comfort and wearability of the item and thus "value add" the garment  further. This fairly subtle treatment shouldn't  overpower the graphic. It shouldn't be used purely  for the novelty of the effect, but rather because it works well with the specifically engineered  graphic , garment style or specialty item , and / or  reduces the cost of production compared to embroidery.
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Distressed Soft hand  or Cracked Heavy coat ink effects  Distressed techniques and washed simulations have been popular and continue to be strong as popular variations of soft-hand printing. The general  "Vintage" theme trend it seems continues this coming year . Soft hand ink & graphic screen effects can be used to simulate a heavily washed and worn print. Screens with high mesh counts, very thin ink, manual variations in squeegee pressure as well as very hard squeegees are used to limit the total amount of ink laid down on the garment and enhance the effect . Another distressed effect that can be used is thickly applied ink that is passed through a coarser screen for printing of a graphic that has been altered "artwork wise" to appear **cracked and or peeled with age . In a multi media twist, soft hand halftone printing can also be applied to the same cracked effect print to give a " sun or wash faded" effect ( ie. basically creating  a multi media style print ) 
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**Foil Metallic ink and "Glow in the dark" ink Foil and higher opacity  metallic prints have again been very strong recently across all age ranges. It is common to see young men as well young ladies wearing garments  with bold foil prints or applique type effects. Foil and high opacity metallic ink is  an original and  basic special effect application. The foil adhesive is ink, so it is printed as such. After the adhesive has been printed, its cured. Then, the foil is applied like a transfer. Keep in mind also that foil will adhere to any plastisol ink. You won’t get the same coverage as with a foil adhesive, but with some imagination, a wide variety of special-effect foil applications is achievable. The transfer part of the foil application is an additional process needed after the actual "printing" of the adhesive 

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