Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Adventures in Full Color T Shirts

Here at Manx Media, we have had a season of strong demand for full color printing on both light and dark T Shirts, mostly on slinky women's styles from Bella and American Apparel.

We printed the Spring / Summer line for Eden Dawn Apparel of Portland. The line featured 14 items, including six full color designs. It was both a technical and production challenge to pump these clever designs out, but by all accounts the shirts looked great. This is a young designer with a lot of style and a great future, so be sure to visit her site.

Next up was a new color design from beloved kick-ass comedian, Margaret Cho. Margaret is now doing a show called "The Sensuous Woman", and the shirts feature a faux-forties style pin-up illustration of the notorious Cho in full lingerie. Wow! Who knew? This is one of the best shirts we've ever done, it just looks superb (thanks to the great illustration of Margaret by Olivia).

Okay! What have we at Manx Media learned about printing full color on Tees? Simple! With our level of technology, the best results come from enhanced process color printing, usually using an underbase white and either a "popper" spot color, or a high light white. Before this rash of challenging jobs, I usually would go with "simulated process" or index color for full color on a dark shirt; I've had good results with these techniques before. But to tell the truth, I've gained experience and confidence with process printing that makes me ready to tackle more full color images.

One caveat to full process color printing--with the cost of setting up six films and screens for a job, best to consider a minimum of 100 shirts to defray the cost of set up. There are always transfers for short color runs...

Kudos go to David Perkin, my stalwart press operator who couldn't print a bad shirt if you paid him. You're the man, David!

Steve Lafler

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