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The Modern Method
Is The Method Right For You? Let's Explore The Pros and Cons
In Layman's terms, screen printing is the process of pushing dye, pigment, or ink through a stencil onto a flat surface to lay down a design. It can be used to print onto a huge amount of materials but the most common are clothing and paper.
Screen printing is thought to have originated in its recognisable form in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). The method was introduced to Europe from Asia sometime in the late 18th century but did not get much use until silk mesh was made more readily available.
During the early part of the 20th century, several printers experimented with photo-reactive chemicals used at the time in traditional photography and this is where the process for techniques still used today originates from.
A large amount of credit is given to Andy Warhol for popularising screen printing as an artistic technique from the 1960s onwards. His works in bold and vibrant colour played a huge part in getting screen printing to where it is now and many of the methods that we use today stem from artists such as Andy Warhol, Arthur Okamura, and Roy Lichtenstein, to name but a few.
Nowadays, although screen printing is used by artists the world over, screen printing has developed into much more than an art form. It is chemistry, maths, manual labour, and art rolled into one!
The Modern Method
Today, screen printing is all about accuracy and detail. As we’ve previously touched on, screen printing can be used to print on a huge amount of surfaces which include clothing and accessories, paper and card, wood and even metal as long as the surface being printed on is flat.
We divide the process of printing into 8 steps:
Design creation - Simple designs work best for screen printing
Screen preparation - This is where we clean, dry, and prep our screens
Exposing the emulsion - A design printed on acetate is placed under the screen which has been coated and dried and then a powerful light source ‘burns’ the design onto the mesh.
Rinse - The stencil is washed out to allow ink to pass through where the design has been exposed.
Print prep - This is where we line up the design on our printing press and run a test print
Printing - YAY
Drying - Screen printing inks need to be dried and cured - This is where the water particles are forced out of the ink using heat.
Final checks and clean up - PHEW!
Is it the right method for you?
This question is entirely down to the desired result along with your artwork. We’ve broken down screen printing as a method into pros and cons but if you have any questions regarding your design then please get in touch.
Higher quality results and more durable when compared to digital printing. A screen printed design can last a lifetime if properly taken care of.
Can be used to print on a huge variety of materials. Pretty much anything that has a flat surface can be screen printed.
Can achieve very high levels of detail but is best used for simpler artwork and designs. This makes it the ideal choice for logos, company names, and graphics. Check out our gallery to see some of our past clients and examples of our work.
Set up times. This is probably the biggest flaw with screen printing as a lot of time has to go into each design.
Limited colours. What we mean by this is the number of colours. Screen printing might not be the best choice of method if you have a photography-based design or something with a large range of colours. This is simply because each colour requires its own screen and therefore increases set-up times and cost. While printing a design with a large array of colours it is entirely possible we can’t promise that your wallet would like it!
While screen printing isn’t the right method for all jobs, it is suitable for most of them and can help your brand, business or event really stand out with its high quality and extremely durable finish.
Along with this, the service we provide is incredibly eco-conscious and therefore reduces your impact on the planet when compared to other print studios. In other words, you and your customers can look awesome whilst knowing that you’ve done your bit for good ol’ mother nature.
Contact us today to discuss your screen printing needs.