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Explanation of textile printing issues

                       
Update:25-12-2020
Summary:

Recently my client printing fabric has branched out int […]

Recently my client printing fabric has branched out into garment printing based on her proprietary color formulas. Even though these clothes will be fashionable, what will make them stand out from their competition is the specific colors my client is selling. That is, she’s really not just in the clothing business. She’s in the business.That said, my client has been choosing vendors to produce her garments. Many of them are online commercial printing establishments. I have been helping my client with these choices, giving her feedback and suggestions. In one case recently with a new vendor, my client sent in a color pattern for printing on a polyester chiffon fabric.It was just for a one-off sample, but she selected the sample pattern without confirming the colors.

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Or, rather, she made her color decisions based on the appearance of the art on her computer screen rather than the colors in her color swatch book.The yellow scarf sample came back with a slightly greenish gold cast. My client and her financial partner were not pleased. So my client came back to me to ask what had happened.The first thing I said to my client was that the problem with the scarf was information not a failure.I remember when I learned this lesson almost thirty years ago, when a cover matchprint proof for a book had looked horrible. An associate of mine said that the proof had saved me from a printing error, and therefore it was a success. That comment had permanently changed my point of view.So I encouraged my client to learn from the experience.

 

I reminded her that color created with light on a computer monitor is not the same as color produced with ink. This goes for fabric custom printing as well as offset printing. Therefore, I encouraged her to send in new art for a second test if she liked the vendor’s pricing and customer service. I asked her to use her color bridge a Pantone product that puts  colors alongside their nearest  match and select a color that fit her proprietary color formula for fashion.I’m new to fabric printing, but I know that, in printing, the substrate always affects the colors perceived by the human eye. My client had also mentioned that polyester chiffon reduces the saturation of a color.

 

Her dissatisfaction arose from the color’s being too much of a greenish gold rather than a true yellow. My thought was that the fabric had contributed to a problem that had started with the choice of a color on the monitor rather than from a swatch book.Polyester chiffon is one of a number of popular synthetic fabrics. Since it is a polyester, the printing method of choice would be dye sublimation. While I am not sure of the exact cause of the problem, I wonder whether there are any color shifts, perhaps within certain color families, that can be caused by either the specific fabric or the digital printing method itself. Moreover, since the garment in the photo my client sent me a fashion scarf is very sheer, my next thought was that the transparency of the fabric might have contributed to the problem. After all, my client had noted that polyester chiffon reduces the saturation of a color.

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