One very popular item we often find ourselves customising, is the trusty tote bag. We are based in Shoreditch, east London – and in this area you can’t walk two minutes down the road without seeing one dash past you. Londoners love them. That’s why they make such great promotional items, merch and give-aways. For high volume orders, getting your tote bags screen printed would be your best bet and they will last super well. For more of a promotional ‘hand out’ bag, totes that are digitally Direct to Garment printed are a fantastic option.
Here’s an example of a DTG printed canvas tote…
We printed these natural canvas tote bags the other week for the Courtauld Institute Of Art, they were designed by Bullet Creative. These were digitally Direct to Garment printed and as you can see, this particular print technique has handled reproducing this “painting style” image really well. Even though canvas tote bags often do have a slight texture to them, DTG printing can still adhere to this particular surface very nicely, with the full colour artwork not suffering at all.
If you have any questions about any of our printing techniques, drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a ring on 0207 183 8431. For more info on Digital Direct to Garment printing on t-shirts and tote bags take a look at our website.
Whether you are a small boutique brand or a large, corporate business; you’ll know how important it is to have a strong logo and brand identity. Almost everything we print here at Icon Printing, relates to a brand or logo in some form or another. Maybe you’re thinking about a re-brand, or you could be a start up without the spare cash to splash out on a bespoke logo – this is a post for you. We’ve come up with a few pointers to follow when creating logos and specific design considerations to look at to insure your logo design reproduces well in all mediums; screen, print and signage.
Before you get stuck into the look or even the “naming” of your logo or business, there’s a few things to bare in mind. What does your company do? Are you local, national or global? Think about your target audience, who are they and what do they do? Are they high, mid or low earners? Who are your competitors and what are they doing? Next, think about where your logo will be displayed – it could be applied to business cards, but also vehicle livery, apparel, a website, etc.
Do your homework! Do as much research as you can in the time available.Research the competition and similar companies. Look at their logos and websites. What kind of image do they project?
Look at details such as colour schemes, typefaces, images, symbols, etc.
Look at unrelated businesses that target a similar audience as yours. What is their visual attraction?
Here are a few important pointers on what not to do when creating your artwork. By following these guidelines it will maximise the quality of your screen printed garment.
1. Web Images
Using images from the web can be handy, but note that most of the time these images are very small and set to only 72 dpi (very low image quality). Web designers use the lowest resolution and size possible so that their pages load fast while keeping the images looking good. Due to this, the image downloaded is designed to look good at the relatively small size it appears on screen and not printed out here in the real world. When it comes to screen printing, these forms of photo images should be avoided altogether – but vector based images are absolutely fine.
As shown above, many internet images are very pixelated and blurred.
Try to avoid very small negative spaces as they can fill in or “bleed”. Ink is a fluid and therefore spreads a little bit by nature. So a very small negative space (such as the words “Screen Printing” – shown in the image below) can be filled in by the ink that surrounds it pretty easily. However, there is no hard and fast rule for avoiding bleed on small type/detailing, so every piece of artwork will be evaluated on a case by case basis. However, a good general guideline is to use fonts at or above 12 points and lines or outlines stroke size larger than 0.3 pt.
The fine or “light” version of this typeface is not a good choice, the hairline box detail also wouldn’t print.
3. Illustrator Effects
Illustrator has some cool effect options, but you’ve got to be careful when using them – especially when creating artwork for screen printing. Try to avoid drop shadow or gradient effects. These often look good (at first glance) and add dimension, but they complicate your file by mixing image types and this type of effect doesn’t translate to the screen successfully. If you do want a slight shaded area effect or gradient within your design or logo, it will need to be made up of a series of very small dots (when viewed close-up) that from a distance, create the look of a gradient or difference in tone. It is more time consuming, but the outcome is a much better print.
In Illustrator, when two shapes overlap and the one on top has opacity set lower than 100%, the color of the shape below it will affect its color. For example (see below), when the circle on the bottom is red and the one on top is blue with 50% opacity, the overlapping portion is violet. But when it comes down to printing, it almost never works out like that due to unpredictable ink transparencies and intermingling pigments. If you’ve got a red + blue = violet type scenario, use a spot color violet instead of transparencies.
5. Problem Colours
Inks have varying degrees of transparency. A few color ranges are very transparent and do not look good when printed on a particular colour under base – whether that’s another ink layer or your actual garment colour. This can leave areas looking splotchy, washed out and generally poor. Darker blues tend to be one of these and, unless you’re printing on to white garments, avoid using them. Another one to look out for, is bright fluorescent inks, they too are very transparent and tend to lighten up and lose brightness when printed on an under base.
If you have any questions about your artwork, we are here to help! Drop us an email or just give us a ring –
email@example.com or on 0207 183 8431
This is our next installment on a series of posts about undocumented Photoshop shortcuts and tricks. For our previous 5 pointers – click here.
1. Hide Other Layers
By holding down Opt whilst also clicking on the visibility icon, this hides all other layers.
2. Navigate layer blending mode
This is a super quick way of viewing all the different blending mode options available for use upon a layer. Just hold down Opt + Shift + “-” OR “+” key which allows you to navigate through the various modes/effects.
3. Navigate the tool list
You can navigate through the tool list by pressing Shift + tool shortcut. For example: B = Brush tool, if you press Shift + B again, you will switch to Pencil tool. If you hover your mouse over the various tool options, you will see that they each carry a letter shortcut – indicating what letter shortcut to press.
You can set the layer opacity by pressing the number keys (ie. 1 = 10%, 2 = 20%…). Also, when you have the brush tool selected, pressing the number keys will adjust the brush opacity.
5. Increase / decrease brush size
With the Brush tool selected, you can increase / decrease the brush size by pressing [ or ] key (square bracket key). Press Shift + [ or ] will increase / decrease brush hardness.
We’ll be posting the next set of tricks in a few days time, so do pop back.
For more information on custom t-shirt printing, get in touch 🙂