FABRIC PRINT POSSIBILITIES
It all starts with the material. The way it moves, the way it affects those who see it. More and more, due to its obvious flexibility and malleability, printing their ads or graphics on certain fabrics has become a viable option for businesses and advertisers who are looking for a more cost effective means to get their message across, especially to their intended target market. Due to modern innovations, professional printing studios, like Prolab Digital, have the wherefore and knowhow to actually print on designated types of fabric. Imagine the possibilities that open up because of this radical printing perspective. Let’s not discount that fabrics also first materialized to fill that human basic need for clothing.
China and India have grown to become the world’s supplier when it comes to clothing and the sourcing of fabrics. Sadly, the quality of their products have also had that reputation of not being at par with preferred global standards. Nonetheless, that doesn’t diminish the fact that both their cultures have intensive histories dealing with fabric and clothing. India sets itself apart because their communities and artisans were the ones credited in developing modern-day fabric art and the subsequent industry.
About 10,000 years ago, India consisting of populated communities in various regions found the means to make cloth and how to decorate it. Fabric has historically been sourced from natural fibers not only in this country but in other parts of the world. This could come from the chest of a goat as in the case of pashmina or derived from inside a seed as we see in cotton, and even from the unravelling of cocoons intricately spun by a silkworm. Cotton became highly cultivated in India for their domestic market as well as for export abroad. It is believed that in this age, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, produce an annual supply of cotton that can provide at least two pounds each to every living soul on this earth. This was sourced from the Fabric of India Exhibit conducted at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The raw material grown on fields or produced by the coats of animals need to be harvested and eventually spun into yarn. The fibers are collected and spun so this yarn can be produced. For silk, the cocoons are unraveled into long shimmering strands so that their unique fabric can be made. Looms weave this yarn by lacing threads together with a durable pattern so that the cloth can finally be made. The epicenter for this weaving technology for more than 500 years is believed to be in Gujarat, India. The weavers of this province shared their technique throughout the country and due to a burgeoning demand around the world, their fabric market increased consequently.
When the cloth finally gets woven, the embellishment by Indian textile artisans comes into effect. Such techniques range from tie-dying, or block-printing, even jacquard weaving or the intricate patterns of embroidery can be considered. This all gets honed based on the regions where these techniques evolved. Natural plant-based dyes like blues, yellows, and reds, have been credited to the ingenuity of the Indian people. The Greeks who highly coveted the blue color tagged it as indigo because it was a color that came from India. The entire fabric can be dipped into a dye of choice, but beautiful patterns are created by being drawn into the fabric. A resist paste is applied so that the desired color doesn’t affect the areas where the resist paste was implemented. For red dyes, they need a binding agent for them to be completely absorbed by the fabric, especially if the fabric was properly treated with mordant. If the mordant is applied to a certain area of the material, that is where the red dye will stick. Through the techniques mentioned, and with some draping and twisting to the fabric before dipping it into the dye, wonderful patterns became the obvious result.
Block printing, which has remained a popular technique up to this day, has unique method of placing patterns on fabric. Made by hand, the artisan sands down a hand sized block and traces a grid on it. The pattern is then transferred onto the wood wherein that subsequent pattern of image gets chiseled out. From this block, the pattern is then dipped into a dye and stamped on to the fabric creating a unique design.
Since these early decorative techniques are handmade or manufactured in small quantities by specialized communities mostly located in remote areas, the final product does take some time to complete. The result can be quite stunning, but the waiting time might not be desired by potential clients who are used to immediate results especially in this digital age.
There is now a way for designers to create their own signature patterns using authorized software. This can be then sent to a printing firm who has the means to produce these patterns efficiently and in less time compared to the traditional process. The result brings about a one-of-a-kind experience for both the designer and the printer. Their collaboration adds their own intense imprint onto the fashion world.
But, how do these designers get into that illusive zone of creativity so that they are able to come up with such thought-provoking patterns? Perhaps, it is worth remembering that what is absorbed by the mind eventually gets translated into our plane of existence.
It’s good to be exposed to new things so that those new ideas can come forth. Let’s just say that if we keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, that does bring about another level of idiocy. The new inputs drive innovative outputs and that really supports creative thinking.
Don’t be deprived too much and get yourself out there. Explore the world, taste exotic foods, be immersed in cultures that are unfamiliar. These different experiences can only help in producing designs that are far from the ordinary.
Also pays not to be too much of a workaholic. Good to take that much needed rest now and again in order to recharge the batteries. Humans weren’t built to be the automatons. The creative flow also needs some pit stops. So breathe and relax when you can. So that when you get back in the designing mood, the respite would have been well worth it.
If you’re used to a certain work environment, don’t be afraid to mix it up. Park yourself at a quiet café with your laptop and let those creative juices flow. Don’t settle for routine because creativity demands something more than just the usual. Have meetings at a bar or something more unconventional than the normal conference room. Creative encounters also enjoy the stimulation provided by another way of doing things.
Don’t be afraid of chance encounters with others. The experience of meeting someone outside your inner circle can do wonders for the creative mind. Their differences may trigger and offset the sameness you’ve been feeling for quite some time. When you give yourself that opportunity to meet others and to engage them in witty rapport, the brain instinctively adjusts because we are all meant to be sociable in some way. If you’re very good at doing a particular task, there might be someone else who might approach that particular challenge in their own unique way. Just the differentiation is meant to give such a creativity boost.
Even if we get exposed to new things, give ourselves a much needed break, change up the usual, and allow new people into our lives, the ideas that arrive may be fleeting and lost if we’re not able to write these down. Be conscious and aware that these eureka moments need to be captured and the ways of preserving them are readily available and simple enough.
Place an idea folder on your desk where you can store these sources of inspiration. It may be a pattern from a magazine or a picture from an old antique shop, whatever it may be, collect and collate these idea sparks that can assist you in developing a design. Most artists find making an idea board to be quite helpful.
On your mobile devices, start placing memos on your calendar or even send yourself a text message. When inspiration hits, don’t let it fade away, but jot it down immediately. With today’s technology, information gathering has been honed to an art and the science is there to adequately support that.
Since visual cues are not always that convenient to store away, just leave a message on your phone’s recorder. The point is to verbally capture what’s going on in your head. Better yet, take a video selfie and record your idea on the fly. That’s really making use of the available technology.
Of course, if you want to be old school about it, doesn’t hurt to have a handy notebook around. If you find yourself away from your gadgets, putting that pen to paper does the trick. It may seem less techie, but at least, you’ll be able to write down that creative notion before it disappears forever.
CREATING FANTASTIC FABRIC PRINTS WITH PROLAB DIGITAL
At Prolab Digital, your design ideas for fabric can now be given life. They provide custom sewing and heat knife trimming so that your banners, drapery, flags, and yes, even clothing will portray truthfully the design aesthetic that you’re after. Prolab Digital has banner stands and display hardware available, and they can provide the grommets and pole pockets for your advertising so that installation is quite easy and convenient. Due to the nature of fabric, it can be rolled up into a shipping tube so your transport costs can become more manageable.
Their state-of-the-art Oce Arizona 550XT UV Flatbed printer or their HP 25500 Latex Inkjet printer are more than capable of printing on five different kinds of fabric. The brilliant colors of your intended graphic, logo design, or photo impression will be reproduced quite faithfully under their capable supervision. They are able to print on materials that are up to 90” in width, but a dye sublimation process will be the preferred technique to transfer images onto a fabric measuring up to 120” in width. Larger images can be completed by tiling strategic sections together.
Prolab Digital has that quick turnaround time on proofing for fabric printing, because they aim to send out that 8”x10” approval print within 24-48 hours after receiving your digital file. Their sample proof will be printed on the same material that was selected for the final product. This is to ensure that the exact colors match up. Upon final approval, after about 72 hours, you can expect to see your finished fabric print.
As the premier source in Los Angeles for outstanding printing projects, you are assured of getting your money’s worth. Don’t be fooled by the bargain basement prices offered by lesser known entities. Trust in the professionals who are very detail oriented and only want to give the best for their customers. Their wide network of installers and experts based around the United States can be called upon to fulfill their clients’ wishes and ensure the quality that they expect. Prestigious brands over the years have trusted Prolab Digital and they have the record to prove it.
Try them out and call them at +1 (310) 846 4496 to see what fabric prints are possible for your specific needs. Wouldn’t you want your creative design to be reproduced in the best possible manner? After wracking your brains to conceptualize a particular print, it’s only fair that the design is manufactured to the specifications that you desire. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, it’ll seem like your work was meant to be exclusively collaborated with their engaging team.
There are endless ways on how to manipulate fabric. Allow the good people of Prolab Digital to guide you on this exciting journey. As your creative partner in design, it’s only proper that your fabric gets printed and printed correctly. Let your creativity soar and be printed the way it should be. ■