posted by Melissa Crawford - Texsource - 2/24/2017

I have a shirt made out of Exotic Space Martian Silk - what is the best ink to use for this?

While this isn't exactly a question we get every day here at Texsource, it does help illustrate the point that many people (especially those who may be new to the screen printing process) have questions about exactly which type of ink to use for a certain type of shirt material (or 'substrate').  I am going to attempt to clear the smoke from the subject and bring things into focus!



COTTON
Ah, the granddaddy of them all, cotton is by far the most common material for tshirts.  It is a light, durable, soft, and economical fabric that is versatile to printing / coloring.  There are also sub-settings for cotton such as combed cotton, organic cotton, pima/supima cotton, and slub cotton.  Most of these sub categories have to do with the length of the fibers or how the fabric is woven.  In the case of organic cotton, it is different mostly in how it is grown, harvested, and processed in a more environmentally aware method.  The difference in these can be felt by the hand as either softer or more textured than other types.  Combed cotton uses a process in manufacturing that causes it to have a smoother feel than other types.

INKS TO USE
Most any general purpose ink will work well with any cotton fabric.  This would be the Texsource GEN Series inks, the Union Maxopake inks, the International Coatings 700 series inks, or the Triangle 1100 Multipurpose series inks.
LINEN
Like cotton, linen is grown and processed, in this case from the flax plant.  It is lightweight, moisture wicking, and has a textured weave feel.  Linen is durable, but gets softer with multiple washings.  It is an easy fabric to print, but can wrinkle more easily which may require more frequent ironing.


INKS TO USE
Same as cotton, most general purpose inks will work well with linen fabrics.  Mesh counts may need to be adjusted and some detail may be lost as linen has a tendency to be woven more 'loosely' than cotton.



POLYESTER
An entire series of articles could be written just on printing polyester shirts.  In short, polyester is a synthetic material that many still associate with the flamboyant disco fashions of the 70s.  It gained popularity as a material that could be washed, pulled, worn, and generally could take all kinds of abuse yet still maintain a smooth, wrinkle-free appearance.  It does not mold or mildew and is resistant to shrinking or stretching.  It is often seen in athletic apparel.  Polyester is often a trouble fabric for many screen printers because polyester must be sublimated or dyed to have any color.  That is, a green polyester shirt has been 'dyed' green in a heating or dyeing process.  When screen printing, the temperature that you need to cure your ink in the dryer is often higher than the material can hold its dye at.  Such a temperature will cause the polyester to 'release' the dye, which can cause a problem known as dye migration.  This is when the color of the shirt 'bleeds' into the color you printed.  To prevent this, you can use a 'blocker'-type ink as an underbase (a light grey is usually the best choice, but others use simply white).  You can then more safely print your colors without the fear of such dye migration issues.

More recently a relatively new type of ink, silicone ink, has been introduced that specifically combats this problem.  Silicone inks can typically cure fully at a much lower temperature than standard plastisol (around 260-270 degrees rather than 300-320).  This is often lower than the dye release point on most quality polyester materials thus eliminating dye migration issues.  Silicone ink has a very soft feel (called 'hand') and is extremely flexible, virtually eliminating cracking.  It is becoming a very in-demand ink for athletic uniforms.

INKS TO USE
Use a good underbase such as International Coatings Guardian Gray or Blocker Gray.  For ink, consider Texsource Poly inks, Union Poly inks, International Coatings 7100 series inks, or Triangle 1700 Low Bleed series inks.  If considering some of the new silicone ink products, try Rutland Silextreme inks.


LYCRA / SPANDEX
It may have seen its heyday among the slew of 80s heavy metal rockers, but lycra (spandex) has seen new life more recently as athletic wear such as yoga pants and tops, swimwear, and even casual shirts / tops.  It has found a home in athletic wear mainly due to its ability to easily stretch greatly while being resistant to wrinkles.  As lycra has great stretchability, a stretch additive is recommended.


INKS TO USE
General purpose inks will serve you well on most lycra/spandex substrates, but you will need a stretch ink additive such as the Union Unistretch 9160.  When printing a white color on pure black lycra, you may get better results using a poly white ink such as the Rutland Super Poly White ink or International Coatings 7113 Athletic White ink.


RAYON
Rayon is made from purified cellulose, mainly from wood pulp.  Because it is chemically converted into a compound, it is considered a semi-synthetic fiber.  It is well known as a popular replacement for silk.  When woven or knitted it is a silky, breathable fabric common in athletic wear.  Rayon does not hold up as well to prolonged wear and can more easily wrinkle.

INKS TO USE
Because Rayon is a semi-synthetic material, you may find some testing is necessary for best printing.  Much will depend on the percentage of rayon in the material.  If adhesion is an issue, you may want to add a catalyst such as Union Nylobond or International Coatings Nylon Bonding Agent.  On materials that use less rayon, you may use most general purpose plastisol inks.  Like lycra, you may want to test using poly inks when printing on darker colors.



NYLON
Nylon is a fully synthetic material that has found many uses in other applications including plastics, flooring, automotive, films, and more.  It is popular in shirt material for its excellent resistance to heat, is lightweight, and wrinkle resistant.  It also blends well with other materials.  Nylon is more prone to shrinking and is not as stain tolerant as other materials.  When using inks to print on nylon materials, a 'catalyst' should be mixed with the ink.  A catalyst works as a adhesive agent, particularly for extremely smooth surfaces.  When mixed properly, your ink / catalyst mixture will cure as normal and will be very resistant to peeling.


INKS TO USE
For a catalyst, use the International Coatings Nylon Bonding Agent, or the Union Nylobond catalyst as described in the inks for rayon shirts.  General purpose inks can be used on most colors, but light colors on dark fabrics may benefit from using low bleed poly inks.

BLENDS
Many shirts today are blended fabrics, sometimes with two, three, or four fabric types.   The most common you are likely to see as a screen printer would be the cotton polyester blend fabric.  Here is where some testing may be required as blends may be 50/50 or any other ratio.  Typically, general purpose inks may do well for most color fabrics, but as with 100% polyester shirts some dye migration or bleeding may occur, at which point you may want to consider a blocker underbase and / or poly inks.


INKS TO USE
Test using a combination of blocker inks such as International Coatings Guardian Gray or Blocker Gray.  Your general purpose inks such as Texsource GEN inks, the Union Maxopake inks, the International Coatings 700 series inks, or the Triangle 1100 Multipurpose series inks.  For poly ink, consider Texsource Poly inks, Union Poly inks, International Coatings 7100 series inks, or Triangle 1700 Low Bleed series.

CONCLUSION
While this certainly isn't a complete listing of available materials that you might see in your screen printing shop, it is a list of the more common types you may encounter.  As always, testing is the key; get the first shirt right and approved before you begin your batch.  Taking shortcuts in the screen printing process can lead to lost customers and lost profits.  Experimentation can often lead to creative and valuable results, and this guide should serve as a great base from which to start your screen printing journey.  If you are looking for where to find some of these great screen printing inks and more, look no further than the Ink section on the Texsource website - all the screen printing supplies you need and every product mentioned in this article can be found right there, in stock, ready to go!  #printlife
Posted by Allen Wesson - webmaster 2/16/17

Screen printers know a lot about color - we deal with ink color all the time.  Talk to some of the old timers who have been doing this for ages and they can come pretty close to telling you the Pantone color of most any ink they see; and if they aren't dead-on accurate they will likely be really close.

Today I learned something really interesting about color, and it will likely be a surprise to those of you who do quite a bit of screen printing with four color process inks, and that is that the 'color' Magenta does not actually exist.

BUT (you say), I have a bucket of Magenta ink right here on my shelf; I can open it up, and I can certainly see it - so what gives?

I decided to do something that I have not done here on our screen printing blog before - post the entire transcript of a video that I saw today.  No matter how I might try to summarize this, there is just no way I could explain this as well as this man does.  This is Steve Mould from the site richannel.org.  The video is right here, followed by the complete transcript.  Prepare to be amazed!




TRANSCRIPT
Purple is a weird colour. The formal name for purple is magenta, and the weird thing about magenta is that you won't ever see it in a rainbow. And the rainbow is supposed to be the full spectrum of colours. So why doesn't purple, why doesn't magenta appear in the rainbow? And the answer is to do with colour mixing.

I've always had a problem with colour mixing, because I know that you can't mix photons together.
So you can't take a blue photon and a green photon and mix them together to get some other photon. That just doesn't happen. And yet, you can mix paints together in art. Color mixing is definitely something you can do.  So what's the answer? Well actually, you can't mix colors together in physics, but you can do it in biology. It's to do with how your eyes work.

For example, if I shine red light and green light into your eyes at the same time, if I cross these over, you will see yellow. So when you mix red and green together, you get yellow. And if you look at the spectrum, yellow is in between red and green.  So maybe that's the rule for mixing colours together. You mix two colors together, you get the colour in between on the colour spectrum. And we can test that again, so I'll look at green and blue together. So if I mix green and blue together, I get cyan. And cyan is in between blue and green on the spectrum.

That's great, you mix two colours together, you get the colour in between. But why, why is that? Well, your eyes can't measure the wavelength of light directly. So it's not like a photon comes in, and you know, it's 200 nanometers or whatever, and it detects that.  Instead, you have these cone cells at the back of your eyes that are sensitive to different parts of the spectrum. So when red light comes into your eyes, there's a set of cones that fire and tell your brain you're looking at something red. So we'd call those the red cones.  There's another set of cones that are more sensitive to green, so when there's green light going into your eyes, they fire and they send a message to your brain. And there's blue cones, as well.

You've got red cones, green cones, and blue cones. So what about yellow? What about when you're looking at yellow light, like that?  Well in that situation, you don't have a yellow cone. So what do you do? Well, yellow is quite close to red, so your red cone fires a bit. And yellow is quite close to green as well, so your green cone fires a bit.  Your brain is getting a message from your red cone and your green cone at the same time, and it's deciding, OK well, I must be looking at something in between those two colours, then.  And that's brilliant, because your brain is perceiving something about the world that it isn't able to measure directly. It isn't directly sensitive to yellow light. It does mean that you can be tricked.

And so if I make red light and green light go into your eyes, but no yellow light, you will see yellow. Anyway. So, go red torch and a green torch, and there's no yellow light, here.  But when I combine them, you will see yellow, anyway. And TVs do this all the time. So if you look up close at TV, you'll see the individual pixels. And there are red pixels, green pixels, and blue pixels.  Those are the only colours being produced by your TV.  And yet, they can produce all the other colors with this trick of colour mixing. So what about purple? What about magenta?  Well, what should your brain do if your red cone fires at one end of the spectrum and your blue cone fires at the other end of the spectrum, but your green cone doesn't fire?  Does it do the same trick? Does it think I must be looking at colour in between red and blue? When the colour between red and blue is green, and you're definitely not looking at something green, because your green cone isn't firing.

In that situation, your brain invents a colour. It makes up a color, and that colour, is magenta. And I can show you that with my red and blue torches. So when they're combined together there, you see magenta-- absolutely beautiful.  And that's why you don't see magenta in the spectrum. You don't see magenta in the rainbow, because it doesn't have a wavelength. It's just the absence of green, if you like.  Just to show you the full palette of colours that you can see on a TV screen-- so you get red and blue mixed together makes magenta. Green and red makes yellow. Green and blue make cyan. When you mix them all together, you get white.  So when your red cone, your green cone, and your blue cone are firing together, you get white light.

So there you have it - one of the 'colors' in your four color process prints  doesn't - even - exist....
Let that one soak into your brain for a bit - hope you found this as interesting as I did.  If you find yourself needing some of this 'ink color that isn't there', hop on over to our selection of Magenta inks and get yourself a bucket of Magenta ink - that you may or may not be able to see.  
Posted by Chelsea Chafin - webmaster on 1/31/2017
Finding the right emulsion can be tricky, but is also vital to the screen printing process. Emulsion is used to create your stencil, meaning without it, you have nothing to screen print. It is photosensitive no matter what form it is purchased in, the options being direct emulsion (liquid) or films, so be sure to handle in yellow safelight conditions. Deciding which type is best for you comes down to understanding the subcategories along with the presented options.

What type of liquid emulsion is out there?
A liquid emulsion is a direct emulsion applied to your screen with a scoop coater. You have three choices in liquid emulsions, and all three print plastisol ink. There are pure photopolymer emulsions, diazo emulsions, and dual-cure emulsions. Diazo and Dual-Cure emulsions are both two part emulsions: they require the screen printer to mix the diazo sensitizer into the emulsion base. Pure Photopolymer emulsions are the only one part liquid emulsion.

Most screen printers will recommend a pure photopolymer direct emulsion for quite a few reasons. To use this type of emulsion, no mixing is required and it can be used straight out of the container. In regards to the screen printing process, this emulsion does the work for you while staying consistent and lasting longer, meaning that you have to purchase it less as well. However, the one thing you have to watch out for with this emulsion is how fast it exposes. While it is great in terms of getting the job done, this short range of exposure latitude means if you don't have your correct exposure times down you can very easily overexpose your screen and be left without a usable stencil. With that in mind, please note that pure photopolymers tend to be able to create a thicker stencil (though any can create a thick stencil if coated enough times). When it comes to your work environment, this emulsion is one that is least affected by its surroundings, giving it a shelf life of anywhere from one to two years. It is the most light sensitive of the three (making it faster acting), but also the most expensive.
Ulano QTX Pure Photopolymer Direct Emulsion.

If you're interested in the cheapest version, you will want to go for a diazo emulsion. However, you need to be aware that this type of liquid emulsion is the most affected by its environment and takes the longest to burn. You must have a very strong light source to prevent underexposure and be extra careful of where it is stored. Even with its downsides, it is still recommended to beginning screen printers because of its price and the educational use of two part emulsions: it changes color as you mix the two parts to create the emulsion to affirm that the sensitizer has reacted completely. It also can be very forgiving during exposing times as even if it takes you longer depending on the humidity, you may still have a good result. Unfortunately, even with this exposure forgiveness, you often risk the possibility of underexposing your screen, which can make other parts of the process more difficult. You have the option to create a solvent or water resistant emulsion with diazo, but you can only choose one or the other.

The last option is certainly a unique one. Dual-Cure emulsion's purpose is to combine the benefits of both a photopolymer and a diazo emulsion. The effect is created by adding diazo to a photopolymer base. Much like the diazo, the contents must be stirred together to create the emulsion, meaning it also has the value of color change. Dual-cure is forgiving like the diazo as well, but leaves less opportunity to underexpose. The main reason this one is not normally chosen over the photopolymer is the mixing process and the fact that even with the better properties of the diazo, it still is not as long lasting as the photopolymer with having a shelf life of only six to eight weeks. It will also break down if the run gets to be too long, but the run would have to be in the thousands for this to affect you. However, it is a good option in regards to working with both solvent and water based inks.

Note on Burning: It is important to realize the burning times differ between these three emulsions. For example, in a decent environment with a good light source, if a photopolymer is burning a basic design at 1 minute, then a dual-cure will burn the same design at 2 minutes and a diazo at 5 minutes.

What are emulsion films?
Capillary film is emulsion (any of the three represented above) dried onto a sheet by the manufacturers and then sold by quantity and thickness. By already being set, you're guaranteed a fast, smooth, even coat. Using film allows for more versatility as you can screen print on coarser materials such as twills, piques, and corduroy and depending on the level of thickness you are using to screen print, it is argued to be possible to print white ink on black shirts without flashing, more than doubling your production. One downside to capillary film is it’s only really as good as the emulsion dried on it, but the main issue is the cost. If you're screen printing smaller images, using an entire sheet seems wasteful, but also unavoidable. In regards to buying the film in quantities, it can also be argued as a waste if you're doing a short run even with large images. To avoid other printing difficulties, it is important to note that there have been issues with applying the film to mesh. In order to reduce this problem, you need to make sure to wet down the screen before application with either water, or for better application consistency, a wetting agent. A way to avoid this is an indirect-direct method, but it requires you to re-coat thicker film with liquid emulsion, upping your cost that much more. However, Texsource does offer Chromaline's Direct/Indirect Stencil System which eliminates some of the cost of this process.

In the end, which is better?
Arguably, the photopolymer direct emulsion and the capillary film are on the same level, especially when the film has dried photopolymer on it. The difference being that when exposed properly, the pure photopolymer direct emulsion will last a long time and its shelf life is longer as well. When that is considered, along with the overall cost, the smarter move may be to go with the photopolymer. In regards to finding a financially easier route, a dual-cure would be your next option eliminating both the film and photopolymer for their cost. It is a sturdy emulsion yet allows for errors while still having a decent shelf life. A diazo emulsion would be a last resort for some, or a first for a startup company without the funds for a better functioning emulsion. It has a very low shelf life (4-6 weeks) which can get lower depending on the storing environment.

With this information at hand, you always have the option to contact your local sales representative to figure out the best emulsion for you. Texsource offers many different types and colors, so it will always come down to your individual shop and preference.

Posted by Chelsea Chafin - webmaster on 1/19/2017
You may say to yourself, “I have been screen printing for years, why would I need to go to a 101 class?” However, to think that way is to do yourself a disservice. Many of us are more than familiar with being a jack of all trades, and in screen printing this would include the capability to mess with all the little tricks, whether it be a puff here and there, a discharge design, or even sublimation. But we know how the phrase ends, don’t we? “Jack of All Trades, Master of None.”

When it comes to the basics of screen printing, you do, in fact, want to be the master. You want to understand not only what customers may ask for, but how to accomplish any task. Say a customer walks in with a certain dark colored garment in mind with a bright design. You’re going to need to know how to create a white underbase at the lowest cost to you. Depending on the size of the design they want, it’s also good to know the mesh, ink, and fabric details.


Screen Printing 101 classes allow you to refresh on the fundamentals, which really comes in handy when you’re out learning the new stuff that continuously pops up (who was excited when silicone inks came out?). By consistently keeping yourself up to date on new (and most of the time, easier) ways of doing the basics, you could save yourself a lot of time to be able to focus on learning more risky techniques.

Let’s be honest, a lot of us are self-taught screen printers. We worked through trial and error time and again. We may have even researched and watched video after video trying to choose the way that we thought was best. It still may be, but seeing in person different ways and then being able to ask questions and have an open and honest discussion with other screen printers is vital to improving our skills.

For instance, we may all clean our screens differently. Maybe the easiest way for you to clean your screen is to slide on the heavy duty gloves and scrub it down. It may take a few hours, but it’s the way you’ve always done it, right? However, there are other options. More and more companies are coming out with ways to lower cleaning and reclaiming time. There are products like Easiway Chemicals’ Dip Tanks that use 2-in-1 chemicals to not only cut down on time but also on the effort you spend bent over your screens.

Tips like that and more are discussed during these classes and you’re encouraged to ask questions to understand fully instead of being forced into more trial and error. The point is, when it comes to classes, no one is working against you. We want you to be as successful as possible because in the end, it helps out everyone involved. It’s a win-win situation at its finest.

Not to mention, who doesn’t get frustrated when cure times are off? Wouldn’t you want to know why it’s happening to your exact machine in your exact situation instead of having to try all the different ways to fix it with no promises of the best outcome? That’s why actually talking with experts is so important. It’s not just how to screen print, it’s how to master screen printing. Be a master of your art in its most basic form, then mastery of its counterparts are sure to follow.
Posted by Chelsea Chafin - webmaster

Like I mentioned in a blog last month, “Screen Printing: A Package to Start,” beginning a screen printing company can be very stressful. The blog discusses which screen printing equipment startup package is best for your business. We here at Texsource want to make the transition as easy as possible, so here are some key factors to consider for your startup. While some may seem more important than others, please keep in mind that each is needed to create an efficient business.
Space

One of the most important things for a screen printing company, or any company for that matter, is to have the space to produce. Whether you decide to rent a space for your workshop or to begin out of your home, it is a decision that should be made before further purchases. Note: even if you work from home and have very limited space, Tabletop presses are available.

Startup Fund. Arguably, this could be your main concern depending on if you need to budget for a workspace. You need to make sure you have enough financially to stock up on all the supplies necessary. Whether you do this through saving the money, obtaining a business loan, or equipment financing, you should go into the business with a plan.

Research. Speaking of plans, it takes more than just wanting to create and sell and then doing so. You will want to understand your client base and the market you are entering. What customers do you want to attract? What areas do you plan to sell to and during what times? Are there annual (or more so) special events that occur in which your design/products would sell great?


Ryan Bolin, Manager at Texsource Screen Printing Supply, hard at work (or playing Warcraft).


Site Management. SEO tools are extremely useful to you when it comes to researching and improving your business as you move forward. At least basic knowledge of SEO tools such as Google Analytics or those offered via social media will really come in handy to you the more you understand your business.  These tools allow you to keep track of what is being viewed, bought, or passed over in your online store.

These four elements will help you build your screen printing business once you are knowledgeable in how to screen print and will greatly influence your growth. Also, they will help eliminate stress as you move forward and help you to focus on what you started the business for: screen printing.

Posted by Chelsea Chafin - webmaster

Purchasing a startup package can be very intimidating, but we want to make it easier on you. You may have inherited screen printing equipment (or an excess of ink) or have always had the desire to start your own business and finally have the means to do so. Fortunately, the packages are designed to give you a sense of what screen printing requires before you upgrade your equipment to better suit your needs.

When it comes to machinery, Texsource offers two brands of startup packages: Genesis Equipment and Vastex Equipment. In regards to your first package, it helps understanding on where you are both skill-level and knowledge-level as to which would be best.  

If you are completely new to screen printing, the Genesis beginning startup packages are the way to go. They give you a sample of everything you may need. Take for instance Package 01 which includes: (1) Genesis 1 Color / 1 Station Manual Screen Printing Press(1) Heat Gun(1) 500 Watt Halogen Exposure Unit, (1) Wood Frame 20 x 24 110 mesh, (1) TexMist can adhesive, (1) pint of Easiway Easi-strip, (1) pint of Easiway 701 screen wash, (1) pint of 842 press wipe, (1) pint of Tex-Blue emulsion, (1) pint of White Dream ink, (1) pint of Black Dream ink, (1) pint of red #10 ink, (1) roll of 2" blockout tape, (1) scoop 15", (1) ink spreader, (1) quart of Chem 901 blockout liquid, (1) scrub pad handle, white scrub pad, and red scrub pad, (5) stir sticks, (5) white pellons 14 x 16, and (5) black pellons 14 x 16.

Genesis Package 01

Before you get intimidated by all the products available, please note that it’s a good thing. The package is designed to give you a little taste of everything so you can decide what products you like and see where you may want to improve. Anxious about how to use some (or all) of the supplies? Texsource offers free admission to one of our Screen Printing 101 Classes (NC, GA, IN) with purchase of a Genesis package to eliminate some of the stress associated with starting a new business.

Understanding these products becomes useful for future purchases as well because you are going to need to upgrade your equipment sooner with the less expensive the package is. This is mainly aimed at you, Heat Gun. Ask any of Texsource crew which piece should be upgraded first and they agree that you will need a more secure dryer. You may be able to get away with using a flash unit to dry, but if you’ve purchased the first Genesis package you will not have that option. A dryer allows you to work on more shirts without having to stop your creative process to hand-cure (possibly unevenly) each shirt.

The higher Genesis packages come with a decent flash unit, so when it comes to upgrading further you will want to choose between a new press and exposure unit based on what works best for you (both will arguably be needed at some point). You will learn how to decide this in any classes you take along with any and all trial-and-error.

Now, if you have inherited equipment and are pretty familiar with it, Vastex with its sturdier equipment may be the perfect fit for you. These packages do not come with any of the extras that a Genesis package does, but their focus is to grant you the best equipment possible to immediately produce out of your shop. They offer entry shop choices along with Tabletop if you have the skill but not the room for your business.

If you choose to go with a Vastex but would like more options in regards to inks or chemicals, please note that Texsource offers different packaging for screen cleaning chemicals and different brands/styles of inks.
Posted by Chelsea Chafin - webmaster on 12/14/2016
Why is the Pantone Color of the Year important? For almost two decades, Pantone has come out with a specific color each year that is, for all intents and purposes, brand new. By brand new, it is meant to be a color that has normally received little to no attention that will now branch out and be largely popular. So, as designers turned screen printers, why should this matter to you if you can already make the color? Maybe some would even go as far as to quote Shakespeare, “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” True that, Juliet. Similarly, 2016 artists may have pondered if a Rose Quartz (and Serenity) would have made it to Apple had it not been color of the year.

But that’s exactly it! Yes, you can create a unique color and leave it at that, maybe even name it yourself and hope it gets out there, but the yearly meeting at Pantone can end up turning your color into a million-dollar idea, especially in regards to the teams who have been selected to promote said color. These colors are selected based on anything from what is going on within social media to what is going on globally. This became especially true for 2017’s choice of Greenery, a color which is dedicated to climate change and nature itself.

Pantone's Color of the Year 2017: Greenery.

Pertaining to art and creation, creating new ink colors is already something that many designers are interested in doing (especially by mixing together different shades). When doing so, by simply adding the extra step of preparing ways to present them later proves to be extremely useful.

Essentially, understanding the logic behind Pantone’s color choice can have a major influence on your work. For instance, there may be one specific overall color chosen for the year, but Pantone releases a list of colors that they believe will be most popular based on region. What this means for designers is that you may use one color for your design sold in North America, but if you have stores or shipments overseas, say in Italy, you may end up choosing a different ink for that area knowing that the design will sell better with a slight change.

The colors nominated are aimed at your audience, which should not be misconstrued to be directed towards your own personal artwork. You aren’t changing colors of your work to please mass corporations, you are doing it based on research that individualized people and/or the majority have a strong opinion on the reason behind the color was chosen. Basing colors on strong opinionated issues results in consumers purchasing items based on the feelings that the colors have been found to ensue.

We all understand that color is a large part of the design process. It may seem risky to change such a significant portion of the piece based on research done by a third party, but that is also why it is important for you as the designer to be involved in how and why it is chosen. Understanding your audience should already be on your radar as a business owner, so keying in on certain colors is a small task that will earn big results.

Fortunately, when it comes to getting the correct ink, Texsource offers PMS matching, as do many of the brands carried. Please note that there are many ways to mix different shades of the main color to produce varying shades. For instance, as mentioned above, 2017’s choice is Greenery, yet Thrive, a more yellow version of the green color, is projected to do better in North America. The theme stays the same, meaning the emotions attached will as well, but in a way that targets exact areas making it seem more personalized. You as the artist will always have the choice to make decisions like this depending on where you sell and what sells best. The Pantone Color of the Year is there to be used as a marketing tool, and a well-researched one at that.


Posted by Chelsea Chafin - webmaster on 11/30/2016
Black can be created by laying out multiple colors on top of each other, so instead of pure black being used, your screen and printer will register 100% black as an overlay first of CMY (cyan, magenta, and yellow) and finally, it will process K (black) over top the blend. This creates a lighter black resulting in transparency that is more like a dark gray when against bright colors.




If you choose to stick with CMYK coloring when doing a multi-color project including black, your best option from there is to create a rich black. This is created by altering the CMY colors to create a darker mix. The most common combination for a rich black that does not represent any other color would be a 60-40-40-100 CMYK. 
 
                 100% Black v. Rich Black
In order to see how your colors are blending, especially in regards to any questions you have about a certain tone that appears, it is important to preview your separations. By previewing the separations before you print, you are able to view not only the blends that create your colors, but also where there may be any overprint within your design. 

Once it comes to printing out your separations, it is highly recommended that you use RIP software. This will allow high-quality halftones creating a smoother and more vibrant blend. When choosing the ink to best represent your CMYK project, Union Tru-Tone Process Black will give you a consistent and accurate color reproduction.
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