This showcase presents examples of non-traditional decorations that may inspire you to pioneer alternative graphics of your own.
By Lori Leaman
Whether they're worn to make a fashion statement, support a favorite sports team, or display a personal philosophy, imprinted garments have become a staple in wardrobes across the world. But many of today's screen-printing customers are looking for more than conventional plastisol prints on the decorated sportswear they buy. They want high-quality designs, textures, and special effects that make their garments stand out from the crowd. And a growing number of garment printers are responding by adopting innovative decorating materials and methods to produce designs that are anything but conventional.
Specialty inks and heat-transfer materials, embossing, and garment dyeing are just a few examples of alternative decorations to which screen printers are turning. While many of these materials and techniques have been around for years, printers are exploring new directions in their use and producing eye-catching garment graphics that are a hit with customers. On the following pages, you'll see examples of these non-traditional decorations that may inspire you to pioneer alternative graphics of your own. (Unless noted otherwise, all photography by David Steinbrunner, Cincinnati, OH)
Those who visit the Southwestern US can't help but be impressed with the area's beautiful desert scenery and colorful history. And few leave this region without a souvenir. Native American dream catchers, pottery, and cactus plants continue to be popular items, but many tourists have discovered another memento that depicts Southwestern themes in an eye-catching way--T-shirts produced by Desert Impressions.
Prints with puff underbases, such as the image shown, are among the company's hottest products. As art director Kevin Pike explains, "We found that the dimension of the puff and the added colors it can suggest when the puff is activated under the plastisol, where it lightens the colors, is something that no one else was doing." He adds, "I've been in retail shops and seen the reaction that people have when our designs are displayed well. I've seen people walk clear across the store just to touch them. The designs have a dimension, a texture that draws them."
Name of design: Medicine Wolf
Company: Desert Impressions, Chandler, AZ
Quantity of garments printed: 5000
Material or technique used: custom-dyed stonewashed T-shirt featuring white puff ink that is overprinted with standard plastisol in five colors (yellow, red, turquoise, gray, and black)
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