PREPARING FOR PRINT
Fabric digital printing technology has evolved leaps and bounds in the past decades. We can print millions of colours, photographically, in high resolution. Colour matching is more accurate than ever. Different technologies let us print on almost any type of fabric that traditional rotary printing allow us to print. However let’s not forget, technology is only a tool and it’s how your design is prepared for print that makes all the difference.
To make double sure everything goes ok, we always check your files upon reception. If anything needs fixing we’ll get in touch with you to inform you and suggest ways forward. We offer a design preparation service for pre-printing adjustments such as colour changes, scaling, colour separation or even transforming your pattern for you. Let us know if you need a hand getting your designs print ready.
Do you think your design is ready? Let’s talk about printing it.
Type of files : .TIFF, .PSD, .JPEG high quality.
Resolution : 300 dpi ideally, not lower than 200dpi for larger files.
Colour space : RGB
Colour profile : sRGB for generic prints, Adobe98 for scarves.
Max. dimensions of the design : printable width of the fabric x 5 meters
Scale : your pattern(s) must be supplied at 1:1 scale and in repeat.
WE PRINT PATTERNS, ALL OVER
Maison Le Callennec is specialised in printing on rolls of fabrics, ready for garment fabrication. We don’t print on finished garments such as t-shirts or tote bags.
We print patterns in repetition along the width of the fabric roll and endlessly along the length. So we need to receive your designs as a repetition “module” or “tile” that repeats seamlessly. That’s the graphic element that can be repeated to make your print pattern working.
Graphic placements can be printed too. Think of them as a repetition module with enough space around each unit to cut your pieces. Plan carefully as fabric stretch might occur.
DIGITAL PRINTING, DESIGN DOs & DON'Ts
Avoid large fields of colour when printing in digital. Printing a single colour on a large area puts strain on the print heads and leads to machine failures. Faults can appear in the fields of colour such as white lines or lighter bands. Plus, it makes print heads prone to form droplets of ink that can stain the fabric. And on immaculate colour fields, ink spots are all the more visible.
Avoid large white unprinted areas. It is impossible to ensure that hundreds of meters of fabric will come out 100% faultless from the printer. On white unprinted areas, any minuscule ink spot is impossible to hide which causes too much fabric waste.
Do create animated backgrounds. A texture or a repetition of a secondary graphic element create enough visual variation to hide potential spots and alleviate strain on printer heads.
HIGH QUALITY IMAGES MAKE GOOD PRINTS
It’s never a good idea to work from low quality or low resolution images in your design. Although we print on fabric and colours might fuse and hides some quality flaws, you’re only sure of getting good results if you use high quality graphic sources in your design.
- Use at least 300dpi source images in your design.
- If you must, do not go under 150 dpi and do not scale up low resolution sources in your designs.
- Vector graphics are great, export at least in 300dpi.
- Watch out for compression artefacts that come from JPEG low quality over-compression and damage the image.
You're only sure of getting good results if you use high quality graphic sources in your design.
COLOUR MATCHING YOUR DESIGNS
We all know how subtle and subjective working with colours can be. As each computer screen gives a different preview of a design’s colours, the best way to make a decision on colours is to print proofs of your design on the fabric of your choice, for you to sign off, before launching production. Here is a few pieces of advice on how to best prepare your designs for colour matching.
To give us precise information on your intended colours, you can supply Pantone references from a Pantone printed book, for us to match. This is the most common way of keeping a consistent reference between all parts.
You can also supply samples of fabric or coloured material. Bear in mind that differences in texture and finishes with your end fabric can make colour matching harder.
Paper print outs can work as a reference too. Although they are less precise as the texture of paper absorb light in a different way to fabric.
How we work with colours
When working on designs that use several colours we aim to create a harmony that matches the intention we see in your design. Matching each colour reference independently can prove conter productive when colours are numerous. The result can be deceiving simply because colours are perceived differently depending on the other colours around it and on the quantity of one colour in the design. Hence the benefit of working on the overall look of the colours in your design. That said, your colour references are still a good indicator of what you’re aiming for, so with this explanation in mind, it’s bets to supply technical sheets to us containing colour references for the main areas of colours in your design.
In any case, bear in mind that each fabric and printing technique gives a different rendition of colours. To work with all these variables we test and grade colours on each fabric you require and for each design you supply. Find out more on proof developments and printing process.
Different batches of fabric may react to colour in a slightly different way and slight differences in colour tones can sometimes appear between sample and production or restocking. This is due to the impregnation process and to the changing nature of fabric, particularly in weaves from natural fibres. We do everything we can to minimise the differences when they occur and provide the consistency you need in all your stock, however slight variation must be considered acceptable.
EACH PRINTING TECHNIQUE IS SUITED TO A DIFFERENT COLOUR SPECTRUM
Maison Le Callennec focuses on offering digital printing solutions. These technics have in common the use of a digital inkjet printer in the process. In the way of a desktop inkjet printer, it features printer heads that spray pico-litres of ink onto the surface of the fabric. Differences come from different inks and different fixing techniques that are better suited to a type of fabric or a type of end product use. With all the possible variations, it is crucial to work out the best combination of fabric/end usage/design/printing technique and then print a proof. We’re here to help, feel free to tell us about your project.
Digital pigment ink printing
This technique has the benefit of a lighter impact on the environment. We achieve great printing quality and fastness, however the colour gamut that we can obtain excludes very bright and very dark colours. To make use of the ecological advantage of this technic we recommend to work with cottons (weave of jersey), and to develop print designs in this specific range of tones. We can review your designs and advise on how to best adapt.
Digital reactive ink printing
This is the most commonly used printing technic in the fashion industry. It allows great colour fastness and is well suited for a wide gamut of colours, from vibrant vivid colours to dark tones. Until recent years blacks were its weakness as it was difficult to achieve rich deep blacks. This has improved greatly and dark colours and deep blacks come out beautifully. Greys still remain a slightly more difficult shade to grade precisely using this process. We print most types of fabrics of our range with reactive inks, except polyester.
Digital sublimation printing
Polyester based fabric and cotton/polyester or linen/polyester blends are all printed with this process. It is perfect for very bright colours and has a good fastness. Accurate subtle shades can be harder to achieve. But it remains a versatile printing technic when it comes to colours.
Acid inks digital printing
This is a technic that gives very high quality and vibrant colours that we tend to use for products that will be washed less often such as silk scarfs. We obtain great colour accuracy and we can work on smaller runs.
Traditional rotary printing with pigment or reactive ink
To print using a rotary process, we first engrave cylinders, one for each colour. Each cylinder applies a layer of colour which allows larger fields of colour. Colour matching is very accurate as the colour isn’t the result of a blend of small ink spots as in digital printing but rather a pre-mix which is applied to the fabric. The range of colours achievable is very large however, to stay within reasonable set up costs, the design can only feature a limited number of colours. Rich gradients and photographic printing are not possible.