Digital textile printing and the influence on design

Seminar Paper, 2009

16 Pages, Grade: 2,0


Table of Contents


1 Introduction
1.1 Scope of research
1.2 Introduction

2 Conventional Textile Printing
2.1 Rollerprinting
2.2 Flatbed screen printing
2.3 Rotary Screen printing

3 Digital Textile Printing
3.1 Technology
3.1.1 Methods
3.1.2 Textile printing Inks
3.2 Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital Printing

4 Impact of Digital Printing on Design Process
4.1 Colours and repeats
4.2 Sourcing and lead times
4.3 Costs

5 Designers using digital print technology
5.1 Basso & Brooke
5.2 Aminaka Wilmont
5.3 Matthew Williamson

6 Critique on digital printing

7 Future Prospects

8 References


Digital printing is a new dimension in textile printing. Compared to conventional methods there are many strengths, but also weaknesses. As far as the design process is concerned, the digital technology has an impact, to some extent being able to produce small, highly individual patterns, at a lower price and with a lower lead time than traditionally. These facts also positively support the trend of mass customization. Currently some designers embrace the new technology but at the same time it is also criticised

Key Words: digital textile printing, textile design, ink-jet printing, design influence

List of figures

Fig. 1: Digital printed dress by Basso & Brooke

Fig. 2: Digital Print Pattern

Fig. 3: InkJet printing at KBC GmbH Lörrach

Fig. 4: Mixing of inks next to the digital printing machines

Fig. 5: Basso & Brooke Dress

Fig. 6: Aminaka Wilmont Silk top

1 Introduction

1.1 Scope of research

The scope of this research paper is a comparison between digital textile printing and traditional methods.

Firstly, the most common industrial traditional textile printing methods are discussed and compared to the technology of digital printing. The impact of digital printing on the design process, considering colours and repeats, sourcing and lead times, as well as costs are discussed. Designers that are currently famous for working with digital printed fabrics are presented as well as critical points especially arising from the design side.

1.2 Introduction

The beginnings of textile printing can be found in several continents such as Africa, India as well as South America. Techniques such as batik dying as well as patterning with the help of wooden blocks form the start of the early developments in conventional textile printing. These wooden blocks were used as a stamp in a discontinuous production method. Nevertheless, the revolution in textile printing took place with the invention and spreading of continuous production methods such as roller printing.[1] With the help of these technologies it was finally possible to produce at higher speed.

Prints play an important role in garment design together with other the dimensions of cut as well as colour. Digital printing can not only be seen as an enabler of fast designs in today's fast fashion marketplace but can also play a role for the trend of mass customized garments.

2 Conventional Textile Printing

2.1 Rollerprinting

All of the conventional industrial methods have in common their impact character through a contact medium.

Rollerprinting is one of the oldest automated printing method that is still of importance today. The first roller printing machine was patented by Thomas Bell from Scotland in 1783.[2] For production, the print design is engraved into rollers that are made from copper, representing a cost as well as labour intensive process. In the print process, every colour of the pattern requires a separate roller. The colour is applied on the roller and stays inside the patterned engraving. Surplus colour is removed by scrapers. From inside the engraving the colour is then applied onto the fabric. Production speed with this method is able to reach 150 meters per minute.[3]

2.2 Flatbed screen printing

In the flatbed screen printing method screens made out of a metal frame with thin textile woven mesh or metal mesh inside are used. The preparation of the screens involves them being covered with a light sensitive emulsion. The print design is transferred onto the screen with the help of photomechanical methods, separating the parts of the screen where no colour should be let through from the ones where colour will be applied on to the fabric.[4] There are several different flatbed screen printing methods in use. These methods vary in the way that either the fabric lays still and the screen is transported or the fabric is transported on conveyor belts from one design length (repeat) to the next design length and the screen stays in a fixed position. This production method is non - continuous, therefore the production speed is only 3 to 6 meters per minute.


[1] TVI Verband, (2009)

[2] Miles, (2003), p.5.

[3] TVI Verband, (2009)

[4] Nicoll, (2006), p.18.

Excerpt out of 16 pages


Digital textile printing and the influence on design
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Digital textile printing, Digitaldruck, Textildruck, Digitaler Textildruck, Design, Basso and Brooke
Quote paper
Marina Rehbein (Author), 2009, Digital textile printing and the influence on design, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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