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Getting it Right with White

(August 2008) posted on Wed Aug 20, 2008

Garment screen printers seem to be fixated on white plastisol inks. Find out why.

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By Mike Ukena

• I like this white ink because it is cream- ier and easier to print.

Now the last one may actually be valid. However, it may be that the other ink the printer tried was an older batch and may have just aged a little.

As far as brightness is concerned, I have not seen a white ink in the last ten years that was not bright enough to satisfy print customers. The only people who constantly look for brighter whites are printers themselves. That begs the question, are you going to print the two whites side-by-side and have the customer select? If you see them by themselves, they look fine. The only time one may look duller than the other is when they are put next to each other. I haven’t seen too many shirts sold that way.

And speaking of selling, I do admit that ink companies are partially to blame for garment printers’ frustrations. Many of their sales reps do not know as much as they should about the inks that they sell. And even those who do understand the inks will sometimes go with the flow and not upset the customer. Instead, these eager salespeople should try to help by convincing clients that the inks they think they should buy simply are not the right ones. The low-bleed vs. cotton white dilemma is very much an issue that cannot be blamed solely on the garment screen printer.


Modification and curing

Printers care about white ink because they spend so much money on it. With many shops, it represents 40% or more of all the money they spend on ink. You have to care about it when it represents that much money. And in this modern world, with ink prices going up rapidly thanks to petroleum, printers will care even more. Why, then, do printers insist on putting even more money into their white inks by making improper modifications to them?


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