Explore how a change in mentality, practice, and process can ease the transition into simulated-process-color screen printing on garments.
A question that I'm commonly asked in e-mails is, "How do I take my current knowledge and experience in screen printing and elevate it to start producing simulated-process prints on dark and colored garments?" Needless to say, this is a hard question to answer in a single e-mail reply. You must manage many variables in art, separations, and printing before you can make the leap, but I am a believer in setting high goals and always reaching for that next level. This column will outline how to bridge the gap between basic multicolor printing and the realm of simulated process printing in an efficient manner with the least amount of stress possible.
Any significant change in a company, especially a manufacturing company that is already comfortable with its process, benefits from an orderly implementation that starts with a change in mentality, then in practice, and finally in overall process. The best results that I have seen in elevating the quality or standards of production come when everyone involved feels some responsibility and ownership in the production process.
The mentality of simulated process
If the first order of change in quality and level of difficulty is a shift in mentality, then it needs to be carefully planned out and implemented in a set of steps that will get everyone involved with the knowledge that they need to accomplish the goal. I have seen big problems when the gauntlet is thrown down and the printing staff is suddenly expected to produce higher quality work of significantly greater difficulty with no additional compensation or appreciation.
Managers and owners can be very tempted to think in black and white and just demand that new levels be reached, but this will commonly be answered with resistance and minimal achievements. That is why it is important to start with the mentality change. Ask yourself, "Who needs to think, train, and act differently for this process to be accomplished, and how can they be motivated?" This is sometimes called the "people factor," and I cannot emphasize enough how a properly motivated group will rocket through a change like this. Some simple ideas on how to motivate people for the move to simulated process:
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