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Screen Printing and us.

Person fixing a frame while screen printing

Screen printing, a versatile and enduring printing technique, has a rich history and significant cultural impact. We thought we'd delve into its origins, evolution, and some other stuff, since it is a very special medium for us here at the Sub factory - especially since it is so hands-on, so controllable, gives a nice textured finish that feels amazing to touch and is so durable.

We'll also talk a bit about its role in the Indian screen printing industry today.

What is it and how did it start?

Wait, what? You already know what it is? You can skip this paragraph then ;) But for those who are unfamiliar with this technique, here goes:

It is a printing technique that uses a mesh screen to transfer ink onto a substrate, usually fabric, paper, or other materials. The process involves creating a stencil (or screen) and using it to apply layers of ink on the printing surface. Each color in the design requires a separate screen and layer of ink.

In the most traditional method, called Manual screen printing, a screen is placed over the substrate, and ink is manually pressed through the mesh using a squeegee. This method is labor-intensive but allows for precise control over the ink application.

On the other hand, automatic screen printing machines automate the ink application process, allowing for higher production speeds and consistent quality. These machines are commonly used in commercial printing operations for large-volume orders.

Rotary screen printing, a variation of the above method, involves rotating cylindrical screens that apply ink continuously as the substrate moves through the machine. Rotary screen printing is efficient and commonly used for printing on textiles and wallpaper.

Finally, we have Flat-Bed screen printing where the screen remains stationary while the substrate moves beneath it. This method is ideal for larger designs and is often used for printing on materials like glass, metal, and ceramics.

Screen printing produces long-lasting prints that can withstand repeated washing and wear, allows for thick ink application, resulting in bright and vivid colors, and is very versatile and can be used on a wide range of materials, including fabric, paper, wood, glass, and metal.

Widely used in the apparel industry for items like t-shirts, hoodies, and sportswear, it’s also popular in the production of posters, signage, and promotional items.

Where did it all start? Screen printing, also known as silk screening, traces its roots back to ancient China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). The technique spread to other Asian countries like Japan and was later adopted in Europe in the late 18th century. Initially, it was primarily used for printing patterns on fabrics and for producing fine art.

The method evolved significantly in the 20th century, particularly with the advent of synthetic materials and advanced inks. In the 1930s, American artists and printmakers began using screen printing to produce fine art prints, leading to the establishment of the National Serigraph Society in 1940. The term "serigraphy" was coined to distinguish fine art screen printing from industrial applications.

Around the 1960s, the introduction of photo-reactive chemicals revolutionized screen printing. This innovation allowed for more precise and detailed stencils, expanding the technique's applications. Screen printing became integral in various industries, from textiles to electronics, with notable use in producing circuit boards and solar cells.

Today, screen printing remains a popular method due to its versatility and durability. It is widely used in the apparel industry, for items like t-shirts, hoodies, and sportswear. The process is favored for its ability to produce vibrant colors and long-lasting prints, making it ideal for both bulk orders and custom designs.

Our DSLR Camera and Diving Mask tees are examples of modern screen printing's capability to produce high-quality, durable prints.

In the world of pop culture!

Campbell's soup cans
Pop Art

Screen printing has significantly influenced popular culture, particularly in the realm of art and fashion. The technique was famously adopted by pop artists like Andy Warhol, whose iconic prints of Marilyn Monroe and Campbell's Soup Cans exemplify the medium's potential for mass production and cultural commentary.

In fashion, screen printing allows for the creation of unique, custom designs that can be mass-produced, making it a staple technique for both high-end designers and streetwear brands.

Screen Printing in India

In India, screen printing has a unique cultural significance. The technique has been widely used for creating intricate designs on fabrics, contributing to the rich tradition of textile art in the country. Additionally, screen printing has played a crucial role in the Indian film industry. Movie posters, often vividly colorful and detailed, are a prime example of screen printing's impact. These posters are not only promotional tools but also cultural artifacts, reflecting the aesthetic and social themes of their times.

The modern screen printing industry continues to innovate, with advancements in materials and digital technology enhancing the process. Automated screen printing machines and eco-friendly inks are among the latest developments, improving efficiency and sustainability.

Screen printing has come a long way from its ancient origins, evolving into a sophisticated and versatile technique with applications across various industries. Its impact on art, fashion, and popular culture is profound, with notable contributions to the Indian screen printing industry, particularly in the production of movie posters. As technology advances, screen printing continues to adapt and thrive, remaining a relevant and essential method in the world of printing.

Check out some of our tees that have been screen printed with all our ❤️

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