What We Do
Translating ideas into objects requires the right tools.
There are plenty of possible ways to print your message. The best method depends on a number of factors, including number of items required, number of colours necessary, budget, time constraints and intended use.
Because we think it can be helpful, even inspiring, to learn about the production process, we’ve outlined some of our major branding and decoration techniques here, to help give you an idea about what’s possible and what might best fulfill your needs.
Screen printing is a decoration technique that’s been around for ages. Today, we use screen printing as the most economical way to print to apparel like tshirts, hoodies, jerseys and more when doing a medium to large volume order (long run). We have a screen print minimum of just 10 pieces with same artwork.
We can work with any form of electronic artwork. For screen printing we prefer vector artwork, however if your artwork is not vector based, our art department can make the appropriate conversions to be able to screen print it. With screen printing you have to consider that your artwork will always need to be optimized so we can literally print it through a screen!
There are a number of steps in the screen printing process. Artwork optimization, outputting films, screen exposures, press set up, printing and then finally print curing and garment fixation. On top of that, there are a number of ways to screen print too: spot printing, four colour process, simulated spot process, and screen printed transfers just to name a few. Depending on the garment we’re printing on we might use a plastisol ink or water-based inks. And then there are also a bunch of cool “specialty” and “special effects” things we can do when we’re screening… puff prints, discharge prints, reflective ink, metallic inks, glow in the dark, solar charged inks and so much more. The process can be complicated, but we’re here to help and if you want to learn about it we’ll do our best to educate you at the same time.
Direct to Garment Printing
Direct to garment printing is a newer, digital technology that lets us output any electronic form of artwork directly from a computer to a printer that looks similar to one on your desktop at home, except it doesn’t print on paper. That’s right, it can print a full colour photo-quality image direct to the garment!
Because we’re printing direct from a computer, we don’t have to consider any artwork conversions like we would with screen printing, however we do still want to optimize your artwork so the print will look it’s best. With this form of decoration we don’t need vector artwork (though we still prefer it… if vector artwork was a girl… we’d ask it out on a date!). We can print from a jpeg, pdf, gif, word document or any other electronic image. We would recommend that the image be of a high resolution quality but if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry… we’ll take a peak at what you want to print and let you know a. if it will work and b. if it will look good.
Direct to garment has some limitations. We can only print on 100% cotton items with this method and we’ve found it works best for short runs and personalized items. There is no “press set up”, so with this method there is no minimum order and you can get just one shirt if you want.
Another digital imprinting method that allows us to print products with no minimum order.
We can print a full colour photo-quality image to polyurethane media and shape cut it, then fix it to the garment or item with a thermal press. We also stock many vibrant colours of material which can be shape cut and layered for simple one or two colour logos as well as personalized names or numbers. We use thermal imprinting on many fabrics and substrates: cotton, polyester, spandex, fleece, lycra, nylon, polypropylene, neoprene and so much more.
Is this the same technique as using heat transfer paper from the stationary store and applying it to a T-shirt using an iron? Not at all: we use commercial grade media that’s used by many professional print houses across the world. You’ve likely got apparel in your closet decorated using a similar method and don’t even know it!
The product offering using this decoration method is simply massive. This is also a digital imprinting method, so photo-quality full colour imaging with no minimum order requirement is possible using sublimation. We output the image to a transfer paper using a computer and sublimation printer. The image is then applied to the product to be imaged using heat tape. From there, we cook the item in a variety of heat presses or ovens (depending on the item/application itself). Using a combination of heat, time and pressure the image will sublimate from the paper to the item.
This imaging method is limited to products that are sublimation ready. This means the item is composed of polyester or has been coated in a sublimation primer that will accept the sublimation ink.
We can use this method to decorate polyester apparel as well as hard goods like coffee mugs, aluminum/stainless steel water-bottles, coasters, phone-cases, key chains, ceramic dishware (for you or your pet) and so much more.
Large Format Printing
Our large format printers have the ability to print to a number of different media types, and they’re also loaded with a contour cut-engine too. This means we can print AND cut your artwork to create a number of different products. These printers output the print files from a computer, so full colour photo-quality imaging is possible.
We can print to vinyl, banners, scrims, polyester, canvas and so much more. Start thinking signage and banners, window clings, POS materials, vehicle markings, safety signage, stickers and decals, vechicle wraps, electronic device skins, wall paper and or wall murals, removable wall decals, floor/sidewalk decals and lots of other neat stuff. Indoor or outdoor applications as well as special effects like metallic and white inks in our ink-jet based large format printer or hologram, reflective and metallic foil finishes available from our thermal resin printer.
Embroidery is different from our other decoration methods as it’s the only method we offer that is not PRINT. We’re stitching your artwork or logo to the item or garment using an industrial embroidery machine.
To do so, your artwork needs to be optimized. The term for optimizing artwork for embroidery is called “digitizing”. Digitizing basically means formatting the logo so the embroidery machine can out put it. Consider this making a “road-map” so the machine knows where to place each stitch to create your logo in embroidery.
Some artwork may require adjustment to work with this method. We’re sewing the image with solid colours of thread, so gradients, shadows and tonal components are not possible without some alterations. However, embroidery is a resilient decoration method that gives a high-quality, finished aesthetic.
Embroidery works best for things like patches, jackets, hats and corporate wear but T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies can all be embroidered as well.
We also act as a sales broker and distributor for a number of other product lines. If there is a print/branding/decoration method out there and we don’t offer it as part of our in-house services we do offer it from our broker services. Pad printing, laser engraving, offset printing, laser cutting, cylindrical screen printing and so much more.
This means we can help you with virtually any size run large or small, and there is no limit to our product offerings. If you have a custom print or branding project on the go, we would love to help. Just give us a shout!
Ready to get started? Let’s talk.
If you’ve already done tons of printing and have artwork ready, get in touch and we can start today. If you need a little help, advice on what process to use or how to keep costs down and quality high, get in touch and we’d be happy to walk you through it.
Visit us at our Whyte Avenue Location!
PRINT MACHINE Whyte
8124 Gateway Blvd
Our sales and design team will be more than happy to discuss your order! Whether it's a single item or hundreds, we can't wait to bring it from your mind to your products!!