TEXTILE DESIGN AND PRINT
IN THE DIGITAL AGE 9
DIGITAL DESIGN TUTORIALS 23
PATTERNS AND REPEATS 87
INTRODUCTION TO ILLUSTRATION 121
DIGITAL CRAFT 141
TECHNOLOGY FOR DIGITAL
TEXTILE PRINTING 167
Digital technology is changing the face of textile design, from methods of creating and presenting designs to the ways in which they are realized. Working in a digital environment, designers are afforded more time to experiment, explore, and create, while manufacturing technologies offer innovative new printing solutions. This practical and inspirational book examines a new era of textile design and features clear tutorials and case studies revealing how digital techniques are being employed in the fashion, interior design, and home furnishings industries.
The development of digital printing onto fabric is changing printing methods and removing the restrictions that textile designers have traditionally faced: freed from concerns about repeat patterns and color separation that are key considerations in screen and roller printing, designers are able to work with thousands of colors and create designs with a high level of detail. There is also greater freedom for experimentation, as one-off production is now possible as well as small print runs and prints engineered specifically to fi t within a garment. Software programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator present the perfect platform for textile design. These have become the industry standard tools for textile designers, offering them the freedom to work with both bitmap and vector-based imagery, manipulate drawings and photography, and create accurate details and graphic effects.
While digital printing allows a rich mix of layered imagery, the surface and tactile qualities associated with some methods of traditional printing can be lost: as a result designers are fi nding ways to put these qualities back into the fabric using techniques such as overprinting and embellishment, and this combination of digital and handcrafted techniques has even created a new hybrid craft.
Whatever your interest in textiles—whether you are a student or professional, designer or producer—you will fi nd this to be an essential and comprehensive guide to an exciting new fi eld that is pushing the boundaries of textile design.
NEW DIRECTIONS IN TEXTILE DESIGN
As the most significant advance in fabric-printing technology since the invention of the silk screen, digital textile printing is bringing about a revolution in textile design. Designers are seeking inspiration from previously unexplored sources, and a new visual language for surface design is starting to evolve. The cross-disciplinary use of graphics software, digital photography, video, and special effects by a hybrid generation of young designers is creating a new look for printed fabrics.
Fashion designers such as Issey Miyake, Hussein Chalayan, and Comme des Garçons have continued to utilize and adapt digital design and production technologies and are breaking new ground with the creation and use of highly innovative prints that make little reference to traditional patterns: fl orals have been reinvented through the use of photography, and geometric designs as the focal point of a garment have been given a futuristic edge by designers such as Jonathan Saunders. The process is now widely used in runway fashion collections today, through the use of large engineered or placement prints where the artwork is tailored to fi t the structure of the garment. Designers working in other areas such as costume, theater, interior, and product design are also fi nding it easier to involve themselves in the creation of surface designs for their work. The accessibility of this technology through the use of service bureaus also makes it possible for artists and designers who do not have specialist knowledge of textile printing to design and produce their own fabrics and decorative surfaces.
The use of digital print has rapidly established itself within fashion and textile design, although, due to its high production costs, the major creative developments are to be found in the mid- to high end of the fashion and textile design industry (as demonstrated by the range of examples shown in this chapter). But already it is drawing together disciplines such as textiles, fashion, and interior design, changing the way that designers work. Increasingly, the integration of print is becoming as vital to the designer’s vision as the form of the garment or product itself, due to the immediacy and spontaneity of digital tools.
This chapter looks at the impact of this new technology on textile design and explores the work of both well-known and emerging designers who are using computer-aided design and digital print to their full potential throughout a wide range of applications.
DIGITAL TEXTILE PRINTING
The digital printing of textiles grew out of reprographic technologies originally developed for paper and signage printing, and it now offers the same advantages to the textile industry that digital production affords the paper- and bannerprinting businesses. For individual designers and hobbyists it is analogous to the rise of desktop publishing, albeit more costly. Technology was slower to emerge in the textile industry because of the need to develop suitable inks and large-format printers specifi cally designed to accommodate woven as well as stretchable cloth. With the emergence of large-format digital textile printers, such as the Mimaki in 1998, and then the release of industrial-scale printers in 2003 by companies such as Konica, Minolta, Reggiani, Robustelli, and Dupont, there is now the potential for major changes in the textile and fashion industries in terms of increased speed and long run capability. The introduction of the Isis printer by Osiris in 2008 means that the speed of inkjet printing machines may begin to rival that of traditional rotary screen printing.
Digital printing has perhaps four main advantages over traditional printing: speed of translation of the design onto the fabric; the ability to print intricate details and millions of colors; the possibility of producing very large-scale images; lessened impact on the environment. Traditional methods of printing based on processes similar to stenciling—including silk screen, woodblock, and gravure—fi rst require that a separate template for each color be made, and for the image to then be built up in stages as each color must be laid down separately. The more colors, the more expensive and time consuming the process, so the number of colors is limited by practical considerations, often placing considerable restraints upon the designer. Repeated patterns are the norm in industrialized traditional textile printing, and very large-scale images are also impractical as the size of the design is constrained to the exact measurements of the template.
Digital printing means that there is virtually no limit to the kinds of images that may accurately be reproduced using inkjet technology. It is this exciting advantage that has paved the way for the new styles of design that are explored in this chapter.