Our Print Processes
Direct Screen Printing:
This method is used to apply spot colours directly onto the mug by printing through a screen onto the rotating body of the mug. We use this method when:
- The design is simple
- The design is made up of solid spot colours
- The registration is not too tight
- The mug shape is suitable for a direct print
Screen printers can print thousands per day which makes this process one of the quickest and most cost effective. This method is fired into the glaze so the design will last the lifetime of the mug.
Vector artwork would be needed, font preferably converted to outline to stop the risk of font matching and set to a recommend size minimum of 10pt.
With this process the design is printed through a screen but onto paper first, then cover coated. The print is then treated as a water slide transfer and applied by hand to the ware. Therefore this process is slower and more labour intensive, this accounts for the longer lead-time.
Transfer printing is used when:
- The design is outside the direct print area or on a mug that cannot be printed direct
- If the design has very tight registration, there is less movement than direct as it is printed onto a flat surface.
- If the design includes tone or printing full colour as the screen mesh is a lot finer. Gradients and tones will still appear quite coarse though due to being printed through the mesh.
- Individual names are required, these can multi-up on a screen and then hand applied individually. This works particularly well if there is a generic part that be printed as a direct print.
The colours are limited compared to direct printing as K colour cannot be used, therefore brighter colours cannot always be matched. This method is fired into the glaze so the design will last the lifetime of the mug.
Dye Sublimation Printing:
Dye Sublimation printing uses organic colour dyes, this opens up a much more diverse spectrum of colour gives a bright and glossy appearance. Designs can be reproduced straight from a computer creating smooth gradients and tones.
The mugs need to have a dye sublimation coating on them so not all mug shapes are available.
Dye sublimation isn’t fired, it is cured, and therefore the design isn’t 100% permanent. It can be washed in a dishwasher but this may make the design fade over time.
Dye Sublimation is used when:
- Artwork is photographic or includes a large spectrum of colours, tones or gradients.
- If the design is one off or is a personalised order, the setup is a lot simpler so this process is more cost effective.
- If the artwork includes vivid colours
High resolution .jpg images can be used as well as vectors, text is recommended to be set as vector, if possible, to enable editing to aid printing.
Most of the mugs available in the Keramikos range can be printed digitally. Instead of films or screens, high quality images are used, these are printed in cmyk and then cover coated and hand applied same as the transfer process. This is then fired into the glaze making a durable and lifelong print.
The colours can be variable and can differ with the slightest change of environment. Colours can be amended easily however artwork cannot always be pantone matched like Dye sub.
Digital printing is used when:
- The design is photographic or tonal/gradient based but the preferred mug shape isn’t available as dye sub
- Bone china is one of the better wares to choose from, as this can be fired at a higher temperature the colours will gloss up a lot more. Printing on Earthenware can sometimes look dull and washed out.
- Artwork that is watercolour/hand drawn tends to work well with this method