“We’ve been printing with water based ink for a year and our printers love it, just because of the ease. The softness of the ink in particular, especially with discharge. It’s easy to clean up – no mess, and it washes up with water. We have one full time printer, now when he gets plastisol job he’s like, ‘Are you sure you don’t mean water based?'” Pirate Ninja Print Shop. so, switching to water based ink is something to consider.
Current and new water based printing technology is quickly catching up to that of plastisol ink. In fact, water based ink technology has progressed dramatically over the past few years, taking the role of many top-tier shops’ ink of choice. And it’s no wonder.
Here are seven reasons why you might consider switching to water based ink:
1. Your customers are expecting water based prints.
With high level brands such as Nike and Adidas leading the way, it’s not only on-trend to offer customers plastisol alternatives, it’s crucial to staying on top. While consumers are notoriously uneducated about the details that go into printing their design onto a shirt, they do often have preconceived ideas about how that finished print looks and feels. These ideas are heavily influenced by the kind of prints they find in stores. So, as your customer’s favorite brands transition into water based prints, you will find that your customer’s expectations follow. Whether they realize it or not.
2. Water based prints feel better.
Deciding how you want your final garments to feel should be a deciding factor when switching to water based ink. Gone are the days of the bulletproof shield that was a result of a solid underbase print with the design stacked on top. Comparing plastisol and water based prints doesn’t even seem fair. The softness and flexibility of water based prints will win every time in the touch-test.
3. You can achieve higher quality prints.
It’s not just the physical texture either, that changes with various ink types. Because water based inks are thinner and sit deeper within the garment’s fabric, you can actually print higher detail, finer registration and on more delicate garments than thicker inks like plastisol. Making for higher quality garments overall.
4. Water based printing helps you stand out.
Educating your customers about these differences can also set you apart in the market. When you’re a print shop competing for local business, it’s important to differentiate yourself in any way you can. By educating your customers about the differences in print quality, you will set yourself apart from your competitors and gain more loyalty from the customers you work with.
5. You can say “yes” to more jobs.
As with most decisions a business makes, you are in control of your process and what you choose to print. However, there are certain regulations and laws that need to be followed in order to give you the freedom to print any job that comes your way. CPSIA regulations have outlawed the use of phthalates on infant garments and soon PVC will follow. In order to accept jobs of this variety, you will have to offer either phthalate free plastisol or water based inks. Don’t think you can avoid it either. The consumer public and it’s protection agencies are catching on, and it’s only a matter of time before this becomes standard in every print shop.
6. Water based printing is better for the environment.
In an industry that has typically been know for contributing harsh chemicals and toxic waste, printing with water based inks gives us a little respite from these substances. Water based inks are comprised from naturally occurring substances and, if used correctly, are much better for the printer, wearer and environment. Because they are not made of plastic, they do not use environmentally damaging petroleum or fossil fuels in their creation. And, because they are water soluble, no chemicals are required for their clean up. Which keeps potentially harmful substances out of the water supply. However, water based printing and cleanup can be just as bad for you and the environment as plastisol if done incorrectly. So, do your research.
7. Water based printing will save you money.
Since the ink is thinner, you should use a higher mesh and try to print wet on wet instead of flashing between colors. You can use less ink because of the lower cost of water based ink and higher mesh (when using Green Galaxy Water Based HSA Inks).
As you think about switching to water based ink, think about the ways in which you can leverage this to make yourself stand out and gain a competitive advantage.
Just dipping your toes into the realm of water based printing? Perhaps you’re looking for more information on its pros and cons? Unique benefits and limitations? Requirements and rewards?….Or maybe simply, how to print with water based ink?