The days when flags were only produced by traditional cut & sew methods are now a long way behind us. Whilst this method often produced superbly crafted flags the process could be long and involved, especially with more intricate and complicated designs and used the expertise of many different members of staff.
Then with the availability of screen-printing inks which were capable of producing strong colours on both woven & knitted polyesters it meant that flag printing started to become a more automated process with repeatability and labour saving at its core. Silk-screen flag printing still has the ability to produce 100% show-through of colour and exact details on standard polyester flag fabrics but is now less favoured due to its space requirements and the high set-up costs in producing the individual screens especially on short runs.
More recently with the advent of digital-print technology flag printing is still a key requirement in order to satisfy the constant demand for national, corporate and promotional flags. Polyesters remain the best media for both outdoor & indoor prints due to their exceptional light and wet fastness capabilities and are quite robust in most locations giving good service. If you compared the results achieved just 10 years ago you would soon see that today’s digital flag printing produces absolutely staggering colours, fine line detail and total show-through.
These improvements are the result of a combination of factors. Great amounts of research and development time have been spent in producing better inks. Significant advances have also been made with both head technology and profiling. These improvements have been supported by the introduction of new and better pre-treatments being applied to polyesters used for flag printing. For example, the Brook7 pre-treatment available on most of the fabrics forming Brook International’s Tropikal – created for colour – range ensures that brilliant, vibrant colours are achieved on dye-sublimation, UV and Latex printers.
Flag printing is now and will continue to remain one of the prime activities for most of today’s flag-makers and digital printers at a time when the opportunity to produce superb results has never been better.
Article by Chris Drury