Flags are visually appealing. They are also an effective means of advertising a company, business, event, sports team or product. Movie theatres, museums, used car lots and large corporation employ printed flags to attract attention. Up until the 1840s, flags required hand stitching. The invention of the sewing machine reduced the need for this craft to a minimum over time.
Today, printed flags are the mode of creating everything from mass to custom-made flags. Yet, no matter what the process, it all began with the process of textile printing.
What is Textile Printing?
Textile printing refers to the process through which the application of color occurs to produce a specific pattern or design. While dying fabric deals with making a fabric a single color, textile printing refers to applying a single color or more in certain areas of the garment or cloth to produce a specific design or pattern.
The East India Company imported printed cotton into England during the 17th century. The British adopted the skill and began to sell it. It was not, however, as brilliantly hued as the imports. This suited the character of the nation.
In 1676, a Frenchman opened an actual print-works near Richmond. It sat on the Thames River ensuring a good supply of water for the dying process and power. This was to help improve the system manufacturing of textile printing in England. It also meant that exports elsewhere soon became possible.
Stenciling, common in China as early as 960 AD and somewhat later in Japan, was a new method of textile printing. Originally, Europeans employed it to effect in decorative work. Finished woven goods also featured stenciling. In China, stenciling took the form of screen-printing. The method of reproducing designs on material arrived in Europe in the 18th century.
Modern Textile Printing
Screen-printing became a popular way of producing many different patterns and designs. In the 1960s, Andy Warhol, a major founder of Pop Art, popularized the method with his screen-printing of Marilyn Monroe and other cultural icons. The method bled over into industries including the production of tee shirts and printed flags.
While modern textile printing now includes screen-printing as a common means of mass reproduction, modern technology has also gone a step further. One of the latest means of creating patterns and designs utilizes digital technology. This is digital textile printing or DGT. It can, for example, create printed flags in small individual lots or manufacture many by printing the design onto large textile rolls.
Digital printing can handle complex patterns. It can cater to a demand for the mass and the custom-made product. The process can create products quickly to satisfy a growing advertising market.
Digital printing is the current culmination of textile printing. Manufacturers can produce printed flags and other items through this and other methods. Whether a flag maker decides to produce a flag through hand sewing and dying, screen printing or digital printing is a matter of choice and, of course, economics.