We printed this shirt at Mirror Image nearly 25 years ago. It had to be approved by Robert (pronounced RO BEAR) Doisneau in France. In order to print it we separated it and set it up and printed it almost 16 times to get it right, at a time when film was really expensive and good screens hard to make. We not only nailed it, but…
1. Doisneau approved it!
2. We learned how to do our own color separations in our own way that continues to be a key to our success to this day
3. The quality of reproduction was so great that many artists and art institutions considered doing shirts where previously they could not tolerate the level of image reproduction.
The 15 failed attempts to print this were mistakes worth making. We recently had to make patches with very fine details and we tried traditional patch makers, woven patches, embroidery to look like a patch, and printed patch with embroidery added. All failed. Finally a combination of stitched patch with sublimation worked. These were mistakes that were worth it to us so we can go forward with superior results for our embroidery customers.
What is not worth it are one time projects. Many times we all get jazzed to figure out some problem, but just because we perhaps can figure it out doesn’t mean we should spend time and money figuring it out. I call these projects, “arts and crafts” because they are crappy jobs, not good jobs to take. Unless you want to do flock all the time, don’t take one flock job. If you are not going to do simulated-process printing all the time, don’t spend half your life figuring it out, subcontract it out. Can you print this special conductive ink on big pieces of muslin? I probably could, but unless this is a new avenue leading me to riches, it probably is a distraction and a waste of resources. Just because you can print reflective ink on shoelaces doesn’t mean you should do it, unless you have lots of time on your hands and don’t need money.
Something that requires trial and error to get right? “Error” means “mistake” unless it has a higher purpose.