Screen Printed vs. Digital Printed Skateboards
With more and more skaters opting to show their brand on their decks, there is more demand for printing on the skateboards. There are different methods to print a graphic on the skateboard. The rising debate in skateboard printing these days is screen printed vs. digital printed skateboards.
When skateboarding became mainstream, the graphical part of the board also became an important part of the skateboard manufacturing process. The most common way of printing at that time was screen printing. As screen printing was a popular printing method for flat surfaces, it was a no-brainer choice for the skateboard manufacturing companies.
As the skateboard designs evolved, they became less flat. That occurrence prompted skateboard manufacturers to research new printing methods. That’s where the digital print comes in.
Keep reading as we will shed more light into the whole screen printed vs. digital printed skateboards debate!
Screen Printed Skateboards
Screen printing, as the name suggests, involves making a screen out of a mesh piece that is stretched over a frame. You can make the mesh out of polymer material. Other thin material can be also used to make a mesh. The smaller the aperture of the mesh material, the translated details of a graphic will be denser.
Then, you need to make a stencil by blocking parts of the screen where your graphic will appear. The blocked part will be a negative image. There is a pre-processing procedure you have to go through before you can get to the fun part!
So, how to translate your desired graphics on the skateboard surface? You put the screen on the surface, put the ink on it, and use a squeegee to move the ink to the mesh holes. This will effectively translate your graphics on the board!
Digital Printed Skateboards
Heat transfer printing technique on skateboards has transformed the skateboard industry once it was adopted. It allows for transferring more detailed graphics on skateboards of different layouts. It is a form of digital printing, but you can also use a digital printer such as UV printing machine to transfer digital graphics on the skateboard deck.
With digitally printing your skateboard, you will achieve an unprecedented level of detail. Digital printing your skateboard is highly beneficial for complex graphics. If your graphic includes small fine details and lots of colors, then it would be smart to opt for a digital print.
Digital printing doesn’t require a screen to produce the graphic on the board. That means that you can print a graphic to a surface such as thin plastic or vinyl. Much better than printing on a wood surface because of the material quality. The wood surface is flawed and prone to collecting dust and other particles that may hinder the printing process.
Also, you can digitally print on your skateboard regardless of the shape, as the thin surface where the print will be made is adaptable to the skateboard layout.
Why Should You Screen Print Your Skateboard?
The screen printing process is more time-consuming and tiring process than digitally printing your skateboard. Before, it was a common printing method to transfer the graphics on the board, but after the new player has entered the game, is it still beneficial to screen print your skateboard?
As the screen printing process is done by spreading ink on a screen surface, your graphics should feature one or two colors. You don’t want to mix many ink colors to not mess up with your desired design. Fine details of your graphic design will also be harder to translate on your board with this method.
So, if you want to translate graphics that feature a simple design, then screen printing your skateboard is a solid choice. Also, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and would enjoy translating the graphics on the board by your hand, then screen print is a no brainer.
Why Should You Digitally Print Your Skateboard?
Digital printing can transfer more of the detail to your skateboard due to the more effective printing method. If your graphic contains lots of colors, the heat transfer process will be the most ideal for transferring it to your board. It is recommended to use digital printing when your graphics features more than 3 colors.
Most likely, if your graphics are digital, it has different gradients, fades and shades to further improve the design. These seemingly tiny details can be translated with high authenticity with the heat transfer process on your board.
So, what would be the conclusion to our screen printed vs. digital printed skateboards face-off? Screen printing obviously has its limitations regarding color translation when compared to digital printing. But, translating a simpler graphics is effective with the screen printing process. Digital printing process trumps the screen print process when it comes to translating tiny details and vibrant colors of your graphics.
In the end, it all depends on the type of graphics. Opt for screen printing your skateboard if you have a simple, one or two color graphics. Digital print your skateboard when your graphic is more complex, with colorful base and intricate details.
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