Printing & Embroidery

The Art and Applications of Screen Printing in Advertising

One of the most versatile and flexible forms of printmaking, screen printing or silkscreening combines a stencil with a mesh to transfer ink onto a substrate. This process is often used to create t-shirts, posters and other apparel, but can also be applied to other mediums such as wood, glass or metal. It’s a versatile technique that has been used by a variety of artists throughout the years, making it a major player in modern art and design.

The origins of this printmaking method date back to ancient China, with paper stencils being applied over a stretched frame of human or animal hair. It then made its way to Japan and Europe, where it was refined and developed over the centuries. By the 20th century, this form of printmaking became popular in the art world with a number of prominent artists using it to combat traditional notions of what is considered “art”.

Andy Warhol was perhaps the most famous artist to use screen printing as part of his artistic practice and helped establish an offshoot of pop art called Warholian pop. His infamous Marilyn Diptych was his first work using the screen printing technique and featured her face as it had been plastered on newspaper front pages shortly after her death.

Other notable artists who utilized this process included Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Jim Dine, all of whom combined the screen printing method with other printmaking techniques such as collage and lithography. Sister Mary Corita Kent also used the screen printing technique to produce striking works that incorporated text, letters and images from newspapers and advertisements, blurring the boundaries between commercial art and fine art.

Screen printing is a labor-intensive technique, but it’s easy to master with the right tools and equipment. Once you’ve selected a design, it needs to be printed on transparency film or vellum paper and then coated with an emulsion, depending on the type of screen printing. Once the emulsion is dry, it’s time to apply the stencil over the screen. Then you need to expose it to UV light, either through a lightbox or direct sunlight. The light causes a chemical reaction, which blocks sections of the screen from absorbing ink and revealing the stencil.

After the stencil is exposed, you then need to wash out the unexposed emulsion on the screen with a sponge and rinse it with water. Once you’ve done that, it’s ready to apply the ink and begin printing. The plastisol ink that is typically used for screen printing allows for vibrant colors and easy application. It is a semi-solid ink at room temperature and turns into a liquid when heated. This revolutionary ink has been a major contributor to the success of this printmaking method. The possibilities are limitless with this versatile printing technique, and the sky’s the limit for the creative artist! Whether you’re looking to produce high-quality t-shirts for your business, or an exclusive piece of artwork for your next gallery show, there’s no better option than a custom-printed screen print.

As the popularity of screen printing has continued to grow, so too has the versatility of its applications. From showcasing your brand with logos and slogans on t-shirts to displaying bold artwork in public spaces, there are endless ways that you can put your custom screen-printed apparel to use. The team at Minneapolis printing and embroidery services takes pride in incorporating the art of screen printing into our community, and we’re excited to share some of our favorite ways that you can use our designs to show off your unique style.