Primary Tools & Materials:
SCREEN PRINTING, PC/Mobile applications
Additional Tools & Materials: scanner, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, inkjet printer, scanner.
To pair up "analog printing" and "pc/mobile apps," I decided to print by hand a design made in the computer. This screen printed letter is inspired by the typeface Tangier 4847n by Photo-Lettering Inc., found in a specimen book from the library. I scanned it, added a few more shapes and textures to the original, and then separated it into two print layers, to screen print two colors. My goal was to demonstrate how additional colors and tones can be created by overlapping two colors in a screen printed design. The two colors I printed with here are the light blue, which went down first, then the red, which layered on top of the blue. This created a third color in some areas that represents a dark maroon or purple. Secondly, I wanted to show how the paper on which designs are screen printed can also have a large effect on the final colors of a design, which is why I tried layering this two color letter on about ten different colored papers. Last, I wanted to deliberately offset the registration of the two colors in some of my prints, to not only emphasize the "third" color that's created, but to essentially create an entirely new letterform.
In image one, I've deliberately offset the red layer by about an eighth of an inch. Images 2, 3, and 4 show respectively the layers of ink in the order they were applied, then the resulting "three color" letter, with proper registration. Image 5 shows a print that has already received the blue layer about to be coated with red ink. Images 7 through 9 are some alternate color studies on gold, gray, and yellow paper.
Multi color screen printing is one of those activities that is always exciting, no matter how many times I've done it. It's always so satisfying and exciting to see what each color ink looks like when it's added to the last. It truly is magic. That being said, one of the most striking characteristics of screen printing is how imperfect and irregular it often looks. My poor registration was intentional, but sometimes registration can slide off by accident or due to poor file set up or improper burning of a negative onto the screen. This effect can at best add to the beauty or the quirkiness of a print, and at worst, render it illegible. Perfect registration requires an eye for detail, a steady hand, and constantly checking your print setup. In the case of image one - my improper registration served to clearly define the overlap of my two colors, while at the same time creating an entirely new letterform which can be seen as one entirely new letter shape.
A typeface based upon a two color screen print could demonstrate the look of a letter pulled with too much, or too little ink. It could show blurred edges where not enough pressure was applied to the screen during inking. Layers could closely align or greatly misalign at the user's discretion. And placing it on different colored backgrounds should affect the way the colors display - as though they really were semi-transparent shapes of ink sitting on paper. This font could be quite versatile, but one thing it should never be is "perfect," which would defeat the purpose in mimicking the behavior of screen printing.
Huge thanks go to my dear friend Lenny Terenzi at Hey Monkey Design for allowing me to take over his screen printing shop for the day, make a mess, and learn a few new things about this process. As always, thank you for being so generous with your time, your expertise, and your toys.