Printing Techniques

Screenprint Screenprint

Originated in the 1930's, screenprinting is the method of pushing ink through a framed silk mesh screen to create a print.

Firstly, a design is transferred to a stencil that is then applied to a porous screen and set using a light sensitive emulsion. A UV light hardens the emulsion on the screen except in the areas covered by the stencil, leaving tiny holes in the shape of the design for the ink to pass through.

Ink is then pushed through the screen using a squeegee or roller, creating a layer of ink that combines with a material or substrate to make a print.

Screenprinting is a long-term print solution, perfect for outdoor applications and is best suited for bulk quantities.


Screenprint Heat Press

Heat-transfer is the decorative process using heat-applied materials and a heat press to transfer designs onto various items.

Smartprint utilises two different methods of heat transfer, the application of custom-cut numbers or letters and/or digitally printing photo-quality designs onto a special heat-transfer vinyl.

Both methods are great for small order jobs and personalising a range of promotional items and clothing.


Embroidery Embroidery

Used for centuries, embroidery is the art of using needle and thread to create designs or pictures in fabric. Traditionally performed by hand, today's commercial-scale embroidery is completed by computer operated embroidery machines with multi-needle capabilities.

The chosen design or logo is digitized using specialised computer software, a process that converts a two-dimensional image into stitches. The program then instructs the machines to sew the design in its specific colours and stitches into the garments or material.

When compared to print, embroidery is more three-dimensional and features a unique textured effect, adding visual value and depth to products. 


Offset Offset

Offset printing is often considered the gold standard for quality flat-printing, and can be applied to a variety of paper stocks and materials. This printing method is the most commonly seen on day-to-day items including stationery, brochures, business cards etc.

Once a file has been created, it is transferred onto metal plates that are 'hung' on the press. One plate is made for each of the colours used, CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) for a four colour process or a pantone colour for a single colour job.

The required stock is then cut to size and is run through the press which can take anywhere between 30 minutes to a few days, depending on the complexity of the job. Once the press run is complete, the final touches are made which can include binding, die cutting, scoring, numbering or perforating. 


Digital Digital

Digital printing is a modern print method that uses inkjet or laser printers to convert digital files such as PDFs to printed images.

Print ready files can be sent directly from the computer to the printer, eliminating the need for printing plates (required for offset printing), making this method perfect for on-demand printing, quick turnaround times and small print orders.


U.V. Digital U.V. Digital

UV digital printing is a modern and economical technique, using a wide-format flatbed printer with specialised ink that cures when exposed to UV light.

Unlike traditional printers, the print head is equipped with UV lights which move back and forward over the item, simultaneously spraying and curing layers of ink. The large printing bed allows for direct printing onto a wide variety of flat substrates including plastic, wood, metal and tile.  


Dye Sublimation Dye Sublimation

Dye sublimation is a method of applying an image to specially coated ceramics, metals and polyester fabrics. This unique process uses high temperatures and pressure to transfer a solid, heat-sensitive ink to a gas. This gas then bonds with the white substrate and then reverts back to a solid once cooled, leaving behind a photo-quality image that can't be removed or washed out.

Dye sublimation is perfect for customised clothing and team uniforms, as well as a range of novelty items.  


Pad Printing Pad Printing

Pad printing is a common print method used on a variety of day-to-day items. What sets this technique apart from screenprinting is its incredible versatility and ability to print on items with irregular shapes or surfaces.

Firstly, a design is etched onto a plate and the indent is filled with ink (one plate is required per colour in the design). As solvents evaporate from the ink when exposed to air, it becomes tacky and is picked up by a silicone pad. The silicone pad then deposits the ink onto the desired surface creating an impression in that colour. Silicone is used because it does not absorb ink and its unique properties enable ink to be transfered to a variety of substrates including sporting goods and promotional items.


Contour Cut Contour Cut

Create stickers of any shape with our contour cutter!

For custom stickers, a design is created with an outline around its border using our design software. This design is then digitally printed onto vinyl stock and fed into the contour cutting machine. Using its specialised cutting software and sensors, the machine reads the registration marks to ensure alignment and uses the outline as a guide to cut out the design.

Contour cutting is also used for vinyl cut lettering and numbers.


Laser Etching Laser Etching or Engraving

These two methods are often used interchangeably and although similar, offer different capabilities and results.

Both laser etching and engraving is a process using a computer-controlled laser to permanently cut an image or pattern into a hard material, such as glass, wood or metal, and sometimes leather.

Laser etching removes a certain ‘material’ or protective coat from the surface so that acid can etch an image. On the other hand, laser engraving directly marks the surface, creating a deeper indent and is usually reserved for projects on wood, metal plaques and plates.