Digital Textile Printing: A New Alternative to Short-Run Textile Printing in Ghana
This paper is a part of a broader research into textile design technology and trends across the world and their reflection on the local Ghanaian textile industry. It places conventional manual screen printing and digital textile printing technologies side by side and discusses the various drawbacks of screen printing as against the advantages of digital textile printing to illustrate a path for a wider consideration of the latter in Ghanaian small to medium scale textile production. Short-run textile printing commissions are the main source of jobs for small to medium scale textile producers in Ghana. And manual screen printing is the main process employed by these small-scale textile printers. However, screen printing has various layers of limitations such as poor registration of the design, stains, pinholes, colour correctness, colour consistency, colour smear, dye migration, scorching, improper curing, amongst others. These layers of limitations negatively affect the overall outcome of the prints. So, as it stands now, short-run textile printing commissions are either produced manually, of course, with several inconsistencies or outsourced to China and other countries at a higher production cost. This is because, the large-scale textile factories in Ghana could print a minimum of 2400 yards due to their machine settings, calibration and running cost to make the least returns. This study highlights some of the milestones in the development of digital textiles print machines and examines some of the key aspects of their tremendous production aptitudes for short-run textile commissions. The case study research method is used because data comes largely from documentation, archival records, interviews and physical artefacts.
Keywords: Textile Design, Digital Textile Printing, Screen Printing, Short-run Prints.