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Colour variations from an identical image file should be expected to some degree across various fabrics.
Each fabric base has a different base tone and varies in colour, light reflectivity, thickness, weight, opacity and weave. They may all have an impact on the print colour as well as the appearance of the print colour.
Also various lighting conditions makes printed fabrics colour seemingly vary.
We do endeavor to ensure all of our printers are calibrated for each and every fabric, however the above must be taken into consideration when ordering the same graphic or colours across various types of fabrics and ink sets. Choosing similar weaves and weights can help to ensure your colours look as brilliant as desired.
Please note as well that every once in a while, our printing team tweaks printer calibrations to refine colours. They are constantly on the lookout for new and improved ways to print, strengthening print processes and improving colour precision wherever possible. We might also upgrade our machinery to optimise printing outputs. These can result in some colour variations between two identical orders on the same fabric. These will be minimal however still slightly visible. In case some colour variations may impact your work and you wish to re-order after a certain time, we do advise to order new fabric samples shortly before your larger print run. This will ensure you receive prints with a the closest colour accuracy possible.
Our inks are also water based. None of our fabrics or inks contain or use Azzo dyestuffs. No contaminants of any kind enter the water course thanks to our eco-friendly print process. Read more about Sustainability here.
RGB colour spaces are advised for photographic work. Submit files with “adobe RGB” or “sRGB” to preserve the relationships between colours: your image will match closely enough to what you see on screen.
CMYK: best selection for graphic art, and when your images don’t contain millions of colours (eg photographic work). Best results with “uncoated fogra29”.
PANTONES actually refer to the “pantone textile colour libraries”. The pantone “coated and uncoated” colour mixes are for laser and lithographic printing and so not suitable for textile printing. Pantones should be created within a CMYK colour space. We do try to closely match pantones, though due to the nature of our printing an exact match is not always possible. An exact pantone match is essential? Please contact us prior to ordering.
MONITORS & PRINT
Only specialist graphic monitors under strict lighting conditions can reproduce printed colours. An average laptop or PC screen will look good, but will not necessarily be accurate, not to mention that a lot of the colours are so bright that printers cannot reproduce them. For further information, search for “subtractive colour vs additive colour” to understand the limitations of colours on monitors and printed media.
CONTINUITY OF COLOUR
Repeat orders? Keep your colour space and profiles consistent. If you upload a file as rgb and then order later again with a cmyk profile there will be a difference in the way printers translate all colours, resulting in different perceived colours on the finished item.
BLACK AND WHITE
For best neutral black and white, uploading your file as a greyscale file.
SPOT COLOURS, UV
Though we do not use spot colours or UV and true metallic or gold colours cannot be achieved, you can get very close results by selecting a fabric with a shine such as Duchess Satin (use our fabric filters to find the matching fabric) and use a pattern with a golden or metallic texture. You could also use the colour codes e3c157 (gold) and d0d0d0 (metallic) however the result will be plainer than with a textured pattern. We do advise to start with a personalised fabric.
You can only upload PNG, JPG and flattened TIFF files. If you upload unflattened tiffs this will cause unintended changes to your design not visible on the interface and which you need to ensure you
Cutting of the fabrics:
We have four finishing options for your fabric order:
Hemming Options & Fabric shrinkage
At Contrado, we have our own in-house stitching department, and are able to hem your printed fabrics for a small extra fee (option to select on the design interface after clicking on "Start Design" and selecting the fabric dimensions.
We offer either a folded hem (single or two fold dependant on the fabric) which uses a straight stitch, and an overlock hem - which stitches over the edge of your material, both black or white. Some fabrics will work better with one particular hem type, and won't be compatible with the other - for those you will only be given the suitable option. If you see both options, then it's down to you which you would prefer.. However, please be aware that hemming options will reduce the size of your finished piece: A 100cm x 100cm square of fabric will measure approximately 98.5 x 98.5cm once hemmed. If you want to retain the original size, you’ll need to make your print larger to compensate.
Average Shrinkages by fabric are:
- Light Fabrics & Silks: a 6-8mm 2-fold hem. Minus 12-16mm per side.
- Medium Fraying Fabrics: a 15-20mm 2-fold hem. Minus 35-40mm per side.
- Stiff, Heavy, & Non-Fraying Fabrics: a 15-20mm 1-fold hem. Minus 35-40mm per side.
Measurements are approximate, and can vary. Please take fabric printing shrinkage values (2-6%) into account in addition to hemming options.
Our online preview will accurately advise whether your uploaded graphic is of sufficient quality to print at the physical size you have selected. If you see a low quality warning you have a few options to ensure your print is as sharp as possible. Some advice below:
WARNING this can adversely further reduce the quality of your graphic, and should only be used as a last resort. Recapturing the image at a higher resolution is best practice if possible. In any case do not just increase the resolution (dpi) of a file as it will only trick online systems to believe the new design would be of higher quality when it in fact would not have changed at all.
Using the image size dialogue in Photoshop or other designer tool you can resample your image via Preserve Details (enlargement) or Bicubic Smoother (enlargement) > then increase the resolution or width/height.
Resampling your image means that what was one pixel is enlarged into many more. This will increase the size of your graphic (in terms of file size, physical size and resolution) but will not necessarily increase the quality, straight lines and fine details can become fuzzy. Careful sharpening after enlarging can bring detail back into focus.
Photoshop plugins such as “Real Fractals” can do a better job of enlarging, there are many more available for a small fee or free of charge.
If your graphic is fairly simple (low details, low number of colours) you can import into Adobe Illustrator and use its image trace preview, playing around with the settings to get an accurate trace of your image.
Always export your image at max quality, using formats such as flattened tiff or PSD when editing, and only saving to a jpeg when you are uploading your file for print.