An Abbreviated History of our Proud Profession

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  • 1.800.829.4562 | 700 West Rio Road, Charlottesville VA

    For our Friends

    An Abbreviated History of our Proud Profession

  • Printing has long been recognized as one of the most democratic inventions. Through the evolution of printing processes common men and women had access to sacred (and profane) texts and fine art which hadpreviouslybeen the exclusive purview of aristocracy. Printing provided the means to communicate, educate,persuade,entertain, and navigate. Today printing has moved from books, newspaper and magazines to branding and shaping environments as well as transforming experience. Like you, we're always exploring what the next stage of visual communications will look like in and how it can enhance our lives.

    History of Graphic Arts

    Rubbings of Carved Tablets 175Woodblock Printing 200Moveable type 1040Printing Press 1440Etching 1515Mezzotint 1642Lithography 1796Chromolithography 1837Rotary Press 1843Hectograph 1869Offset Printing 1875Photostat and Rectigraph 1907Screen Printing 1910Xeography 1938Inkjet Printing 1951Dye Sublimation 1957Dot matrix printingLaser Printing 1968Thermal Printing 19723D Printing 1984Digital Press 1993UV Direct Printing 2000


  • !China [175 AD] Confucian Scholars make rubbings ofConfucian"text carved in stone,"intaglio,"in China (white letters onblack backgrounds)

    !Korea [750 AD] Buddhists carve raised letters (cameo) to makerubbings of black text against a white back ground (easier toread!)!Japan [768 AD] Empress commissions huge edition of aprayer, inventing mass circulation, over 1,000,000 copies"printed

    !China [868 AD] Using wood block printing Buddhists printFirst Book a 16' Scroll of pages glued together, includes FirstIllustration, The Buddha surrounded by attendants

    !Korea [11th century] Invention of Movable Type; ready madecharacters which can be arranged and re-used, made first inPottery

    !China and Korea [ c.1230] Movable Type cast inbronze; bronze is stronger for repeated printing and resetting

    !Europe [c.1400] Woodblock printing enables 2 major markets: holy"images of"saints and playing cards for sale"

    !Germany [1437-1439] First time name of Gutenberg, a goldsmith, appearsis in connection with a lawsuit brought by 2 partners, witnesses site a printingpress and a supply of metal type."

    !Europe [1457-1500] Spread of printing, an invention as useful as printing"readily finds new customers: First Italian Press in 1464; First Swiss Press 1465:Venice, Paris, Utrecht in 1470, London 1476, Sweden 1483

    The rest is history as they say! and it continues today.

    Ancient Print History

  • Modern Day

    Latest Invention: Printing Dress - Garment Made of Paper and Equipped with Displays

    Microsoft Research with User Experience Designercreate the "Printing Dress"

    The high-tech frock was created with the goal of studying the influence of wearable text on fashion.made entirely of paper. It allows the wearer to type out their thoughts (with the text appearing on the skirt) and use them as public art.

    The dress is composed of three main parts: bodice, corset and skirt. Designers also decided to equip the dress with a custom keyboard, incorporated in a way to look like a vintage typewriter. The keyboard makes it possible for the user to sent different massages to the skirt that also plays the role of a display.

  • The dye sublimation inks are a pigment suspended in a liquid solvent, like water. The images are initially printed on coated heat-resistant transfer paper as a reverse image of the final design

    ink pigment + water solution

    Discovered in 1957 by Noel de Plasse in France. Polyester was discovered shortly thereafter.

    Became popular starting in the 60s and 70s on small scale products / textiles

    Became popular for grand format environmental graphics starting in the early 2000s.

    PWG has been in Fabric since 2006.

    History of Fabric Printing

  • Dye: to impregnate color into a material. Many times this color change is permanent.

    Sublimation: a change directly from the solid to the gaseous state without becoming liquid.

    Polymer: consisting of large molecules made up of a linked series of repeated simple molecules.

    Dye sublimation: Solid dye particles are changed into gas using heat and pressure, then bond with any polymers present, and change back into a solid.

    [dahy suhb-luh-mey-shuh n] http://www.dyesub.orgContent CreditsImage Credit

    Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square PADye Sublimation Mesh Graphics


  • Transfer Paper

    Polyester Fabric


    Printed transfer paper and polyester fabric are brought together

    Apply heat and pressureby heat press

    Color is transferredto the polyester fabric

    The most common dyes used for sublimation activate at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a range of 380 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit is normally recommended for optimal color

    Dye Sublimation FabricTransfer Printing Process

    Image Credit:

  • Total Ink Entrapment

    Dye sublimation ink consists of a water based heat sensitive dye which provides the color, dissolved in

    liquid. Under heat and pressure, the solid dye particles change into gas, bond with any polymers

    present, and change back into a solid. The high temperatures used in sublimation open the pores of the polymer and allow the gas to enter. When the

    substrate is allowed to cool, the pores close and the gas reverts to a solid, becoming part of the polymer. As such the dye particles can no longer be removed

    and will not wash out.

    ColorfastUltra Violet ResistantMinimal Lighting Considerations RequiredResistant to Scratch, Crack, Peel & BlemishMinimal Lighting Considerations RequiredMore environmentally friendly than alternativesStandalone, Backlit ; Glare Free

    Image Credit: PWG Dye-sub printed stretch fabric for Worrell Water 10

    tradeshow booth

  • Bannerlux Mesh StretchHeavy KnitPoplin SheerSatinCanvas

    Fabric Types

    * the higher the polyester content, the more dye will bond to it, the brighter the image will be

  • un-dithered color

    What Makes Dye-sub printing superior?

    The color produced by dye sub is the result of mixing pigments to get the exact color. This differs from most other printing methods which use a tight group of colored dots giving the impression from a distance of a certain color. This produces a grainy effect where as dye sub has pure tone.

    It takes a 1200 dpi printer to get the resolution a 300 dpi dye-sub printer is capable of.!

    dithered undithered

    continuous tone

    Another difference that helps is that because the color sublimes on the paper instead of being laid down as little dots, the edges of each pixel are blurred. This gives the impression of blending for a more natural appearance. Dots from an inkjet leave large white gaps in between pixels, giving the impression of a grain.!

  • Graphic Applications

    Backlit FabricIntegrated Acoustic AbsorptionBoulevard BannersCustom Column WrapsCustom Fabric ExhibitsCustom Office ScreensCustom Printed FlagsFabric Framing SEGFabric Tradeshow GraphicsGrand Format BannersTable ThrowsWall Murals

    Interior Design | POP | Branding

  • Our Fabric Products

    Our Proprietary Silicone Edged Framing System


    Our Perimeter LED Lit Aluminum Extrusion



    Our Integrated Acoustic Absorption System


    10x50 on single panel, seam to any size


    XGD Fabrics

    High Resolution Fabric Imaging

    Fabric graphic of any shaped frame

  • See you @



    Caroline LambSenior Account Executive

    Thats me Caroline!

    Single Panel Dye-sub Fabric Graphic in FabEZE Frame; produced for Roanoke Island Festival

    Museum, Manteo NC