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The meaning of lightfastness

By David Willis 2 May 2018 11827 Views No comments

Here’s an example of a common misunderstanding, or mix up in translation, of the meaning of ‘lightfastness’ with regards to print.

As you’ll see, here are two window stickers that will have started life looking identical, but ending up looking very different…

The problem is a misunderstanding of print processes, and what they’re capable of producing…or not producing in this case.

The sticker to the left was Screenprinted, using lightfast pantone special green mixed colours, and retains all of its original vibrancy.

The sticker to the right is actually more recent, and was produced by others, using the wrong process for the job in hand, who should have known better. As you’ll see, the green has actually faded to blue, as the yellow element of the mix has quickly faded away, and far from the brand colour guidelines!

Lightfastness of printing ink is measured on a scale known as the Blue Wool Scale. Historically, this was a method of measuring how much dyed fabric faded, over a given time, compared to a sample that was kept away from sunlight.

The scale is used in the same way for printing ink, and the test involves exposing a print sample to direct sunlight for a period of three months, and then comparing it to a ‘control’ sample that is hidden from the sun.

The amount of fading is given a fade rating on a scale of 0 to 8, 0 denoting any lightfastness at all.

To add to the confusion, different colours in printing ink have different Blue Wool ratings. Of the traditional CYMK, 4 colour process or Full colour process (they’re all names for the same thing) the M or Magenta, followed quickly by Y or Yellow are the first to fade by quite a long measure.

Time and time again we see Window Stickers, Window posters and general Outdoor display print of which the colour has simply faded away, leaving only a drained and faded version of its former glory, bereft of any life and colour, behind.

But my printer said he uses UV ink!

Maybe he does, but all is not what it seems here either…

UV ink refers to printing ink that is dried using UV light. UV ink isn’t necessarily UV stable, (or lightfast.)

In a nutshell, work produced using the Litho, or Lithographic process just isn’t lightfast. If in any doubt at all, just ask your printer to give you a guarantee of expected lightfastness.

Work produced by the Screenprinting process is very lightfast, and can give years of un-faded colour reproduction.

Some digital print processes can create a lightfast result, but again, best to check!

If in any doubt, call us at Edge Stickers on 01347 823230, and we’ll talk you through the best, and most suitable way of producing your work…that won’t fade.

Sticker Robot | Robot Sticker Printing

By 21 October 2017 6151 Views No comments

A sticker robot is simply a sticker printed to a robot design and kiss-cut (or die-cut) to the robot's shape.

Every now and again we receive orders for sticker robots. Bizarrely, these seem to come in waves and recently we've had a few.

Which, has got us wondering if there is any kind of local craze or annual robot event that suddenly ups the demand for these kinds of stickers.

We've printed thousands of stickers that fall into the category of 'sticker robot' over the years, but here are two of our favourites:

Sticker Robot 1: The Robot Classic

Robot Sticker: The Robot Classic

Sticker Robot 2: The Robot Alternative

Sticker Robot: The Robot Alternative

So, if you can assist us and know of any event in the UK that is driving demand for stickers that classify as a 'sticker robot' then please do get in touch and let us know.

In the meantime, why not visit our custom shape vinyl stickers page and order your own sticker robot today.

How to order square vinyl stickers from Edge Stickers

By 21 October 2017 956 Views No comments

The History of Sticker Printing

By 9 February 2017 8200 Views 2 comments

Bicycle Sticker - Replica Campagnolo Restoration Project

By 6 June 2016 1939 Views No comments