Q: How is a balloon printed?
A: The Balloons are heated in a dryer
to make them easier to inflate for printing. The balloons
must be inflated before the ink is applied. Otherwise, when the balloon
expands, the ink would break apart.
Q: Is special ink used?
A: Yes. It has been developed for the
balloon printing industry. It is made from ground
up rubber particles with pigment in it, and expands
and contracts with the balloon.
Q: What is the apex print process?
A: This is Beantown's silkscreen process,
in which the ink goes through the screen
directly onto the balloon. The coverage is solid and the ink takes
longer to dry. More ink means more time the screen-printing
process is in action.
In the silkscreen process, there is a separate screen for
each color, and the balloon must go to two stations. The balloon
can move slightly or deflate a bit, so registration is hard to accomplish.
Q: Can I get accurate color matching?
A: Take into consideration the fact that
the balloon is a translucent colored surface. Its color will
influence the appearance of the ink.
Q: Why does my artwork sometimes look distorted
on the balloon?
A: Basically because you're printing a
two-dimensional surface. Straight lines become curved and
don't remain parallel. The balloon is inflated 60 percent in the printing
process, but is blown up to 100 percent when used, which also
contributes to some degree of distortion.
Q: Since the balloon is round, what shape should
my artwork be?
A: The shape of the artwork depends on
which printing process is chosen. In the flexographic
process, the balloon rotates with the plate, so the ink wraps around it
at its equator. A design which is wider than it is high
is well-suited to the flexographic process. The optimum
proportion is width=2x height. In general, a larger design will work better
with the flexographic process.
For the silkscreen process, on the other hand, the optimum
shape is square. When printed, the balloon is stationary,
with an area 5x5 inches flattened down by the screen.
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