Color Reproduction of Digitally Printed Silk Fabrics


Document ID: 
Yu Ju Wu and Gabriel Grant


Digital, Non-Member: 
Photo, Member: 
Photo, Non-Member: 


The benefits and beauty of printing on textile are apparent. With developments in digital large-format printing technologies, digital textile printing usage continues to grow. I.T. Strategies' Research on Emerging Print Markets predicts that the value of the printed output from digital textile printers will grow from $1.9 billion in 2007 to $6.1 billion in 2012. Short-run, on-demand textile printing is pushing creative professionals to market their designs in a costeffective way. Short-run sampling and customized production with digital textile printing is an option. Hence, the accuracy of color reproduction on the digitally printed textile is crucial for designers. The color must be a near-perfect match. The main objective of this study is to evaluate color reproduction capability of digitally printed silk fabrics. A set of specific colors was selected from the Pantone for fashion and home color guide, which contains spot colors widely used in fashion design. The spot color test chart was printed on silk fabrics with acid dye inks. Three different silk fabrics--silk chiffon (8 momme), silk crepe de chine (23 momme), and spun silk taffeta--were tested and compared. Color management with ICC profiles was used to investigate the reproduction of specific spot colors. The CIE L*a*b* color values of printed color patch were measured using an X-Rite i1iO spectrophotometer. The color reproduction capability of digitally printed silk fabrics was evaluated in terms of color difference (DECMC 2:1), which was calculated from the difference in shade between the target spot color and color patches on the printed silk fabrics. It was found that crepe de chine is capable of yielding a wider color gamut and higher optical densities, resulting in better color reproduction capability. About 60% of Pantone colors can be reproduced by crepe de chine with DECMC2:1 values lower than 4.0. Chiffon has a relatively small color gamut and only can reproduce lighter colors. Only about 34% of Pantone colors can be reproduced by chiffon with DECMC 2:1 lower than 4.0. It was also found that crepe de chine and chiffon tended to have better fade resistance than taffeta. For the acid dye inks, yellow ink had better lightfastness, while cyan ink had poorer fade resistance.

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