Printing textiles provides creative flexibility. Of note is the feel of luxury a certain fabric—such as silk—might provide. On the other hand, a more rustic fabric like canvas offers a natural appearance suitable for certain jobs.
Print service providers (PSPs) offering textile printing must know their clientele and be ready to showcase a variety of textiles at a moment’s notice. It is important to educate a buyer on a substrate that complements their branding message. In some cases, the substrate might offer environmentally friendly benefits as well.
AOSA Image, located in Huntington Beach, CA, regularly works with textiles, ensuring its customers are using the highest quality product to represent their business. It specializes in print, design, fabrication, and branding of trade show displays, point of purchase (POP) and point of sale signage, and banners. Developed in 2006, the PSP began with the goal of helping to properly represent artists in the action sports space, including skaters and snowboarders. In 2007, it transitioned into a 100 percent water-based print company with a focus on “green” printing.
Mike Hill, founder, AOSA, turned to a more eco-friendly ink product in part because he personally didn’t like the odors other inks offered. Today it utilizes reactive and disperse dye devices from both Mimaki USA, Inc. and Roland DGA Corporation. AOSA also houses a Fujifilm North America Corporation Acuity Advance UV flatbed for rigid substrate projects.
The PSP tries to print using only recyclable materials including wood, aluminum, bamboo, paper, and fabric. Originally, the print provider manufactured its own fabric in industrial mills, feeling more comfortable offering something that they knew went through an environmentally conscious process. It was then introduced to Natural AdCampaign’s NatureWoven. Both the media manufacturer’s Gossyp and Chorus products offer natural compostability, something Hill finds ideal.
“NatureWoven products are amazing. They offer the same accountability of our original manufactured media, but also fill a void. The original media we worked with was better served in indoor applications due to its PET composition. NatureWoven is PET free, which allows for creating a lot more outdoor signage elements,” he shares.
High-profile brands work regularly with the PSP such as Burton, Hurley, Oakley, Inc., Reef, Toms, Vans, and Volcom, Inc. The AOSA staff educates its customers on the benefits of NatureWoven. According to Hill, it is the provider’s job to promote the product; customers generally do not come in and request to use it. One tactic the PSP uses to showcase NatureWoven is price matching. For example, if a client wants a job done in vinyl or PET-based fabric, the print provider price matches with NatureWoven to promote the product and its capabilities.
Many of AOSA’s projects that use NatureWoven are those where the branding message is complemented by the fabric’s eco-conscious look. 95 percent of the orders are large runs, short runs or one offs are rarely requested. Generally the campaigns only include a percentage of the NatureWoven product. Hill says its usage is sporadic, with three or four big orders and then none, depending on the time of year.
AOSA regularly does work for The Arbor Collective, which is committed to sustainability in both its manufacturing and promotion of its products. It utilizes environmentally friendly natural materials to produce snowboards, skateboards, and bamboo apparel.
The relationship began with Hill discussing the eco-friendly benefits of his shop and the NatureWoven product line. In response, The Arbor Collective chose AOSA and another Los Angeles, CA-based provider to output a range of applications, many of which are POP in-store displays. These projects include Chorus mounted and then placed on an easel stand and Gossyp stretched canvas banners and banner stands.