How Does Glow-In-The-Dark Ink Work?

How Does Glow-In-The-Dark Ink Work?

I step up my fashion game come autumn. As a large (ish) human who doesn't like tighter clothing, I can say with the utmost confidence that summer styles are not for me. This summer, I attended the Tony Soprano school of fashion with extremely oversized and loudly colorful button up/bowling shirts and even sometimes wearing a bath robe by the pool, but that's neither here nor there. The point is - the colder weather turns up the clothing game for me. I get brave with my color choices, layers, and accessories that I wouldn't even think twice about in spring or summer (or winter for that matter, because who cares what I look like when I lie on the couch watching college football bowl season?).

Why am I telling you about my fashion choices? Because now is the time to get bold. When you're not asked to do silly things such as hiking, a 5K, or one of those pedaling breweries because it's slightly colder outside, you can get pretty funky with your fashion - and that doesn't just include styles. Think outside the box with your color choices too.

It's time to glow in the dark!

This fall has been the season of glow (I tried like the dickens to work in a 'glow up' pun, but nothing is coming to me) ink and custom glow t-shirts around here. Glow ink is a simple effect that brings your shirts and event to the next level.

How does glow work?

On a scientific level, glow-in-the-dark ink has a fluorescence to it that absorbs invisible UV radiation and then emits that as a longer wavelength of a different color, which our eyes interpret as a glowing effect.

No, I mean how does it work on shirts?

Oh! That makes more sense. After all, you are on the website of a screen printer, so I guess that's my fault. Our glow ink isn't an ink in the sense that it sits right on the shirt, it's a thin ink that is applied on top of an existing ink to create the glowing effect. Because of the way its application method, it opens up new doors into how to maximize your budget.

I want to highlight two recent glow prints that we've done recently that really took advantage of this day versus night effect. The Ranchita Moon Run, hosted by the Montezuma Valley Market out in California, sent us artwork of people running and a moon in the sky over mountains. Fun design, gets the point across, informative, good color scheme, etc. But then POW! Turn off the lights and the you see Bigfoot glowing on the moon. This is such a clever way to use the glow effect because people already like the shirt design and then they are hit with another surprise; it's like when you get an 11th nugget in your 10-piece meal.

In a similar method, we printed for Blink Cincinnati, a light and art show that takes place in Cincinnati next week. This artwork doesn't hide a glow element, but rather amplifies some of the design elements. The specific designs you see below are for some restaurants that look incredible in daylight and then when the sun goes down, you still see the important elements of the design, just in a different method.

How should I design my glow art?

We recommend getting funky with glow - that's why we have it! But follow a couple of guidelines as you are in the process -

  • Don't put glow on dark colors. The glow effect looks the best when it is printed over a lighter shade, such as white or light gray, but we've also printed it over electric blue, pale yellow, and lime green.
  • For best results, we encourage using a dark garment, because of the above reason. Light ink on a light garment doesn't look the best, but then again, that might be the purpose of your project! We've also printed a baby announcement using white/glow ink on a white shirt.
  • Less is more. If you have a big design that contains a lot of colors, I wouldn't encourage the whole thing to glow. From a production perspective, more inks and a glow effect makes the shirt start to feel a little heavy and plasticky, so use it effectively.
  • Our glow currently only glows green in the absence of light. In the future we hope to expand to more glowing colors!

Want to get started? Here you go:

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