Hydrographic film dipping, also known as water transfer printing or hydro-dipping, is a method that uses a specialized film saturated with complex, high-quality designs such as walnut or marble, or abstract geometrical patterns. Because of the unique way that hydrographic film is able to cover any surface, items that may be considered unconventional in the printing space can be decorated using this method. Still, the process of choosing the best hydrographic film for your items will require some groundwork so that you can achieve the best results for your use case. Below we will cover four design considerations that you can use to spark your creativity.
1- Pattern Intricacy
One of the most important things to keep in mind is how hydro-dipping transfers a pattern onto an item. The intricacy of the pattern you choose to transfer is important because you want an accurate duplication. Hydro-film stretches and contours around things, and when that happens there is a certain degree of stretching that you must account for. More forgiving patterns will work best with items that dip and curve a lot, especially round items. Abstract patterns will often render a lot better for these applications than something with a static image.
2- Colors and Basecoat Selection
The next thing to keep in mind is what basecoat will look best for the purposes you have in mind for your item. The basecoat of choice will significantly affect how a pattern comes out in the finished product, and even when hydro-dipping the same pattern, a different basecoat will render a different appearance for the pattern. If your hydro pattern uses brighter colors, then naturally, a brighter basecoat will help to accentuate those colors, and the opposite is true for darker colors.
3- Stick To Your Comfort Level
If you plan to do a custom hydro-dip, it will serve you to research and learn the software that you need to create your own vector images, and the supplies you will need to hydro-dip your items. The benefit of designing your pattern yourself is that you can get exactly what you want for your finished product, but the know-how and effort of doing that can be considered a prohibitive factor for many people. In addition to that, design complexity is an important thing to note, because you might find that a pattern is too busy or detailed for the purpose you originally had in mind.
4- Picking Your Pattern
Finally, the most important thing is to pick the right pattern. You need your pattern to make sense for the item you’re printing. Some patterns will naturally make sense on some items and not on others. For example, camouflage is ideal for firearms and outdoor hunting equipment, but it might be too gaudy in the end to use a flame design for the same items. Weigh your options beforehand, because you don’t want to end up disliking something and having to repeat the whole process to get it how you want.