The Cost Effects…

I’ve not checked this out thoroughly, but it is probably a good guess that at least forty of the fifty state flags are produced by silk-screen printing (serigraphy) because of the highly detailed state seals, or scenics, set in the center of their many blue fields, like Minnesota’s current flag. This process is the only way: certainly the age is past the labor-intensive older techniques of embroidering or applique. (Some of the detailed schemes are printed separately and later sewn into the center of the fields.)

Anyone who has had multi-colored jobs for the printer knows that for each color of ink, the costs increase. The artist’s preparation of the screens is also additional dollars for each color. This starts to run into serious money. But just imagine the costs if everything were hand-done. Out of the question; so silk screening is the answer. The inks penetrate the fabric, producing an image on both sides of the nylon (usually). Thus, the “back-side” image is in reverse. Not a good idea if the design includes lettering.

On the other hand, today’s flag manufacturers are able to make sewn-together bands of color, stripes, and even smaller stars from flag bunting or outdoor nylon–quite beautiful and durable. And it turns out that the expense is competitive and the results are superlative. The Stars and Stripes produced by sewing is an excellent example of the technique. The colors are fast and fade much less than printed versions. There are a few simply designed state flags that are produced in this way. Machine-stitching and cutting of the designs parts bring production costs to reasonable levels. As we pointed out at the beginning, forty flags are silk-screened.

Minnesota’s 1893 flag is made this way. But a new Minnesota flag of only four large pieces is easily fabricated. Only two shades of blue, one green and one white. How beautiful!

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~ by marcstratton on 24 March 2007.

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