This is a poster showing the chemical formulation of printing ink, what my research aims to do is find out whether or not these chemicals are safe to use. I did however print this poster by screen-printing, which are by no means the most ethical methods. One of the main problems with screen-printing is that the chemicals contained within the screen coating fluid are harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly. Plus the fact screen-printing includes using a lot of machines and water. The amount of water one person could use from washing out 4 screens with a pressure washer would be more water than you would use from just printing something digitally. You could argue and ask why screen-print these posters if that’s not the most ‘eco-friendly’ method?
The formula shown on this poster was taken from the book ‘ Silicones, Volume II.’ I wanted to show this ink formulation to raise awareness of the chemicals contained within rotogravure printing ink. This ink is a lot different from desktop printing ink. Rotogravure ink is made up from chemicals that include solvents. It has to be noted that solvents will still need to be used for printing onto certain surfaces for durability. More products are now however using water based inks, as they have no need for long life durability, for example newspapers. “In printing on water-absorbing substrates such as paper and paperboard, solvent-borne flexo and gravure inks have been largely replaced by water-based printing inks to print packaging materials, e.g. in the case of paper bags and, more recently in a number of countries newspapers are also being printed by using water based inks.” (Karsa, 2003, P144.)
This deign was another piece to this project that made me develop my understanding of ink. I realized that printing ink isn’t really that harmful to the environment, only if it isn’t disposed of properly. You can even drink desktop printer ink, it won’t kill you, but it would make you ill.
All images used with permission from Scott Coates.