Smart Textiles Design Lab Blog at The Swedish School of Textiles

Designing two-phase illuminated surface-patterns on textiles

Designing two-phase illuminated surface-patterns on textiles

Presented by Marjan Kooroshnia at Shapeshifting: 
A Conference on Transformative Paradigms of Fashion and Textile Design 14—16 April 2014, AUT University Auckland New Zealand


Although extensive research projects have explored ways of creating light emitting fabric displays using LEDs, electro-luminescent wires and optical fibers, much less experimental research projects have investigated the ways of designing a novel illuminated surface-pattern using photo-luminescent pigments in textile and fashion design. This is due to a lack of adequate experimental exploration and also a lack of documented information to guide textile and fashion designers on how these pigments can be used to create novel illuminated surface- patterns. This paper reports on findings based on the properties and design potential of photo-luminescent pigments on textiles. The author suggests approaches that can be used by textile designers in order to design innovative and more complex illuminated textile surface-patterns. Through practice-based research, a series of design experiments have been created which demonstrate potential design application of photo-luminescent pigment on textiles. Through experimentation with plain and complex motifs, the influence of using photo-luminescent pigment in creation of an illuminated pattern on textiles was examined. The results indicated that the color of positive and negative spaces were reversed in dark conditions, providing an opportunity to create tessellated surface-patterns similar to the patterns created by Escher (Schattschneider, 2004). Predicting the effect produced on complex printed patterns was not as easy as predicting the effect produced on plain printed patterns, stressing the need for tools that allow us to simulate and observe the glow in dark effect before starting to print. The research proceeded in its second phase to create a two-phase pattern with an identical form in daylight as well as in darkness but with two different expressions. For this purpose, each color of textile pigment paste was mixed with a combination of photo-luminescent pigment and binder and then printed on the chosen fabric. Observing the effect produced by the mixture in darkness indicated that the mixtures created a gradation of light like a tone or value halfway between a highlight and a dark shadow, similar to the effects produced by printed illuminated halftone. These research experiments provide textile and fashion designers with a unique textile printing approach that allows them to create two-phase illuminated patterns with identical forms in daylight as well as in darkness but with two different expressions. It also offers recipes with print formulation and documents results, as a new design resource for textile surface-pattern designers to promote creativity in design thinking. In doing so, the paper provides fundamental knowledge for the creation of novel and complex illuminated surface-patterns on textiles.

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