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Ch.30 拆招CMF設計談出水芙蓉 —— 水轉印

CMF is a specific discipline within industrial design that focuses on the development of a product’s color, material, and finish. Unwrap CMF shares bite-sized stories of CMF Design to inform and inspire those interested in this niche yet fascinating field, with digestible contents for anyone and everyone. Comments and inspirations are welcome!

Water transfer printing is nothing new, and so, its production has been stabilized across industries and used on various products: helmets, toy guns, rackets, automobile interior, home appliances and accessories. It’s everywhere!

The principal of water transfer isn’t difficult to interpret. It is somewhat similar to tattoo stickers (but not 100%): printing patterns on a water-dissolvable layer, and transfer the patterns onto product surfaces while the layer dissolves in the water.

Process flow of water transfer
Video of water transfer (0:19 to 0:40)
Note: provided by Sage1988.com

For manufacturers, the investment of water transfer is relatively low. Whoever cannot afford automatic machines can start with manual equipment. But that means the industry is filled with manufacturers of different capability. One must pay extra caution for vendor selection. Employee training, quality control, equipment, dust-free production line – all these details can contribute to the quality of the final product.

Sage (Cheng Feng-Chih Hui Co., Ltd.) interviewed for this blog post, has further expanded its capability after mastering in water transfer. The company now also owns production lines for IMD and OMD (in-mold decoration). Both of which are processes using mold and films to apply patterns on product surface – more details to be shared in another future post.

In comparison, water transfer has the flexibility of wrapping over complex surfaces. If we were to wrap a film around a sphere or complex curves, it will inevitably create wrinkles around the edges. This technical limitation for IMD and OMD has become a unique advantage of the traditional water transfer.

Old but gold. In another word, each process has its pros and cons. Therefore, when converting design intent into mass-production, sometimes it takes to challenge ourselves with the newest manufacturing technologies, and sometimes, opportunities are risen by bringing new applications to the existing processes!

Note: Please keep in mind that the terminologies mentioned in this blog post may be called differently across industries and companies.

CMF為Color Material and Finishing,屬於工業設計旗下專注於產品色彩、材質、及表面處理工藝的關鍵一環。Unwrap CMF彩材拆拆圍繞著這個主題,以淺而易懂的小故事拆解CMF設計的日常。歡迎留言分享!

水轉印 並非新技術,但也正因如此,在各種產業的生產線都已成熟穩定並被多元運用。比如運動產業的頭盔、獵槍、球拍等,車內裝飾,家電和生活配件等產品上,在我們日常生活週遭都可以發現水轉印的蹤跡。

每每提到工業技術似乎就難以想像,但其實水轉印並不難理解,有點類似小時候的紋身貼紙(但不完全相同):將圖案印製於 水溶性薄膜 上,在水溶的同時將圖案轉印於產品表面。



這次採訪的 承鋒智慧 在精進水轉印之後,又更進一步的拓展IMD、OMD等模內裝飾技術。 模內裝飾技術 是一種利用模具和膠膜合成的紋理裝飾工藝,未來會再準備一篇介紹。




註:樣品由承鋒智慧提供 / Samples provided by Sage1988.com
Water transfer printing uses water-dissolvable layers to transfer printed patterns onto product surfaces.
註:截圖取自承鋒智慧影片 / Screenshot of video by Sage1988.com
Traces of water transfer printing can be found in everyday life, such as patterns on the decorative parts in an automobile interior.
註:樣品由承鋒智慧提供 / Samples provided by Sage1988.com
One of the advantages of water transfer printing is the flexibility of wrapping over complex curved surfaces.
註:樣品由承鋒智慧提供 / Samples provided by Sage1988.com
Pattern can be stretched around the edges, thus organic patterns are suggested for water transfer printing on curved surface.
註:樣品由承鋒智慧提供 / Samples provided by Sage1988.com

Enjoy learning? Use the CMF terminologies mentioned above and continue on with your own research journey on the web. Comments and inspirations are welcome!
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Problem-solving ??? ?????. Former head of CMF at Motorola. A New York-based and world-traveling Design Consultant with over 13 years of specialty in CMF Design. 高雄囡仔,前摩托羅拉CMF設計團隊負責人,目前定居於紐約並遊牧世界,任自由撰稿人兼CMF設計顧問,持續投入在CMF設計的科普推廣,並為WGSN及羅技等公司提供CMF專案支持或諮詢服務。

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