Designing a two-phase glow-in-the-dark pattern on textiles

Kooroshnia, Marjan
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Textile and Design Lab and Colab at Auckland University of Technology

Although many research projects have explored ways of creating light- emitting fabric displays using LEDs, electro-luminescent wires, and optical fibres, fewer research projects have investigated ways of designing glow-in-the-dark surface patterns using photo-luminescent pigments in textile and fashion design. This may be due to a lack of adequate experimental exploration, as well as a lack of documented information with which to guide textile and fashion designers regarding how these pigments can be used to create such patterns. This article reports on findings based on the design properties and potentials of photo-luminescent pigments with regard to textiles.

Through practice-based research, a series of design experiments were created which demonstrate ways of understanding and working with photo-luminescent pigments when designing glow-in-the-dark patterns for textiles. Through experimentation with plain and complex motifs, the influence of using photoluminescent pigments on the process of creating of a glow-in-the-dark surface pattern was examined. The results indicated that, since the colours of positive and negative spaces were reversed in dark conditions, it provided an opportunity to create tessellated surface patterns similar to those of patterns created by Maurits Cornelis Escher.

Predicting the effect produced by complex printed patterns was not as easy as predicting that produced by plain printed patterns, stressing the need for tools that allowed the designer to simulate and observe the glow-in-the-dark effect before starting to print. A two-phase pattern was then created, with different expressions in daylight and darkness. For this purpose, each colour of textile pigment paste was mixed with a combination of photo-luminescent pigment and binder, and then printed on to the chosen fabric. The effect produced by the mixture in darkness was a gradation of light, like a tone or value halfway between a highlight and a dark shadow and similar to that produced by a printed, glow-in-the-dark halftone.

These research experiments provide textile and fashion designers with a textile printing method that allows them to create two-phase glow-in-the-dark patterns with identical forms in daylight and darkness, but with two expressions in each. It also offers recipes for print formulation and documents results, offering a new design resource for textile surface pattern designers to promote creativity in design. In so doing, the article provides fundamental knowledge for the creation of glow-in-the-dark surface patterns on textiles.

Textile and fashion design , Photo-luminescent pigment , Printing technique , Glow-in-the-dark surface pattern
Shapeshifting: A Conference on Transformative Paradigms of Fashion and Textile Design, 14-16 April 2014, Auckland, New Zealand
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