Take your pick. Most any decorating method has an option that yields a high-visibility result. It also can be separated into different kinds of results, such as reflective, fluorescent or some combination thereof. Here are a few options:
Heat Transfers: Companies like Transfer Express (asi/91804) make it simple to serve the safety market by offering reflective stock heat transfers. These ready-to-ship designs are made of 3M Scotchlite, which meets retroreflective performance standards such as ANSI/ISEA 107, CSA Z96, and EN 471. Designs are metallic silver in daylight and reflect white light at night when directly hit from a light source such as headlights or a flashlight. Stock designs include the words police, staff, security, fire and EMS. You can also combine the reflective transfer with custom metallic silver screen-printed transfers.
Screen Printing: Printing reflective ink is another reliable high-visibility method. Tony Kozlowski of T Productions Inc. uses Rutland reflective plastisol ink with an accompanying coupler additive. “We use traditional semi-automatic screen-printing presses with 158 mesh, two strokes, a 70 Durometer squeegee and no underbase to apply the ink,” he explains. “The ink is pretty thin, so it tends to slide off on the underbase. We have experimented with white and metallic silver underbases, though the manufacturer does not recommend using an underbase as it does not allow the reflective component in the ink to bead together.” The look is dark gray until light shines on it. Then the reflection shines brightly. Kozlowski uses the ink primarily for fire departments or other emergency services. However, he adds, “we have used it as a special effect in more complex designs, just to add an extra touch.”
Embroidery: Bright options in thread make embroidery a viable option. For example, Madeira last year brought five new fluorescent colors to market in its 100% polyester Polyneon line of 40-weight embroidery thread. Another embroidery thread offering high visibility is Madeira’s Frosted Matte, available in 13 fluorescent colors. “It surpasses all industry tests for maintaining the integrity of its colors, despite the longevity of exposure to sunlight,” says Alice Wolf of Madeira USA. “Such a thread is particularly useful for adding visibility, in the form of embellishment, to beach umbrellas, patio cushions, boat covers, as well as garments or tote bags that withstand long periods of exposure to the UV rays of the sun.”