What Is Sublimation?
Sublimation, or dye-sub, printing, has been around for a while, but really hit the industry hard about five years ago. This is a type of printing that uses digital images printed onto a transfer medium, which is then transferred to the garment through a heated pressing process. During this process, the dye used in sublimation becomes a gas that is absorbed into the fabric. This makes the print a part of the fabric, rather than having the print lay on top of the fabric as in screen printing. It makes it much easier to do larger designs across the whole garment, and often produces a much bolder, richer print overall.
Sublimation also makes it a lot easier for printers to customize each individual jersey or shirt in the order. Screen printing requires that each new design get its own screen, whereas sublimation just needs a quick change to the digital file before printing the transfer. Sublimation also allows us to do photo-realistic designs.
But How Does That Save You Money?
First, sublimation can be a big money saver for smaller teams, or teams ordering just a few jerseys. With screen printing, there is a lot of setup for garments with multiple colors, so many printing companies have to require a minimum order amount. With sublimation, all of that setup hassle is gone. This makes it possible for teams to order very small runs if need be. This is great for testing a new look or outfitting new players, without breaking the bank on a huge order.
Second, sublimation tends to be a lot more durable that traditional screen printing. You’ve likely had a shirt that was screen printed that eventually started to crack or peel after a lot of washes. Even the best quality screen printing will eventually show signs of wear. Sublimation, on the other hand, cannot crack or peel away from the fabric because it is part of the fabric. This means you can expect your jerseys and shirts to last longer, saving you money on reorders.
Is There a Catch?
No system of printing is without even a single flaw, though we happen to think sublimation is pretty amazing. It is true that we are limited to specific fabrics, like the mesh and spandex fabrics we offer, in order for the sublimation process to work. It is also true that the best results will come from a white or light-colored base garment. However, we can achieve dark color by sublimating them. Check out our gallery to see for yourself. All of those designs were sublimated on white material.
It has been mentioned in the printing world that large runs of sublimation orders become more expensive than large runs of screen printed orders; however, we have found that the savings involved for the reduced setup doesn’t make large sublimation orders any more expensive. If you have a big order, you’re still going to see some savings, especially in the durability of the gear.
Overall, we love the way that sublimation allows us to help you design custom sports gear of the highest quality. If it saves you money along the way, so much the better. It’s hard to beat designer-quality sports jerseys and t-shirts that is also budget-friendly.