One of the best ways to promote a business is to create branded promotional products such as t-shirts, mugs, water bottles, and other items. There are many ways to print such products, including DTG or direct-to-garment, laser etching, and screen printing. Another method that is worth investigating is sublimation printing. Let’s see what sublimation is, how it compares to other printing methods and how it can help you create engaging products for your customers, employees, and others.
What is Sublimation Printing?
Sublimation printing, also known as dye-sublimation, is a popular form of printing that requires heat. It uses a heat press or other heat source to transfer a particular type of paper, sublimation paper, onto fabric or another surface. While sublimation paper is recommended, you can also use other types of paper, such as traditional copy paper and matte paper. Depending on factors such as color, the kind of design you’re using, the surface, and the number of items you’re printing, you may want to choose sublimation or another method for creating promotional products.
What Can You Print Using Sublimation?
Sublimation printing is often done on t-shirts, but it can be used on many products. However, it works best when done on a material that contains polyester. Examples of promotional products on which you can use sublimation printing include:
- T-shirts and other wearables made of polyester.
- Mugs and other drinkware.
- Mouse Pads
- Signs, flags, and banners
- Cell phone cases
On the other hand, sublimation doesn’t work well on natural fabrics such as cotton. So, if you’re planning to create promotional products such as t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, or other wearable items, you have to be aware of the fabric you’re using.
Top Benefits of Sublimation Printing
Depending on what you’re printing, you may want to use sublimation or another method. Here are some leading benefits of dye sublimation.
- Quality images. Sublimation printing creates vivid, high-resolution designs. It captures all shades of color. It’s great for highly detailed images.
- Long-lasting. You want promotional products to last a long time, so your brand gets maximum exposure. Sublimation printing reaches deep into fibers, creating designs that won’t easily fade.
- Makes the most of space by allowing the image to print to the edge of an item.
- Good for both small and large orders. The cost per unit doesn’t change whether you’re printing one item or thousands.
- If you have the right equipment or work with a company that offers this service, it’s fast and simple. Large orders can often be completed in a day.
- You can print on a wide range of surfaces, both hard and soft, provided it contains polyester.
Best Uses For Sublimation Printing
You can use sublimation printing for many types of products. The following are some cases where this process can be especially effective.
- Customized products. Promotional products, including t-shirts, mugs, and many other items, can be customized for a more personalized effect. Sublimation is ideal for customizing and personalizing products to the needs of each customer or recipient.
- When you want distinctive, high-quality designs, promotional products can vary quite a bit in quality. Sublimation is a good choice if you want products with eye-catching designs, images, or photos with details or vivid colors that will last a long time.
- Suitable for sporting and activewear. Because sublimation printing creates sturdy designs that don’t quickly fade, they stand up well to wear and tear.
- It can be used for accessories as well as clothing. Sublimation can be used for a wide variety of accessories such as mugs, pens, glassware, ceramics, and more. When sublimating on non-polyester surfaces, you’ll need to use a special treatment.
When Not to Use Sublimation Printing
The same printing method is not ideal for all purposes. There are times when you’re better off choosing another method.
- If you’re printing on cotton or other natural garments, you can’t use sublimation. Similarly, any surface must have a polyester coating for the process to work.
- Items that will be exposed to lots of sunlight. Although sublimation creates quality, long-lasting designs, they are sensitive to UV rays, so too much direct sunlight can cause a loss of color. This method may not be best for beach-related items.
- Sublimation isn’t ideal for dark-colored surfaces. You should use it on white or light-colored items.
- Requires specialized equipment. If you plan to handle promotional product creation in-house, you’ll need to invest in the right equipment. This is true no matter what method you use. Sublimation printing, however, can involve more upfront costs as you need a special printer and inks.
- Labor intensive. When you print items using sublimation, each product has to be separately pressed. It’s not always the best choice for substantial orders for this reason.
Tips For Success With Sublimation Printing Promotional Products
Sublimation printing can help you create stronger relationships with customers, prospects, and employees. Here are some suggestions on how to get the most out of this marketing strategy.
- Send personalized gifts. Show your appreciation to clients by creating quality, personalized products.
- Give your employees branded items to wear, such as t-shirts or baseball caps.
- Give products away at events such as trade shows, expositions, grand openings, special promotions, or holiday events.
- Consider items that will get the most exposure. Certain promotional items, such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, and travel bags, are on display for the world to see, boosting your brand visibility.
- Experiment with different products. Find out which type of promotional items are most popular with your audience.