Pros and cons of sublimation printing

One of the coolest options for sports teams looking into new team kit ideas in recent years has been the rise in sublimation printing. Once a rarity it is now seen at all levels of sports and is used in increasingly inventive ways. But here we want to focus on what sublimation is, what are its key benefits and whether your team should consider using it.

Sublimated Rugby Shirt
An example sublimated shirt from customer drawing

What is sublimation printing?

Sublmation printing is a novel method of creating bespoke clothing whereby a design is printed directly into a plain white fabric rather than stitched together, Rather than panels of separate colour such as front, sleeves and side being sewn to create the garment, the design is first printed, then layered onto the plain garment and fed through a dye sublimation printing machine to produce beautiful high colour output. The clothing is then constructed with the design embedded in, meaning no fading or wear on the design or risk of design features coming loose or falling off over time.

The benefits of this process are immediately apparent. Rather than deciding which set of 2 or 3 colours you want your team kit to feature, an unlimited range of colours in any combination can be fed into any part of the clothing. Anything (2 dimensional static) you could design on a screen could theoretically be placed onto a shirt or dress design, be it photos, illustrations, cool graphics and text, fading gradients and multi-layer images, making for some truly awesome designs and unlimited possibilities.

Is sublimation the best choice?

While this process offers many great features there are always alternatives that offer their own plus points. Consider for example a traditionally stitched team kit design. A bright selection of colours are available, as well as a wider choice of fabrics to get the best product for you. The classic look and design may be the style you wish to replicate, which would be far more difficult with a seemless sublimation design. Another aspect to consider is the economical value of stitched versus sublimated. A classic style is less expensive but any personalisation such as printing or embroidery will incur extra costs, and a large amount of printing will eventually make sublimation the more cost effective method, as an unlimited amount of sponsor artwork or logos can be added.

Sublimation is an excellent choice to have and should certainly be considered if your team want to stand out. We have more information available here on our blog, plus sublimated designs for netball kits, football shirts, basketball jerseys and rugby shirts.

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