Published - 30th October, 2017

Our 5 types of printing techniques – the complete breakdown.

Do you know your Sublimation Print from your Jelly Print?

Print is possibly the most common branding technique used in the clothing industry to date. It’s quick, diverse and the effects can be mind-blowingly incredible.

So how do you know which print method is right for you and your range of garments, when there are so many to choose from? Not only that, not all techniques are suitable for all products, so understanding what you need in order to create the perfect print is of paramount importance.

What do you need to consider when choosing your printing technique?

Put simply, your supplier should walk you through the process, giving you the right advice for the design that you want to replicate. Yes, print is one of the most versatile branding techniques around, but not every process is suitable for every logo and product and printing headwear can come with its own challenges, especially when you are trying to navigate around seams, and curved/arched surfaces.

If printing is the desired effect that you want, then which process should you go for? Please read on to find out more about 5 different types of print and how you could use them to brand your next range of headwear.

Transfer printing

Heat is applied in order to transfer an image from one surface to another. Transfer printing is an inexpensive method which can be applied onto garments and hats alike, regardless of the colour. The end result is a neat, clean finish. A great UK branding technique for detailed and colourful designs. **TIP – Avoid centre seams on caps.

Sublimation printing

Sublimation is exclusively a bespoke type of print when it comes to headwear and the beauty about it is that it can be applied to any part of the hat when in its panel form, before the cap is constructed. It is by far the most accurate of prints around and even the most detailed imagery, such as photographs, are replicated perfectly.

Sublimation dyes are transferred to sheets of transfer paper via liquid gel ink through a piezoelectric print head. The ink is deposited on these high-release inkjet papers, which are used for the next step of the sublimation printing process. After the digital design is printed onto sublimation transfer sheets, it is placed on a heat press along with the substrate to be sublimated.

**TIP – Only apply to fabrics with a high polyester content.

Elastika printing

Printing onto fabrics with stretch in them can be a bit of a minefield as the prints can and will likely crack if the right process is not used.

Step in Elastika. Applied in exactly the same way as a transfer print, Elastika allows the garment to stretch without the worry of the print cracking, so perfect to print onto our new range of Speed Beanies.

Screen printing

Screen printing is the original process to get images onto garments. Images are transposed on the silk screens, inks are then squeegeed through, leaving the image on the surface of the garment. The process is then built up in layers when applying multi-coloured designs.

Whilst not the ideal method for printing onto UK stocked caps, due to the way that the screens need to be flat to the surface of the garment, it works perfectly for bandanas and beautifully on custom made caps.

**TIP – High resolution, vectored images have to be supplied with screen printing.

Screen print

Rubber/3D Rubber printing

Rubber printing is extremely effective and bold due to its highly detailed 3D finish. There are also different kinds of finishes. Just take a look at this Jelly print technique.

There are a myriad of different ways in which you can brand a hat using just rubber printing. Bold or subtle, we love it!

A final thought:

Printing should always be considered when faced with high detail imagery. This versatile branding technique is sure to inject a burst of life if done properly.

Whatever the weather this winter, we have a great range of Promotional and Retail quality headwear to keep your client’s head warm, and better still we have created a PLAIN label catalogue ready for you to download and send to your clients – totally FREE of charge.


For more information about any of the above please contact the sales team on 01376 560380 / info@sharonleeltd.co.uk

For a better insight into all the changes that have happened at Sharon Lee in our Platinum year, head over to our recent blog – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW IN OUR PLATINUM YEAR or if to learn more about our range of why audits and testing is important have a read – WHY AUDITS AND TESTING ARE SO IMPORTANT FOR SUPPLIERS AND RETAILERS ALIKE! 

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