Jun 25, 2017

The Art and Science of Sublimation

Turning Branding into Trend-Setting Design

If there’s one way to get your employees and customers excited about representing your brand, it’s providing them with trendy apparel that looks more like it came from the mall than from a company swag catalog. That’s what the team at UPS learned a few years ago when they added a custom brown and yellow plaid lining to a branded brown hoodie. The pop of color from under the hood quickly made it the most popular item in the company catalog.

That colorful printed lining is what’s known in the promotional space as a sublimated accent. Sublimation printing is a process that combines science with art. By using special sublimation ink, heat, and pressure, color is applied to a garment when the solid ink instantly becomes gas, skipping the liquid form altogether and bonding the color with synthetic fibers at the molecular level. (It’s important to note that sublimation won’t work well on natural fibers, like cotton.) The result is beautiful and colorful. And when combining the science of sublimation with the talent of the art team at The Icebox, your options for trend-setting branded apparel become limitless.

Because the color is bonded with the fabric at a molecular level, the printed design is permanent—no amount of washing will fade or otherwise damage the artwork. This enables apparel retailers to greatly increase the perceived value of a garment by incorporating beautiful design. Sublimated accents take everything from the sides of tank tops to the sleeves of baseball shirts to an entirely new level of cool.

One of the best applications for sublimation is for performance apparel, which is mostly made from synthetic materials. These blends are notoriously stubborn when it comes to adding decoration that lasts, but sublimation dyes are meant to bond to these fibers.

Garments are not the only pieces that can be transformed by sublimation printing. The process can also be used to decorate hard goods, given the surfaces are pre-treated with a special coating. And because sublimation allows for all-over printing, the creative results are often bold, exciting, and retail-worthy. All-over printing is a trend that's very popular right now for drinkware, as an example. Everything from your casual coffee mug to a high-end stainless steel water bottle can be decorated using sublimation.

If you’re looking to take your branding to a creative new height and offer your employees and customers some gorgeous swag that will turn heads, talk to the creative experts at The Icebox about sublimation!

https://www.asicentral.com/news/magazines/stitches/july-2015/the-digital-decision/ https://www.bestblanks.com/aboutsublimation.html

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