Screen Printing Vs Sublimation: All You Need To Know

You have probably seen a lot of people wearing promotional t-shirts. Each t-shirt has a clear and neatly positioned logo that grabs the attention of passersby. This article will focus on the methods that ensure an image (logo in this case) is neatly transferred to the fabric. The methods popularly used are Screen Printing and Heat Transfer. Both these methods have the same goal but are miles apart in execution. Let’s explore them in detail.


As the name suggests, screen printing involves transferring of designs to t-shirts through a screen. This form of printing is derived from an ancient method that has a history dating back to 960 AD. Over the years, the process has gone through a lot of changes. Screen printing in its current avatar is more than 100 years old. It became popular after printers discovered the utility value offered by emulsion processes. Also known as silk screening, screen printing became hugely popular in the 1960s. How does it work? Screen printing practitioners first deploy an emulsion layer on the screen. Light is used to burn and imprint a design on the emulsion layer. Later, when the paint passes through the screen, it prints a logo on the fabric that is similar to what has been burnt on the emulsion layer.

Points to note:

  • Time consuming: Screen printing requires separate screens for each color. It can be a time consuming process.
  • Economical when used for bulk t-shirts: Screen printing is considered by many to be an efficient and cost-effective process, especially while personalizing a bulk order of t-shirts.
  • High quality and durable: The final logo is durable and of high quality, ensuring that it lasts for years.
  • Vibrant colors: Colors easily stand out, ensuring people take notice of your logo.


Sublimated textiles are popular for soft signage and interior decoration since they preserve the fabric’s natural drape and texture. Sublimation printing is also used for personalizing hard goods from snowboards and skateboards to aluminium displays and traffic signs.
Applications of sublimation printing are diverse and used in various markets. Examples of popular soft signage applications are banners, flags and sportswear. Customized interior decoration items are also in demand. Just think about custom-made curtains, table-cloths and lamp shades. Also the fashion industry and photographers are keen on sublimated textiles.
As you can see, the sublimation technique has large market potential and good perspectives. With Roland DG’s sublimation printers it is easier than ever to produce outstanding results, even without special training.

Points to note:

  • Textile Sublimation never fades!
  • The ink chemically melts into the fabric.
  • It’s impossible to tell that it’s printed by touch alone, it doesn’t weigh anything and the fabric remains breathable.
  • It’s a very fast method that can be used for small quantities.
  • The big disadvantage however is that this technique can only be used on white polyester items, but luckily we have a large range available: T-shirts, shirts, polo shirts, raincoats, bags, umbrellas etc.


If you have a small order with different kinds of customization (for example, different team names), then sublimation is the method to use. Use screen printing if you have a large order and need the imprint to be more durable. For any other type of information do not hesitate to contact the Gadget Lab staff! See you soon!

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