Transfer Printing of Promotional Products
Now a form of digital printing, transfer printing is utilised to obtain multiple coloured prints which can be applied to branding areas which are difficult to screen print or have irregular surfaces or a three dimensional shape which makes it difficult to fit to the limits of the machine or substrate jig. Originally transfer printing was invented in the 1950's and was called "dye sublimation" as synthetic dyes were applied by means of a traditional printing process to a fabric substrate which was them heat welded to the final product requiring branding.
Traditionally transfer printing is a heat applied sticker process. An image would be printed on an adhesive medium using a traditional screen printing process. The printed image would then be applied with a heat press. This way multiple colours and complicated printed designs which include elements of colour percentages can be effectively and accurately applied to promotional products requiring branding.
Another advantage in using the transfer print system is the lower cost of print-set up. Traditionally the promotions industry charges $75 per colour to set-up the printing process for pad printing or screen printing. For an image which contains four colours and can therefore reproduce something similar to a full colour image, there are set-up charges of $300 involved. With a transfer print the cost is half this so particularly for small runs of product the transfer option is both cost effective and more accurate in the way in which it represents the image.
Where the printing machine causes image area to be cropped a heat transfer process can also have application. As the digital print process permits printing to the outer margin of a print area there is less need to crop or reduce image size. Maximising the visible branding is something which all promoters are keen to pursue, so for this reason alone digital transfer printing should be considered as an option when a company is looking for accurate, cost effective reproduction of its logo.