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Sublimation in its simplest form is a process where ink that is printed on paper using a high speed inkjet printer is then transferred into fabric using heat and pressure.
In short, Digital Sublimation is the process where dye ink is heated at over 400° into a gas then transferred onto fabric creating a bond, then the dye cools and becomes solid once again. This allows for a smooth transition from what you see on your screen to what is seen on fabric. There is almost no limit to the amount of colors with this process and this allows for the natural wicking materials to remain breathable and also maintain its strength and durability. Since dye sublimation inks become part of the fabric, the images will not fade, crack, or peel. Unlike heat transfers or silk screen, the dye sublimation process allows Performance fabric to maintain its breath-ability. Since every square inch of your garment can be sublimated, with you individual colors, logos, number and names it is safe to say that our sublimated garments are the only "true" full custom garments available.
Sublimation ink is unique in its ability to convert from a solid to a gas without going through a liquid form. If you think back to your physics class this seems to defy logic. You only need to think of an ice cube and its normal process of being a solid, then melting into a liquid and then further melts into a gas and evaporates. Sublimation ink bypasses the liquid phase when it is heated going directly from solid to gas. What is even stranger about this unique and wonderful ink is that it starts life as a liquid which is what is used to print onto paper. Sublimation ink therefore goes from liquid to solid to gas instead of solid to liquid to gas. Don't try and figure it out just enjoy the result - the best looking, best performing uniforms and apparel in the world.
During sublimation transfer process the ink becomes a gas, absorbing into the fibers, becoming part of the fabric. This is totally different from screen printing, where the ink is deposited on the surface of the fabric, suffocating the technical fabric’s characteristic ability to breath. Sublimation, on the other hand, allows the garment to maintain its technical characteristics, continuing to breath and wick moisture away from the body. The fabric, which absorbs the dye completely, remains soft. Your design is permanently infused into the fiber of the fabric and does not crack, peel, or wear off.
Sublimation will never peel, crack, or fade. This is a really big deal and one that people do not realize how important it is. Sublimation literally bonds with the fabric so your design and logo is permanent. Alternate decorations such as silk screening or heat press are applied on top of fabric and will degrade significantly with time and washing. They are very susceptible to improper application and laundering which will cause the image to peel, crack or come off completely which ruins the garment. Sublimated garments are much more robust when it comes to repeated laundering.
Everyone is interested in getting uniforms and apparel that use today’s high tech fabrics which offer outstanding moisture management, range of motion and comfort. There is no purpose in getting moisture management and high stretch fabrics if you are covering them up with silk screen or heat transfer graphics on team uniforms. These other methods completely destroy the breath-ability of the uniform or garment and significantly reduce the stretch wherever they are applied.
Sublimated uniforms and apparel are the only true “custom” options available. With sublimation you have no restrictions in designs, color, name, numbers or logos. If you can imagine it, we can make it! This is why we say that sublimation is the only true “custom” uniforms available. Every major manufacture says they offer custom but it is limited to changing colors on a pre-set design. The logos, names and numbers are restricted to their locations, styles and sizing. By doing custom uniforms and apparel it allows you to create a brand identity at your school or team that enhances team and school pride. By creating multiple versions of popular items such as hoodies or t-shirts you can create a series of “limited editions” that become collectible and enhance sales and fund raising.
Garment color and sizing may vary +/-3% due to fabric type, temperature and other atmospheric variables present during the manufacturing process. Due to the manufacturing process involved there can be fabric grinning present along the garment seams of darker colors (the grinning most often can occur along the stress points of the garment’s stitching and will be more visible if a uniform is stretched). Excessive garment wear and tear can cause the white backing of the fabric to become visible (especially on darker colors).
The best way to match up your team colors is to provide us with a Pantone Matching System (PMS) number. We will be able to match this with our CMYK coloring to produce an accurate color. If a PMS number is not accessible, please compare your team colors to that of an NFL, MLB, or NBA team.
Designs incorporating photos and gradients will have a larger degree of variation and will look much different when printed as to what is seen on a computer or phone screen. Please keep this in mind as you are coming up with your designs and placing your custom team order. Phenom Elite is not responsible for an exact color match on a garment featuring a photo and/or a gradient.