EducationQ&A

How can decorators decide which heat transfer is best for a job?

It’s always beneficial to build a strong foundation of the print choices available and understand where each fits in. The reason why is that the most common question is, “What do I use for X?”

When considering heat printing from a very high level, there are four main buckets of products

  1. Heat transfer vinyl
  2. Screen-printed transfers
  3. Digital transfers
  4. Specialty finishes and effects

While there are many choices, finishes, and styles within each, dispatching the work often comes down to having a solid understanding of the buckets. Consider these fast facts:

  1. Heat transfer vinyl is best when the logo is two or fewer colors and 24 or less in quantity.
  2. Screen-printed transfers are best when the logo is low in the number of colors and 24 or more in quantity.
  3. Digital transfers are best when the logo has three or more colors and can potentially be used at any quantity.
  4. Specialty finishes and effects is a category to explore. There are a lot of unique options available such as sublimated twill, dimensional logos, and patches that deliver looks beyond a standard logo.

With this baseline understanding, you can get a job within the right technology bucket and dig further into a specific product choice based on finish, feel, and fabric compatibility. While logo creation is flexible, not getting a job into the right bucket may leave you short on your profitability goals, priced out of the market, or overburdened with labor.

Josh Ellsworth, Stahls'

Josh Ellsworth

Josh is the VP of sales, dealer channel for Stahls'. He deals in the sales and implementation of heat-applied, apparel-decorating systems with a focus on customization. He holds skills in the production, sale, and marketing of customized apparel. He presents seminars at trade shows and contributes articles to trade publications, like Printwear magazine.

Zach Ellsworth

Zach Ellsworth

Zach Ellsworth has been working in heat print technology for the past 20 years. Zach is currently serving as the director of fulfillment technology at GroupeSTAHL, where he’s focused on making it even easier for businesses to implement heat print technology at scale.

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