Techniques for textile marking : the comparison !

Techniques for textile marking : the comparison

Do you want to make custom textiles ? Are you getting lost with all the existing marking techniques ?

There are indeed several ways to print a logo, a picture or a photo on a textile.

We are going to try to enlighten you about the different existing marking techniques to let you do the best choice possible for your textile printing.

Here is a comparison of the best-known marking techniques :

Textile flocking

What is textile flocking ?

Textile flocking is one of the best-known printing systems. It is especially used in the sport field, for marking the T-shirts. With this technique, a pattern is printed on a flex roll and cut by cutting plotters. Then, the flex is being stuck on the textile by a heat press machine.

Advantages of the textile flocking

- Multi-material (textiles) printing

- The lifespan of the product in good condition is correct.

- The order can be customized for each unit.

Disadvantages of the textile flocking

- The pattern must be simple

- The pattern must not be too colored or have a particular color.

- This printing technique cannot manage gradient colors.

Us textile flocking

The flocking is often used for simple and not too colored visuals, for small or medium series orders. With a relatively correct lifespan, this technique is well adapted to sport.

Direct screen-printing

What is direct screen-printing ?

Direct screen-printing is a hand-made process which is one of the most ancient textile printing techniques. This process is a “classic” in the textile printing world. Printing screens, used as stencils, let the ink print the textile. The ink spreads on the textile thanks to tight stitch. It enables a color by color printing on the clothes.

Advantages of direct screen-printing

- It is a lasting product.

- Thanks to the ink deposition, the final aspect is a high-quality one. 

- The colors keep their initial tones.

- It is suitable to small and medium series orders.

Disadvantages of direct screen-printing

- The minimal quantity evolves depending on the pattern complexity and the number of colors.

- The result of complex patterns with details is often disappointing.

Use of direct screen-printing

The direct screen-printing is better for printing, on a simple textile,non-complex patterns and with few colors.

Screen-printed transfer

What is screen-printed transfer ? 

Screen-printed transfer is a high-quality textile printing solution. Inks are put on a transfer and then, on a textile support thanks to a heat press machine.

Advantages of screen-printed transfer

- A high-quality and lasting result Repeated washings will not spoil the product quality.

- An excellent color management : One color, 4 color process and multiplecolor.

- A perfect application on any support : light or dark T-shirts, caps, luggage, coats

Disadvantages of screen-printed transfer

- The final result is totally dependent on the quality of the supplied file

- Shading colors are only possible on a color-flat tint with white in support. Fading shades are only possible on white textiles

Use of the screen-printed transfer

Screen-printed heat transfer can be used for small and big series orders and on any sort of textile. It is particularly well adapted to visual communication of organizations.

Sublimation by transfer

What is sublimation by transfer ?

Sublimation is a recent marking technique that uses inks. Thanks to a high-quality printer, a picture is printed on a special paper with sublimation inks. Then, the paper is pressed on the clothe by a heat press machine, and removed. Thus, the ink is directly injected in the fabric.

Advantages of sublimation by transfer

- The ink being directly injected in the fabric makes the pattern indelible !  This is why it is resistant to bad weather and hazard.

- Excellent color and contrast management.

- High-quality result on polyester, lycra...

Disadvantages of sublimation by transfer

- Textile choice is limited for colours and material

- Costs for this type of service are high.

Use of sublimation by transfer

Sublimation is mostly used for a good-quality result on white textiles. This technique is ideal for sportswear and technical clothes.

Textile embroidery

What is textile embroidery?

Textile embroidery is the eldest marking technique mentioned in this article. It replicate a picture with threads and needles.

Avantages of textile embroidery

- The quality of the result  is very good.

- Lasting printing on waterproof textiles.

- The pattern has a good resistance to washing and will thus be lasting.

- The pattern is embossed.

Disadvantages of textile embroidery

- Costs are higher than for the other techniques.  - Some pictures cannot be reproduced. For example, the shading colours cannot be reproduced. - The risk of damaging some fabrics must be taken into account.

Use of textile embroidery

Embroidery marking is acclaimed for the top brands.

Direct digital printing

What is digital printing ?

Only a few years old, the digital printing is directly realized on the textile from the digital file.

Advantages of digital printing

- It allows the printing of big formats (37*47cm) - The choice for colors in unlimited !

- It’s possible to print on light or dark textiles

Disadvantages of digital printing

- Only face and back can be marked.

- The printing is only possible on cotton or polyester/cotton

Use of digital printing

Direct digital printing is a good choice if your pattern or pictures are made of an important number of colors or gradients, as well as for small or medium series orders.

Digital transfer

What is digital transfer ?

Also called digital flex, the digital transfer means to print a pattern on a special heat-sealing film, thanks to a digital printer. The matter excess will be removed in order to only keep the pattern. The transfer is then realized with a heat press machine.

Advantages of digital transfer

- Ideal for small series orders

- Unlimited number of colors

- Possibility to print gradient colors

Disadvantages of digital transfer

- Fragile and low lasting product

- Difficulties for printing complex patterns

Use of the digital transfer

Digital transfer is a good solution for light textiles, for quick and cheap customizing needs.

Techniques for textile marking : comparative table !

Techniques

Textile flocking

Direct screen-printing

Screen-printed transfer

Sublimation

Textile embroidery

Direct digital printing

Digital transfer

Lifetime

Medium

Good

Good

Good

Very good

Good

Low

Quality

Medium

High

High

Very high

Very high

Medium

Medium

Number of colors per pattern

Limited

Limited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Very limited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Choice of colors

Limited

Wide

Wide

Unlimited

Limited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Gradients possible

No

Yes, but not recommended

Yes, on white textiles

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Pattern complexity

Simple pattern

Simple pattern recommended

Simple and complex patterns

Simple and complex patterns

Simple pattern

Simple and complex patterns

Simple pattern

Format

Any format

Any format

Any format

Any format

Small and medium

Any format

Any format

Costs

Medium

Low in great quantity

Medium

High

Very high

Medium

Medium

You now hold all the cards to choose the most adapted textile marking technique to your plans ! If you still hesitate, do not panic ! We are available to help you in order to choose the most adapted marking process to your plans.