March '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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62 || P R I N T W E A R M A R C H 2 0 1 8 W hether you're already steeped in the heat trans- fer world or exploring what your options are, the digital transfer category presents a whole new line of possibilities. Offering a powerful combination of high-quality graphics and intricate detail, these transfers easily fit into the lineup of any heat-printing shop, as well as decorators in other disciplines. Similar to other transfer types, a digital transfer is an image that can be heat pressed onto a variety of surfaces, usually ap- parel or other fabrics. "A digital transfer typically [features] a full-color image, meaning CMYK colors that were digi- tally created on a computer," explains Brooke Hestdalen, Heat Transfer Warehouse. "Then it is printed on to print- able heat transfer vinyl using a solvent, eco-solvent, or a latex wide-format printer." This makes digital transfers a convenient choice for decorators with a job that requires more than four col- ors. With the heat-applied design, it also presents an easier option for hard-to-decorate garments or acces- sories like multi-panel hats. Let's Get Digital B Y M I K E C L A R K Above: Digital transfers work well in the uni- form and work- wear market because of their potential for crisp, clean im- ages. (Image courtesy Heat Transfer Ware- house) A Look at Digital Heat Transfers PROS AND CONS Sources tend to agree that the primary advantage to using digital transfers correlates to the image quality. Personalized items that feature sentimen- tal artwork like family photos often find their way into this category. Qualities like patterns, shading, and multicolored designs are all common with digital transfers. Plus, the detail obtainable with digital transfers allows a decorator to create an in- tricate design without layering multiple transfers, avoiding bulky-feeling garments. "One of the main advantages to using digital transfers is the ability to incorporate full-color graphics and special effect graphics into your designs," notes Jody Mazade, Howard Custom Transfers. "Digital transfers can achieve high-res- olution, photorealistic results, whereas traditional screen-printed transfers cannot." Hilary Valentine, Penn Emblem Company, points out that in addi- tion to image quality, digital transfers offer a sus- tainability quality unlike some decoration options. "These transfers are an environmentally-friendly alternative to screen printing and capture all of the fine detailing other embellishments cannot," she adds. Other upsides to using digital transfers include versatility and minimal startup requirements. "Utilizing a desktop printer, you can create cus- tom designs on T-shirts and many promotional products," says Mario Fajardo, Florida Flexible, adding that the low-maintenance setup allows for small quantity and one-off orders.

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