Sublitex is probably the largest European supplier of digital sublimation paper permitting the rapid supply of customer exclusive designs. They also have high speed gravure printing available for larger volumes. Design and Colour Ltd represent Sublitex in the UK.
So you want your own design?
A digital print design has few restrictions in regards to the pattern repeat other than the width of the paper. Sublitex’s paper is 160cm wide. The vertical repeat can be as big or as small as you wish. Panel designs do not usually repeat but are laid out across and down the paper roll as economically as possible.
A panel print
All over repeating pattern
If you are planning to have an all over pattern then the design should be supplied in repeat. If the design is not in repeat you will normally be charged a studio fee to make one. When buying artwork you can request that the artist supplies the artwork in repeat. This may cost a little more, but in the long term this will be significantly less than having it done at a later date. What is great about digital printing is that you are not restricted by cylinder or screen circumference size. Sublitex ask that you provide the dimensions of the design at submission, incase the image on the file is not to the desired final scale.
DPI means “dots per inch”, high res means high resolution and you will also hear folk referring to pixels per inch. Which ever phrase you hear at Sublitex they recommend 250- 300 dpi or ppi which is high res. If you want a clean crisp image with great contrast insist on High Res.
Before you hand over a piece of artwork take the time to check that there are no faults. We suggest checking motif by motif as well as tiling out the design, if it is in repeat, to check for join lines or banding. Can you find the fault in one of these elephants?
When designs are made up of super-imposed elements you must make sure that anything unwanted is cleaned out of the background. Very faint shadows may not be noticed until after printing if the design is not viewed at full scale. Sublimation printing will show every tiny pin prick and as the ink expands slightly these will be more visible.
How to communicate colour
When you look at a design on a screen the colour is back lit and is not representative of solid colour. What you see may not be the same as your neighbour looking at the same file unless you have sophisticated callibration. We recommend that you supply a physical swatch or CAD printout, Pantone references or RGB values of the colours you desire. Different colour mediums have different colour ranges. A colour that exists in acrylic paint may not exist in disperse dyes for sublimation printing. The one thing I always tell clients is that the Sublitex will endeavour to match as closely as possible to the desired result and the sample they produce sets the colour standard that can be reproduced in digital production. Another consideration with fabric printing is that the base cloth on which the design is printed may not be optically white. The surface being matt or shiny, the fibre shape and yarn construction will all influence how the colour appears and is reflected. Be sure to digitally print on the final fabric that you wish to use to achieve the colour rendition that you desire.
Do beware of downloading images and designs then reproducing them as you may well be infringing on the intellectual property on another. When you buy a design from a studio they will sell you the design and the copyright. Sublitex own the designs they purchase and those that are generated by their in-house studio. Any design given to a third party will be taken under the proviso that the supplier of the design has the right to reproduce the image. In the case of an infringement the provider of the design is legally responsible.