Home / Resources / Ink Differently™ / January 2019 / Sublimation Trends for 2019

Sublimation Trends for 2019

Posted: 1/28/2019

The new year is finally here, and with it, lots of chances to capitalize on trends to grow your sublimation business. In 2018, we saw a range of trending substrates and applications that have generated enormous buzz and excitement among product decorators. Here is a look at a few we expect to continue to grow throughout 2019 and how you can leverage them for increased sales.

Sublimation on Darks and Cotton

Sublimation for cotton fabrics has long been a missing piece of the puzzle for product decorators. However, last year, several transfer paper products hit the market that enable those with a sublimation system to print and transfer their digital images to cotton. New transfer media offerings from PrintLAT and FOREVER, along with new Virtuoso Print Manager settings for each, deliver impressive results.

In addition to these new papers that enable sublimation to cotton, there are also new twill and flock media options from Chemica and Poli-Tape that enable customers to create transfers for use on dark and cotton fabrics. This media enables you to print directly onto the flock or twill with your Virtuoso printer and Virtuoso Print Manger, use a plotter to cut around the design and then heat set the transfer to the fabric. Within this process, your designs sublimate for permanent coloration and the final transfer adheres to the surface of the fabric.

All of these transfer media options open up new worlds of products that you can offer your customers – and on their favorite fabric. These are a must-try and a massive opportunity for increasing sales in 2019.

Outdoor Applications

The effects of UV light have inhibited recommended use for sublimated signage or other products for use outdoors. Unisub and ChromaLuxe, really moved sublimation applications forward in 2018 with their lines of outdoor products.

All year, we saw an upswing in the number of products that sublimation businesses offered – everything from outdoor business and event signage to garden stakes, yard signs and decorations, outdoor art installations and home placards.

These will be especially popular come spring and summer for yard decoration, in addition to year-round applications for art installations, exhibits, business and organizational signage, and advertising.

Drinkware

The entire drinkware segment is on fire right now. One reason for this is the huge demand for double-wall vacuum-insulated tumblers, which keep beverages piping hot and frosty cold for hours on end. We are also seeing many of new types of drinkware, such as clear and frosted mugs, steins and shot glasses, metallic coatings and even coated stemless wine glasses and growlers (holds up to 64 oz of draft beer or wine).

This growing diversity of drinkware offers many opportunities to creatively bundle products for your customer base or break into the craft brewery/restaurant market. Either way, these are great substrates to try out, build samples of and use to drive new sales.

Sublimated Décor

There are a number of opportunities to offer sublimated products meant for turning a house into a home. You can use your system to decorate baby and throw blankets, sequin pillows and faux-textured pillow cases, welcome mats, hand towels, key and jacket hangers, and many other items people will love to have in their homes – or give as gifts! Even if you have a smaller printer – SG400 or SG800 – you can use multiple transfers and presses to imprint larger products, such as blankets and doormats.

What’s even better with items for home décor is that there is often demand for personalization, which gives you the opportunity to set premium prices. It costs little to add a name or photo to a product, but customers pay more for the value delivered.

All of these different product areas are ones you may want to explore in 2019. Experimentation and product testing are the keys to growing sales. Next time you place an order, why not add a few new substrates to try out? The results could be very profitable.