Awards & Engraving

January '19

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BRIEFING: WHERE IT BEGAN Back in the 1980s, the dye-transfer imaging process began with sublimation printers that could only print a single color at a time. Images were created, transfers printed, then with heat, the dyes (or inks) would form a gas that fused into a polyester substrate via a heat press. Compared to other imaging printing solutions, subli- mation was a method to make full-color prints without screens, color separations, registration marks, or messy materials. Sub- limated images became a permanent part of the material and did not smear, scratch off, or easily fade. The first use of sublimation technology began with printing on polyester fabrics since a polyester coating is required to help with the transfer process of the dyes. Later, polyester-coated ceramic mugs were offered as personalized gifts and corporate décor. As digital printing started to gain traction and more applications for sublimation technology were researched, the demand for better inks and printers increased. Between 1990 and 1995, ribbon printing was used to produce full-color name plates, T-shirts, plaques, license plates, mugs, and coasters. But ribbon printing had its chal- lenges. Soon, inkjet printers with dye-subli- By Peggy Waters Mission: Sublimation A brief look at the history of sublimation Peggy Waters is the Brand Manager for Unisub sublimatable products at Universal Woods, parent company of Unisub and ChromaLuxe. With over 19 years of marketing and advertising experience, Peggy began her career as an instructor for a national software training company, later moving into marketing and advertising for small to mid-size businesses. Her experience includes graphic design, brand management, strategic budgeting, web design, new product development, and market research. Peggy can be reached at (502) 855-3235 or via email, J ust a few short years ago, a common response to asking someone if they knew about "sublimation" was one of confusion or even substitution with the term "sublimination." In recent years, however, sublimation print technology has become more widely known thanks to advances in substrates and coatings, inks, printers, color profiles, transfer papers, and presses. It's been a long road to the successes those in the industry see, and the ingredients in the sublimation process continue to evolve. 52 • A&E JANUARY 2019

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