Awards & Engraving

April '18

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40 • A&E APRIL 2018 Though the basic production method of create, print, and press remain the same, sublimation decorating innovation is a rapidly advancing industry. One of the reasons for this is the in-depth research and development that sublimation equipment manufacturers do to build better products that meet the demands of the market. Another is simple experimentation among product decorators, and how they share their trials and successes with each other through social media and conversations with their suppliers. Every year, we see new ideas, processes, and demands from product decorators. Here is a look at some of the latest find- ings in the market, the latest startup advice, and what these advances could mean for your business. SOFTWARE BASICS Every sublimator needs basic equip- ment to create their designs, print them, and press them onto their substrates. This includes: a computer with graphics soft- ware, a sublimation printer with inks and transfer paper appropriate for your prod- ucts, and a heat press. Most everyone has a computer. It is a good idea to make sure that your com- puter has the latest version of its operating system. Older operating systems may limit your ability to use the software needed to design and print. We recommend Windows 8 and 10 for PC and Mac OS X. You can use desktop graphics software to design from scratch and work with photos. The most common are CorelDRAW, Adobe Photoshop, and Illustrator. We also see many sublimators using Silhouette lately, as more in the heat transfer vinyl industry add sub- limation to their businesses. In response, sublimation print software has had to be updated to include compatibility for this and other design programs gaining market use. Sawgrass also offers CreativeStudio Online Designer, which is included free with the Virtuoso HD Product Deco- rating System. The newest major update to this online design program launched earlier this year. Most notable is search- ability; the addition of subcategories for Products, Graphics, Templates and Images; an auto-indicator of new con- tent; a 90-degree turn button; Align Top and Align Bottom functions; and other upgrades to help users manage their print jobs and content better. smart choices Newest equipment for sublimation success By Robin Kavanagh Robin Kavanagh is the Public Rela- tions Manager for Sawgrass, the global leader in delivering dye-sublimation and digital printing solutions that make personalization possible and empower creative entrepreneurs to get custom- ized products to market in record time. W hat do I need? What should I buy? What's the best investment? What's the latest advice on equipment out there? These are the common questions that every sea- soned and potential sublimator asks over and over. And for every question, there are many, many answers.

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