What’s the difference between Screen Print and Dye Sublimation Printed Lanyards?

If you’re looking to order some branded lanyards, you’ll need to make the choice between dye sub printing and screen printing.

When all you want is some colour lanyards, right?

The difference really lies in how many colours you’re looking for, how detailed your design is, and how important clarity and colour matching is to you.

Screen printing

Screen printed lanyards
Screen printed lanyards are best suited to simple designs

Screen printing has been around for centuries, and is still regarded as the best way to achieve a high quality print finish. In contrast to digital printing, ink is ‘forced’ through a screen of fine mesh when screen printing onto the lanyard.

Each single ‘Spot’ colour is applied separately, therefore the cost increases the more colours you choose. With screen printing, you can choose exact Pantone colours for printing, rather than making do with the less accurate CMYK breakdown.

Your logo or text is literally ‘layered’ onto the material – which means you feel it as a raised design when you run your finger over it.

Screen printing is best suited for simple designs, or text-only. It also achieves brighter, more vivid colours; and a greater contrast between material and print.

So if your logo is single colour, or you want to use your brand’s exact Pantone colour (on both the material itself and the printing), this is the way to go.

Dye Sublimation

Event dye sub lanyard
Dye Sublimation lanyards allow you to use multiple colours

Dye sublimation printing uses 4-colour process digital printing, breaking down each colour into a CMYK (Cyan, Magento, Yellow and Black) split, much in the same way as your inkjet printer does.

This means there is no restriction on the number of colours you can have.  It also gives you the freedom to include whatever images you want. You could use a photograph for example, or an illustration using all the colours of the rainbow.

The rub is that what you gain in flexibility, you lose a little in terms of quality of print compared to screen printing.

Printing through 4-Colour process means that the final print finish won’t be quite as sharp, and text won’t be quite as clear.

When to choose one over the other

If you have a simple design and exact matching of your brand’s Pantone colours and clarity of your message or name is critical, you’ll probably want to go down the screen print route. This way, your lanyards will stand out from a distance.

Screen print personalised lanyard
Screen printed lanyards give greater clarity of print

However, if you have a stand at an exhibition and want to include multiple colours and images, dye sublimation printing is really the only option open to you.

Breakthroughs in printing processes in recent years means that both printing options are similar in terms of cost until you hit the larger quantities, so your decision really rests in what you want them to achieve.

All our lanyards pricing includes colour print on both sides. You can also split the order into multiple designs; ideal if you have different delegate levels at a conference for example. Minimum 50 per design.

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The benefits of school branded lanyards


Branded lanyards are used by all types of organisations to promote unity

School branded lanyards don’t just aid security in terms of identification, they can also help to unite pupils and students by promoting a sense of belonging.

Most schools like the idea of bespoke lanyards branded with the school logo, but the idea is often rejected (or not fully researched) due to concerns about cost.

They’re often viewed as a ‘nice to have’, whereas the reality is, school branded lanyards have a role to play both in terms of security and community.

Security benefits

  • They make it difficult for third parties to ‘blend in’ to the school environment.

Whereas it’s easy for someone to source a standard ‘staff’ or ‘visitor’ lanyard so as not to arouse suspicion, it’s extremely difficult for them to create their own branded one.

  • They make students more visible, both on campus and out of campus.

Apart from the ‘truancy’ benefits, school branded lanyards are also helpful for visibility on school trips or days out.

Let’s not forget the parents here either: surveys show that parents particularly value the security and visibility benefits of school custom lanyards.

Promoting a sense of school community

School custom lanyards also help to boost school spirit amongst teaching staff and pupils, and promote a sense of belonging. Print your school’s logo or mascot and use your school colours to create a lanyard that will be worn with pride.

Great for different classes and school clubs

School custom lanyards are also great for school clubs and organisations, where they give a sense of belonging to a select group.

They’re also a great way to identify specific classes or groups within the school, for example junior students and senior students could have different colours.

By creating a different lanyard for senior students or the sixth form, it’s also far more likely that they’ll be worn without complaint. Junior pupils will ‘aspire’ to having one as they move through the school and the sixth form will be happy to have a visible badge of their seniority.

Then there’s the price point…

The price of bespoke school branded lanyards used to make them accessible only by fee-paying schools with considerable budgets. But the cost is coming down all the time. For example 100 school branded lanyards in a single colour start from just £139.05.