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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