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August 03 2016

SUBLIMATION Colour Management


Have you ever felt frustrated when a design you were really happy with comes out differently once printed? This can be especially irritating when it comes to sublimation or inkjet printing. Are we being naïve in presuming that an image displayed on a screen will look exactly the same once printed? Technically, yes. Monitors and printers use different methods in producing colour, and understandably, results in differences between the two.


Why do printers and computer monitors differ in this sense?


Display Monitors and printers do not interpret digital colour the same way. Furthermore, whilst monitors, cameras and scanners use RGB colour; for the most part printers use CMYK inks or a variation on those to produce colour.


There are three basic methods of printing for dye sublimation: Professional design software and OEM printer drivers, RIP (raster image processing) software and Sawgrass Powerdriver [custom print driver]. While the three methods are somewhat similar, they all utilise the use of ICC Colour Profiles.


ICC profiles are software files that ensures that when a specific colour is selected on the computer screen, the designated colour is consistently and correctly delivered on the substrate. The screen colour rarely produces exactly the same output colour. So a  profile creates a link between specific screen colours and specific output colours. It doesn’t change the colour. It ensures the correct output for a given input.

In professional design software (e.g. Photoshop, Corel) the profile will be placed in the output stage of printing in the applications print dialogue window and the manufacturer’s (OEM) printer driver will be set to ‘no colour adjustment’. This setup will colour correct the image and then send the data to the printer without affecting the colours further.


In RIP Software the ICC profile is built into the imaging configuration of the RIP for the specific printer ink and substrate combination and the the RIP’s colour engine takes care of the colour correction and output.


Custom printer driver like the Sawgrass Power Driver is  a software program that has colour correction built into the printer control system. The advantage of this method is the ability to use any  design software (e.g. Paint Shop Pro, Print Shop) as well as ICC-compliant software (e.g. Photoshop, Corel), as the colour correction is performed at the printer driver stage. In addition, it’s easier and less technical to use a custom printer driver like Power Driver than it is to use an ICC profile.


Colour profiles for sublimation have their own problems. When a printer has printed out the colour swatch for testing under normal profile creation, the profiling software knows how to adjust the colours to print out the correct ones. When a sublimation transfer is pressed onto a substrate, the ink turns into a gas and, while in this state, the colours change properties. This change can be quite dramatic (e.g. some blues look like green on paper) and it is therefore impossible to judge whether the print is correct or not until it is sublimated onto the final substrate. So, many sublimation users create custom profiles that correlate the screen colour to the final sublimated colour, rather than just to the ink colour.


One of the biggest mistakes any sublimation user can make is to use the wrong colour mode when choosing colours. CYMK (cyan, yellow, magenta, and black) comprise the basic four colours all inkjet printers use. It is easy to make the assumption that, because the printer is using CMYK colours, a design should be created using the CMYK colour palette. If CMYK colours are used, it’s not likely the colour you are looking for to come out the same on the finished item. This is because CMYK is a set of very specific colour instructions meant primarily for the offset printing world. When we are sending prints to a desktop printer, the print driver and the design application are responsible for translating the information it receives from RGB into CMYK.


So what colour mode should colours be chosen from then?.


RGB (red, green, and blue) are the colours that we see on every computer monitor. There are millions colours that can be created using the RGB colour mode. RGB is  used because it is how the human eye sees colour. RGB colour mode is used in many industries and all artwork for sublimation should be designed using this colour mode.

The quickest way to make sure you achieve the correct colour when designing for sublimation is to print a RGB colour chart and press this chart onto various different substrates [ t-shirt, Chromaluxe, mug etc….] Now you will have a real representation of those colours. You can now choose the colour from the printed substrate and apply it to your design knowing exactly how it will look when pressed.


Sawgrass Power Driver inserts a RGB colour palette into the graphics program so that a user can select colours from the palette while working on images. Sublimation users can check that the correct “final” colour will be consistently produced during the sublimation production process.


Serigraf sell a broad range of tools for sublimation printing and have experts on call for any colour management queries.


*Get in touch today for more information; +353 1 4670354 or email*





Advantages of DTG Printing



Direct-to-Garment (DTG) is a process of printing on textiles and garments using specialised or modified inkjet technology. With direct to garment printing, each image prints digitally (similar to a paper printer), so there is no screen making, no messy clean up, and no colour or minimum order quantity limitations.


Direct to garment printers are very user friendly and similar to at-home printers (only fancier)! Instead, paper has been replaced by textile substrates. Direct to garment printers do not require set up for different jobs and still renders millions of colours. DTG printing applies specialised textile inks directly into the fibers of the clothing that is being printed.


DTG printing has many advantages and benefits to you as a business:


  • Sets up costs are relatively low in comparison to screen-printing and are more straightforward.
  • You can print small orders and one-off prints at a reasonable price – catering for customers with small order quantities.
  • Print images on DTG printers allow for greater precision and highly detailed prints with gradients, shading and various colours.
  • Compared to screen-printing, DTG printer shops do not have to charge by colour making a full colour print very affordable.
  • DTG inks combine directly with fibers so you don’t feel the design on the fabric, have greater durability and won’t crack if properly cared for.
  • Meets customer expectations of being able to personalise products and receive them quickly.
  • Live computer previews of prints and the ability to operate multiple printers from on computer.
  • The amount of time and labour involved with DTG printing is lower than traditional methods.


Direct-to-Garment printing is all you need to start a business with real potential for profits. If you would like to find out more information on any of our DTG products, please get in touch:




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Serigraf Ltd.

E1 Crag Avenue,

Clondalkin Indutrial Estate,

Dublin 22,


Tel: +353 1 4670354

UK Tel: 07024070890


Serigraf - Print Supplies - Ireland