Even being modern printing methods, sublimation and digital printing transfer designs into the materials with distinct features. Be it materials, process, heat press, and application, each of the areas varies depending on the use of the printing method. In this article, we have portrayed the difference in a tabular format to figure out what sublimation vs digital printing is. 

What is Sublimation?

Sublimation is a printing method that transfers a design into a fabric using both ink and heat. There is the dye that penetrates the fabric. It results in durable and vibrant prints in the fabric. Sublimation also allows personalization.

Sublimation printing method

Custom garments can have any artwork design accommodated. It results in a permanent and full-color design that does not wash away. With its excellent color permanence, sublimation printing has uses in sportswear, the apparel sector, and promotional items. 

What is Digital Printing?

Digital printing refers to mapping out an image onto the surface of the textile. It uses ink droplets to transfer the image onto the fabric. This type of printing has simple and minimal use with cost-effective solutions. It is ideal for products in small batches.

Digital Printing

The compatible forms of transferring digital prints are inkjet, laser printers, solid ink, and digital press. This machine holds the image-printed. It is also a quick and effective printing mode. 

Difference between Sublimation and Digital Printing


Area of Difference


Digital Printing

Process of Printing

It involves the transfer of dye to the material using sublimation. After placing the paper on the material, there is the application of heat, and pressure using the heat press. 

It is a direct-to-garment printing process. The printing of an image onto the material is done using the inkjet printer. The printer applies the ink directly onto the material.

The use of Heat Press

Heat press is a part of the process of printing

There is no use of any heat press

Mode of Transfer

Ink or Heat

Ink, toner

Use of Technology

Sublimation printer

Toner-based technology, digital presses


Durable and vibrant prints

Varies on the type of ink, and the material

Printing Speed




The initial setup costs are higher. The cost is affordable for large-scale production

It requires less initial investment but is costly for short-scale production 


Customization is possible with sublimation

Easy to modify both image and message


Vibrant images, Fading-resistance, and edge-to-edge printing

Print-on-demand, Cost-effective solution for short runs

Use on

Fabrics that are polyester or polymer-coated

A variety of Fabrics (Cotton, polyester, canvas), Paper, Canvas, Synthetics



Although both sublimation and digital printing methods, there are differences in terms of the use of heat press, use of fabric, personalization, advantages, and many more. The biggest differentiator making is the fabric from apparent sense. Although it depends on the use of images in the process, digital printing offers a perfect and high-quality image.

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Mohammad Mahedi Hasan

Senior Author

Mahedi Hasan, a Textile Engineer, as well as a Top Rated content writer at Upwork, Level 02 Seller at Fiverr, Level 02 Publisher at Ezoic. A passionate textile ad fashion content writer, fashion SEO expert, and fashion web designer. Having a B.Sc. in Textile Engineering from Textile Engineering College, Noakhali (TECN). Department is Apparel Engineering. Highly Experienced fashion writer for the last 3+ yrs. Established Textile Details Website website to enhance professional Fashion Blogging skills.