5 Best Printing Method for Sports Jersey

November 15, 2023 3 min read

Printing is a crucial element in the production process of jerseys, offering a diverse range of techniques with various applications. We will introduce five commonly used printing methods in sportswear production, providing a brief analysis of the fabrics suitable for each type and their respective advantages and disadvantages

Sublimation Printing:


Sublimation printing uses high temperature and pressure to directly convert solid ink into gas, permeating polyester fibers to create a lasting design. It is suitable for vibrant and full-panel designs. In recent years, many companies, including ours, have adopted this technique for designing various sports jerseys.


The production process involves printing the design on paper using a printer and then transferring it to the fabric through heat transfer. The fabric is then cut and stitched, making it ideal for small-batch customization.


- Flexible, suitable for small-batch customization.
- No fading, as sublimation involves ink penetrating polyester fabric at high temperatures.
- Best breathability for the fabric.
- Applicable for full-panel jersey printing, accommodating complex designs like gradients and three-dimensional patterns.
- Limited to fabrics with high polyester content.
- Only effective on white fabrics.
- Lower print resolution compared to heat transfer, resulting in slightly fuzzy edges.
- Slightly diminished texture and color saturation.
- Relatively higher production costs.

Screen Printing:


Screen printing, the oldest and most widely used printing method in the garment industry, involves transferring ink through a mesh screen onto sportswear. It is particularly suitable for simple designs and large areas. Screen printing is extensively applied in mass production of jerseys due to its high output and cost-effectiveness.


Some special techniques, such as hot stamping, can be accomplished through screen printing. Screen printing is also capable of achieving gradient colors, but it demands a higher level of technical expertise

- Good color saturation.
- High production efficiency, suitable for large-scale production.
- Best breathability for the fabric.
- Applicable to various fabric types.
- Limited to simple designs; challenging for gradients and three-dimensional patterns.
- Costs increase with the number and precision of colors; more colors and higher precision result in higher costs.
- Affects fabric breathability, unsuitable for full-panel printing.
- Less flexible compared to sublimation and heat transfer printing.

Heat Transfer Printing:


Heat transfer printing involves imprinting a design onto heat-sensitive paper and then transferring it to sportswear through heat and pressure. While not commonly used for customizing jerseys due to the risk of numbers peeling off, it is a popular method for DIY enthusiasts. Replica NBA jerseys also use this method, offering vibrant colors at a lower price, but often criticized for lower quality.

- Good color saturation.
- Suitable for DIY projects.
- Affordable.
- Applicable to various fabric types.
- Prone to peeling.
- Poor breathability.

Direct-to-Garment Printing:

direct to garment printing

While not offered by our company, direct-to-garment printing involves spraying ink directly onto sports apparel, suitable for colorful and high-resolution designs.

- Good color saturation.
- Good breathability for the fabric.
- Expensive, with ink costs comparable to high-end cosmetics.
- Low production efficiency.
- Suitable for cotton products.


embrodiery jersey

There are two main types of embroidery for jerseys: full embroidery, like our Mighty Ducks logo, and patch embroidery for player names and numbers. Embroidery provides a high-quality, durable embellishment commonly used for logos and designs on NBA authentic jerseys and Mitchell & Ness jerseys.

- Highest quality and texture.
- Does not fade.
- High setup costs.
- Long production times.
- Slightly rough on the reverse side; slightly reduced comfort.
- Slight impact on fabric breathability.


Overall, sublimation printing, heat transfer, and embroidery stand out as the three most popular printing methods. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Choosing a printing technique requires consideration of quantity, cost, lead time, and style.
A jersey can also feature a combination of printing methods, as seen in our striped and gradient baseball jerseys. For example, we first utilize sublimation printing for the entire jersey and then employ patch embroidery for attaching logos and numbers.
If you have any questions regarding techniques or if you need customized sports wear, please feel free to contact us 

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