Choosing Between UV vs Dye Sub Printing

By: Copley Visual < 1 minute read
Posted: August 30, 2023
UV printing with Copley Visual

Banners are banners, right? Nope! 

With all of the new technologies and substrates available today, choosing the correct material and method for your banner can make the difference between good and great. Traditionally, most banners have been printed on vinyl using UV printing processes. But have you considered fabric banners for your indoor signage? As you look at your banner options, there are two major differences differences between UV-printed and dye sublimated banners:

How and where the ink is bonding to the material – a difference that can be felt!

UV ink sits on the surface of the printed material where dye sub ink is absorbed into the fibers. If you run your hand from a printed part of a UV printed image to an unprinted area, you will feel the ink on the surface. In this process, the ink is cured immediately with ultraviolet lights, meaning many of the particles and plasticizers in the ink remain. This has the obvious benefit of leading to very efficient movement from print to finishing but also creates limitations, as the rigidity of the ink does not provide much give and is easily felt on the material. 

Dye sub fabric banners are produced by infusing the fibers of the material with the ink and then using heat to evaporate the water (carrier) from the ink. Whereas UV ink sits on the surface of the material, dye sub ink absorbs into the material. This eliminates the possibility of the ink being damaged in finishing (sewing and hemming), packing, or shipping. 

How do you plan to ship your banners and how will they be stored?

The ink on UV printed banners is bonded to the surface of the material, meaning the print will crease when folded. This means fabric with UV print will need to be rolled on cores for shipment and storage, resulting in larger box/tube dimensions and MUCH higher shipping costs. Because dye sub ink is infused into the fabric, dye sub printed fabric banners can be folded (or stuffed!) in smaller boxes and shipped much more economically, leading to easier delivery, lower delivery costs, and easier transportation in smaller vehicles.

As you look at your banner options, we recommend you consider these questions to aid in deciding which process, material, and finishing are appropriate:

  • Where will the banner be installed? 
  • Will the banner be used primarily inside or outside?
  • Will the banner be in place for a long period of time or only temporarily?
  • Will the banner be used over a short period of time or reused periodically?
  • When the banner is not in place, how and where will it be stored?

At Copley Visual, we are always looking for ways to make our customers lives easier – providing the best options with the latest technologies to propose solutions to our customers needs. With the addition of our Fabrivu 340i+ dye sub printer to our stable of UV inkjet printers, we offer solutions to all of your banner needs – whether they be vinyl or fabric. And while fabric suppliers have made strides to create UV printable fabric material more available, technology gains in the digital dye sublimation market have created more options than ever for fabric production.

Contact us today to discuss which solution is best for your unique job. We’re always ready to lend our expertise and help our clients make their spaces!