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4 Differences between Sublimation and DTF & DTG Apparel Branding

You’ve probably ended up on our blog because you need to get some apparel branding done and someone mentioned DTF or DTG as options and you have no idea what they’re talking about. The closest thing to DTF or DTG you can recall is reading Roald Dahl’s BFG in school.

So, for all those dazed and confused by the apparel branding lingo; this article is for you. We delve into exactly what Sublimation, DTF & DTG is and what the biggest differences are so you can make an informed decision.

What is Sublimation, DTF & DTG?

All of these are types of printing that can be done during apparel branding, whether school t-shirt printing, sports team hoodies and sport uniform. The following will allow you to understand the processes better:

Sublimation printing for Kamikaze Brand
Sample: Sublimation printing for Kamikaze Brand


Sublimation is probably the most science-sounding process out of all three. This process uses heat-sensitive inks that turn into a gas when introduced to heat. This gas then bonds with a 100% polyester substrate. To transfer the design to the apparel, the design will first be printed onto a special piece of sublimation paper that will then be transferred onto the material.

Sample: DTF printing for the Playhouse and Parel Vallei High School


DTF stands for Direct To Film apparel branding. During this process, your design is transferred to a film and then onto the apparel/clothing.

Direct to garment printing on t-shirts
Sample: DTG printing on T-Shirts


DTG stands for Direct To Garment apparel branding. In this instance, it’s easier to think about a giant desktop printer that, instead of paper, keeps apparel in place and then “prints” the design onto the material using special echo friendly aqueous ink jet technology.

The 4 Differences between Sublimation, DTF & DTG

Simply by taking the processes into account it’s hard to decide which is best; Sublimation, DTG or DTF transfers? The following differences might aid you in distinguishing which will be best for your needs:

1. The Way it Feels

The printed design feels almost exactly the same as the rest of the fabric after Sublimation. DTG designs tend to feel rougher than the rest of the material. Although it’s got more of a rougher ink feel, a DTF design feels much smoother to the touch.

2. Printing the Colour White

There are certain colour limitations at play here, especially when it comes to the colour white. If you have white in your design, Sublimation is definitely not the way to go. You will have to decide between DTG & DTF.

3. How Long do You Want it to Last?

It’s one thing to have a t-shirt that will only be worn every once in a while on special occasions (such as business conferences, golf days, etc.), but it’s quite another if the shirt serves as office uniform or needs to be worn by school sports teams during matches. The printing process that will last the longest (and withstand the most usage and washes) will be Sublimation and DTF as DTG tends to wash out and or fade over a period of time.

4. Affordability

In terms of affordability, and getting the most bang for your buck, DTF stands out head and shoulders above the rest. Not only will the apparel branding last longer, but it will cost less than Sublimation and DTG.

We are glad to announce that Campus Solutions will now also be able to assist with any DTF printing from January 2023. If you have any more questions or would like to request a quote, please contact us at, or complete the Campus Solutions contact form and we’ll get in touch with you shortly.


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