How do they do that colour on the polos and t shirts? – It’s not embroidered and it’s not screen printed.
There are two likely methods. One is dye sublimation and the other is digital print transfer.
Dye sublimation starts with white 100% polyester and dyes all or part of it. With heat, the dye becomes gas and penetrates the fibres, leaving a vibrant image. Heat, time and pressure fixes the dye. Large areas are done on rolls of fabric, cut up and the shirt is made up. That’s OK for large runs but for smaller runs where a logo has to be applied, you start with a white (or mostly white) polo or T shirt.
Cricket shirts are done this way, and most football shirts.
Polyester used to be hot but new wickering technology makes these cooler than cotton.
Digital Transfer is a printed transfer applied by heat and pressure to the already printed shirt. It can be applied to cotton or polyester. It is often applied to already dyed shirts to add a sponsor name or logo (e.g. football) to a sleeve or back.
The main advantage of these 2 methods is the lower set-up costs so smaller numbers are not so costly. Shorter lead times are often possible as they are done in-house. As they are individual digital images, variations like names can easily be incorporated. This is often done below logos on breast pockets. It can be expensive to embroider a large area so this is a viable alternative.
How long does the image last with these different processes?
Embroidery is probably the longest lasting – outlives the shirt, but they all fade with time, washing and sunlight. However, with careful treatment, they will last longer. Digital transfer has been tested out to 80 washes through MIT.
Pricing – each job needs to be quoted as there are a few variables. With the shirt, it depends on material, numbers and style. Size of decorated area is a factor and the number of positions for images.