2021 Promotional Product And Sublimation Trends – Part 1

2021 Promotional Product And Sublimation Trends

The main benefit of promotional and sublimated products is personalisation and customisation. This is increasingly important in a world where people want to stand out and post their unique products all over social media. 2021 will see a combination of bestsellers continuing to remain popular, as well as a demand for more eco-friendly products. This article appears in Sign Africa Journal. 

Jaco Pretorius, Senior General Manager, JG Electronics

2021 Promotional Product And Sublimation Trends

What are the biggest promotional product and sublimation trends for 2021?

Personalised and reusable shopping bags have been popular for a number of years, but these could be even more so this year, especially with retailers like Woolworths recently banning plastic shopping bags and people looking for trendy or unique reusable ones.

There are different types of fabric that can be sublimated as well as different shapes. Wooden products remain popular and there has been an upsurge in these products because you can custom design them and cut them to shape and size. Coffee mugs are still popular and are one of the bestsellers on the market. New ideas are frosted glass two-tone mugs. Chrome and gold or metallic mugs are also in demand.

It is a tough economic climate and people are looking to save money and for cheaper solutions, which means we will most likely see a cheaper range of consumables and equipment available in the market. With people losing their jobs and looking for income opportunities, we could also see more people entering this industry, which is a start-up friendly one. This is a good thing as this will bring more innovation and diversity to the market.

What are the main considerations when producing these items and for people wanting to take advantage of these trends?

Before you get into this industry, you have to do your homework and make informed decisions. Look at who your market will be – are your products aimed at entry-level, mid-market or high-end clients? Once you have figured this out, you need to do costing. If you sell a mug in a wealthy area for a low amount, they might think it is low quality, while people in poorer areas might consider that item at that same price as expensive. You need to cost accordingly.

Also source the correct products for your market – cheaper products for entry-level clients and more high-end for corporate clients. However, that does not necessarily mean you should buy the cheapest products available, because even entry-level consumers also want quality and the best value for money. Cheap printers can have colour issues and inaccurate colours will prevent you from giving customers good quality and accurately printed products.

Quality, unique and eye-catching designs will also give you an advantage over competitors, so do a design course if necessary. Producing products is easy; producing good quality and eye-catching designs is more difficult. Anyone can download a photo from Google and print it onto something. Firstly, this is not necessarily legal, and secondly, this will not be a product that will set your business apart from competitors. Product training is also crucial. It does not matter if you have been in the printing and signage industry for years, sublimation printing is different and you need training on the finer details.

What main products do you offer to produce the trendy items you mentioned?

Muggit Sublimer printable acrylic: the product prints well, yet can also be bent into practically any shape or form – becoming soft and pliable with the application of heat, and without damaging the print. Almost anything that can be done with standard acrylic can be achieved with this product, including laser cutting, with the added benefit that it is printable on both sides. When decorating with sublimation, the print goes into the substrate and is thus extremely hardy. It is very difficult to damage the product under normal wear and tear conditions.

Sawgrass SG500: this is the only desktop printer designed for sublimation. With low start-up and running costs, users can create customised products with vibrant HD images – quickly, easily and profitably. It features a compact footprint and rugged reliability. In addition to design improvements such as a single roll-bar, the SG500 is more energy-efficient, prints with higher resolution and offers Wi-Fi connectivity.

Multi-opaque paper: when printing on dark T-shirts, traditionally it has always been difficult to get something that is durable and that is not going to crack or fade after about 15 washes. The only way users could get a better print before was to use screen printing or a high-end DTG machine. With multi-opaque paper, users can print directly onto the paper. Once they have printed it, they can can kiss cut it with a vinyl cutter that has an optical eye, which will trace it and cut out the finer details, and press it onto the shirt. The product can be printed with inkjet and laser. The end product is durable and does not crack as easily.



Asif Sidik, Managing Director, Stixo Signage Supplies

2021 Promotional Product And Sublimation Trends

What are going to be the biggest promotional product and sublimation trends for 2021 and what are the main considerations for people wanting to take advantage of these trends?

The quality of the product is paramount and you need to ensure constant product availability to fulfil the demand.

What main products do you offer to produce the trendy items you mentioned?

We offer mugs for sublimated branding as well as key rings, sublimation transfer paper and heat transfer tape. We will be adding a full range of sublimation blanks as well.



Jordan Steinbach, Manager UPrint SA

What are the biggest promotional product trends for 2021?

2021 Promotional Product And Sublimation Trends

With people becoming more conscious about their impact on nature and polluting our planet, eco-friendly products are going to be a major trend. Popular eco-friendly promotional items include stainless steel water bottles, as well as printing on glass and ceramics. Also consider using extremely durable and reusable plastics for promotional items, and anything that can be reused many times in a dishwasher.

Companies are also becoming more conscious about their carbon footprint, so consider this when offering your products to corporate clients – there is an opportunity to produce eco-friendly gifts for companies who will appreciate the positive impact on their brand. There is a huge drive to reshape the way the world is doing things – like considering our environmental impact – and many people are getting on board with it.

What are the main considerations when producing these items and for people wanting to take advantage of these trends?

Make sure to research whether the products you are using are sustainably produced, durable, can be recycled and what the eco-friendly credentials are. Take advantage of highlighting your sustainable product offerings on your website. You can also look at becoming a supplier of eco-friendly products. Importantly, make sure you are living up to your eco-friendly branding by giving back to the environment in some way.

What main products do you offer to produce the trendy items you mentioned?

Chemicals range: these are transferred onto mugs, stainless steel bottles and flasks, glass and ceramics, and can be used to brand in full colour and wrap around. Once the chemicals are cured and fused, they seal themselves and turn into a solid, like paint. So once they are sprayed onto the product and they fuse, they do not pollute the air and harm the environment.

Eco-friendly products: bamboo products include flash drives, cups and straws and these can be printed in full-colour. The stainless steel straws, available in thin and thick sizes, are portable and reusable and users can do a full wrap-around print on these. Our products are dishwasher-proof on glass, ceramics and stainless steel because of the chemicals we use. It is the combination of the printer, chemicals and paper that produces the best result. The printer gives results and the chemicals seal the result.

We are working on mug printing at a faster and more efficient rate by using a sublimation mug press to print on a standard mug. We did a very large double-sided print on a mug and are going to be releasing that onto glass, so you can print on glass, sports bottles or stainless steel products, all on a mug press, with no sublimation coating. Water-slide paper is available to do this but it is extremely expensive, where alternatively, a UPrint system produces items faster and that are much more durable.