Getting to Know Types of Screen Printed Transfers – Standard Ink Types

Transfer Express offers a diverse array of products and services – so much so, in fact, that customers can be overwhelmed by the possibilities. To try and help cut down on the confusion as much as possible we’re going to lay out the different kinds of screen printed transfers, their advantages and disadvantages, and which is the ideal fit to your current needs. In addition, our expertly trained Dealer Service Team can help guide you to the right product for your order.

First of all, what is a screen printed transfer?

Screen printed ink transfers are exactly what they sound like: plastisol ink printed on a sheet of release paper.

The transfer is printed with a plastisol ink that is also used in direct screen printing. The transfer is printed as a mirrored image so when it is applied to the garment it will read correctly. This transfer is then applied to a garment using a professional heat press. The screen printed image is partially cured during the production process which leaves the ink dry to the touch. The final curing of the image is completed when the transfer is heat pressed.

The main benefit of using screen printed transfers over direct screen printing is the ability to print on demand.  Have unprinted shirts on hand in a variety of sizes and colors and print as sold. There is also no need to invest in expensive screen printing equipment. All you need is a heat press!

Ink transfers form the backbone of our entire product line; everything from our Easy Prints® Numbers to Express Names™ to Idea Book orders falls into this category.  Given this diversity, it should be no surprise that ink transfers come in several specific permutations, each with its own strengths, weaknesses, and defining characteristics.

Close-up of Goof Proof screen printed transfers applied to apparel.

Thanks to an adhesive backing that lines each transfer, Goof Proof® is very forgiving when it comes to time, temperature, and pressure settings and can go on a wide variety of garment types:  cotton, polyester, or a blend thereof.  This makes Goof Proof® the bread and butter of the ink world; it is, by far, the best-selling item in our lineup.  (And if you ever apply Easy Prints® Numbers or Letters or even Express Names™ to the back of a jersey, guess what – you’re enjoying the ease of use that Goof Proof® provides.)


Unlike Goof Proof, Hot Split Retro is printed with simply plastisol ink. No adhesive is added keeping the ink soft and light.  This lighter feel can however, effect the opacity of some colors such as yellow, gold and neon colors which as a Hot Split Retro can not be applied to dark colors.





Goof Proof® or Hot Split – which is better? Higher opacity ink or unfettered color placement?  Increased ease of use or a softer feel?  We in the Dealer Services Department generally recommend going with Goof Proof®, although the perfect fit, of course, depends in large part upon the demands of your order and, much more importantly, the needs of your customer. Run through these issues with them before you call to place your order.


Screen Printed Transfer Types