The official name of the paper is called release people and it’s not transfer paper, although we call it transfer paper. The purpose of paper in the sublimation world is to carry the ink from the printer to the heat press. In sublimation, the active ingredient is the ink, not the paper.
The paper essentially has three characteristics that make it a good sublimation release paper. Number one is that it keeps your images clear and sharp. Number two is that, when you heat the ink up, the paper lets go of the ink. What happens is it turns into a gas and the gas goes into the substrate itself. We want paper that keeps the ink on the surface of the paper without letting it sink too far into the paper. Number three is we want paper that handles the heat of sublimation; it doesn’t do anything weird, like shrink or disintegrate.
Saving the transfer can be helpful. The transfer tells the story of what happened if there was an issue and can help keep you from making similar mistakes twice.
When we press products, there are four factors involved: time, temperature, pressure, and technique. One of the things with sublimation paper is it always has a particular print side. If you print on the wrong side of the paper, then it will work poorly.
—David Gross, Condè Systems