Custom Discs 101
What custom discs should you order: Hot stamp vs. Supercolor.
A customer recently wrote us asking which custom discs their team should order - Hot Stamp or SuperColor. We explained the technical differences in our blog post VC Loves Discs, but we thought we'd also address this question from a visual standpoint.
Hot Stamp or SuperColor
Let's talk about the OG of discs, the hot stamp. Hot Stamp uses embedded foils, which are very precise and can be matte or shiny (metallic).
PROS | If you're looking for that minimalist, clean, crisp, or metallic look, Hot Stamp is definitely for you.
Black on white can also be a striking look. Since the extra foil is cut away where there is no art, the negative space is the disc's surface itself – which results in a very nice, clean finish. Same rings true for designs that are quite minimalistic.
Our favourite Hot Stamp foil option is Narrow Metallic Rainbow, which can really add a punch to a single colour design.
Finally, if signing Discraft's waiver agreeing that the design is OK if imperfect (this is only required for art where Discraft foresees possible production issues), you can create really striking design aspects with hot stamp. Our Cherry Blossom disc is a longtime favourite; circular designs are often the most striking.
CONS | Hot Stamp art requirements can be tricky and limiting. No small fonts, thin lines or tiny details will make the cut, and art generally needs to be prepared by someone with at least intermediate design knowledge.
| Good news: VC offers our expert design services to help you get your Hot Stamp art Discraft-approved!
There is also a setup fee (which is included in our per disc price if you order through our online store) and a minimum disc order of 50.
PROS | If you have multiple colours, details, gradients, splatter, small text, sharp points, etc., etc., there is no better choice than SuperColor.
SuperColor, much like Sublimation, gives you absolutely limitless design options - the disc becomes your blank slate, go nuts! Design knowledge isn't as important - as long as you can provide a high resolution PDF or JPG of your circular design, Discraft can print it.
With regards to minimums, SuperColor also wins. VC offers custom disc order processing for as few as 25 discs, but you can order less from Discraft directly (note that this is a much more expensive option per disc that the standard minimum of 25).
Probably the biggest pro for SuperColor is the price. Without a setup fee increasing the per-disc cost, the price for 50 or 75 discs is a lot lower than for Hot Stamp. At 100 discs, the price almost evens out (hot stamp is still $50 more).
CONS | Unless you are emotionally tied to the way Hot Stamp print feels on a disc (SuperColor prints always cover the full 6.75" centre area of the disc, even if areas of the design are white), there aren't any!
What's the Verdict?
You might ask yourself, "what am I missing here?" SuperColor is easier to design and less expensive for team/smaller orders, it's true.
Honestly, it comes down to feeling and experience. Folks who have been picking up an UltraStar disc for decades will feel more at home with a Hot Stamp disc. Instead of an infused/embedded digitally-printed layer (which never comes off/fades), you feel the lines of the foil and the plastic of the disc. It's just what some players know.
For players who started playing ultimate in the last decade and/or just aren't that obsessed with the precise feeling of their disc (i.e. 99% of throwers), SuperColor is likely your best bet.
To put it into context, we merchandise dozens of tournaments per year. The only events we order Hot Stamp for are events featuring Masters divisions.
VC is here to help make ordering custom discs SuperEasy (pun intended)! Get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started on your next project, and here are a few additional resources for you: