Vocational Vocabulary: Hi-Vis / Reflective

Hi-Vis and Reflective article cover

What does Hi-Vis mean?

Hi-Vis (or High-Visibility) is a term used for brightly colored garments (t-shirts, vests, jackets, etc..) and can also refer to neon or fluorescent heat transfer vinyls and screen print inks. The pigments or dyes used in these bright colors reflect the light more efficiently than normal dyes. This is especially true when exposed to UV light from the sun during the daytime. And while artificial lights (like car headlights) have some small amounts of UV light, the neon / fluorescent colors don’t really shine or reflect as well at night.

What does Reflective mean?

Reflective is a term for describing materials that reflect light. While this sounds fairly simple, there are actually a number of different reflective types. For example:

Illustration of light reflecting off surface at an angle

Mirror Reflective. The light hitting the material is reflected off at an angle opposite to its source.

Illustration of light reflecting off surface and diffusing in all directions

Diffuse Reflective. The light hitting the material is scattered or diffused in all different directions.

Illustration of light reflecting off surface back at the source of the light

Retroreflective. The light hitting the material is returned to the original light source.

What Hi-Vis HTVs are Available?

EasyWeed™ Fluorescent
The Siser® EasyWeed™ line has 7 different Hi-Vis Fluorescent colors available. With it’s sticky carrier sheet, it’s a perfect option for creating a wide variety of designs; from small, detailed logos, to large logos and names/numbers.

Fashion-Film™ Fluorescent
The Stahls® Fashion-Film™ line also has 7 different Fluorescent colors available. This HTV is also a good option for creating Hi-Vis designs, large and small.

Premium Plus™
The Stahls® Premium Plus™ line has 5 different Fluorescent colors available. The low-temp application works well with heat sensitive items like performance polyester.

Sport Film Lite™
The Stahls® Sports Film Lite™ line has 5 different Fluorescent colors available, and is the only HTV on this list that will stick to Nylon, as well as Cotton, Polyester, etc…

What Reflective HTVs are Available?

3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective 5807
This reflective heat transfer vinyl is the top of the line. Its high retroreflectivity meets ANSI/ISEA-107 safety standards, which means it’s perfect for construction workers, emergency responders, and others. And its aggressive adhesive means it sticks to not only cotton and polyester, but also nylon, cordura, lycra, spandex, and more.

Though this heat transfer vinyl doesn’t meet the safety standards like the 3M does, it’s still a highly reflective vinyl. This makes it a great option for running wear, sports uniforms, and since it’s CPSIA compliant means it’s perfect for kids clothes, bags, and even head and footwear.

Have questions about Hi-Vis or Reflective materials? Contact our team of specialists by email or phone:

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