What is Direct to Garment Printing? A Revolution in Printed Clothing
Digital technology has made a significant impact on almost every industry on the planet, and the world of printed clothing is certainly no exception. For many centuries people have been decorating their clothing for a plethora of reasons, but the methods used didn’t change much for some time, until now. Digital Transfer Printing and Direct to Garment Printing are two technologies that have revolutionised the way we decorate clothing products like t-shirts, hoodies and polos.
Traditional Methods of Printing on Clothing
Aside from embroidery, there have traditionally been two ways to print on clothing products: screen printing and vinyl transfers. Screen printing has been the method most widely used, particularly for large quantity orders and for any type of design that has needed more than a single colour. For this reason, most of the products sold by retailers are printed using screen printing.
Screen printing does have some limitations though, the major one is the time and cost involved in preparing a machine to print the garments means that this method of printing is not well suited for small quantities. Generally, quantities of less than 25 units are not suited to screen printing.
Vinyl transfers, which is sometimes known as vinyl cut printing, works very differently. It involves taking a sheet of vinyl and using a plotter to cut out the design. Once cut out, the vinyl is placed on top of the garment and then a heat press is used to affix it. This type of decoration is used for small quantities, particularly for adding individual names and numbers to sports clothing and teamwear. Vinyl transfer is not good for large quantity orders as it is very time consuming, it is also not suited to printing intricate designs, or designs with many colours.
Digital Transfer Printing
Digital transfer printing is a step up on the traditional vinyl transfer. It involves printing a design on to a transfer that can then be cut out with a plotter and heat pressed to the garment. Digital transfer printing allows for designs to be multiple colours, as opposed to just one. The process is still more time consuming than screen printing, and therefore is still best suited to smaller quantity orders and designs that are not complicated or intricate.
Direct to Garment
Direct to garment printing, which is often just called DTG has been the biggest revolution in the industry. A DTG printer works similarly to the inkjet printer you have at home, except instead of printing on to sheets of A4 paper, it injects ink into the cotton fibres of clothes. This method doesn’t require anything to be cut out, or for multiple layers of ink to be lined up in order to get the different colours to line up. Instead, the DTG printer takes care of almost everything.
What are the benefits of DTG?
The benefits of DTG printing are that designs can be much more intricate, and multiple colours can be used, practically without limitation. The flexibility of the technology means that it can be used to print small and large quantities, allowing it to be used for both bulk promotional t-shirt printing and for on-demand clothing printing.
Can DTG be used for any garment?
DTG works with cotton garments, the ink will not attach itself to other fibres. To get the best results from your direct to garment printed garments, 100% cotton products that are tightly woven should be used.
Is DTG the future of printing?
The rise and popularity of DTG printing does not mean that traditional methods like screen printing cannot continue to exist. Screen printing is still the best option for large quantities of prints, particularly for mass produced retail products, and bulk purchases of workwear and promotional clothing.
DTG provides a different type of finish, which some may decide works best for their design. It also provides greater flexibility over colours and quantities, allowing for on-demand printing and small orders.
How can I get DTG printed products?
Our online shop allows you to choose from over 5,000 different clothing products, all of which can be customised. You simply select your print area and the number of colours in your design and our system will calculate the best print method and price for you.
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