Digital printing or direct-to-garment (a.k.a. DTG) printing has revolutionized the ability to print full color images for small print runs quickly and affordably. When screen printing, color separation, set up times and the number of colors involved make printing complex and/or photographic imagery on darks very cost prohibitive. Rush charges made quick turns for small runs very expensive. DTG makes simulated process prints WITH a quick turn possible and affordable because the art file is printed directly onto the apparel item being decorated using ink jet technology, similar to a home or office paper printer.
Take a look at DTG in action:
Send your art over with your order info. You can even send the art before you get the order in to review and troubleshoot ahead of time. As with screen print and embroidery, we review each piece of art for good print capabilities before we mock up the digital art proof. The art submission guidelines for digital printing are a little more lenient than with screen printing, but the golden rule remains - good art makes good prints.
While your goods are on their way, we will set up the art proof for your approval. In this step we communicate what the final print will look like. Size - location, etc. We’ll give you a heads up about any potential problems, advise on solutions, and when everything meets your approval, move forward. Sometimes we need to take a look at the garment before proofing and address this on a case-by-case basis.
Pre-treatment is needed on dark garments only. The pre-treatment is a spray primer for the white under base print on a digital printer. The garment is then heat pressed to seal the primer and create a smoother surface for better printing.
Just like an office inkjet printer, heads containing ink jets move back and forth over the surface we are printing, spraying CMYK to recreate the digital image. DTG printers have additional white jets to create an under base, then print the color image. Next, the garment is placed on a conveyor belt that runs through a very high temperature dryer to set the ink.
As the newest technology for custom decorated apparel, digital printing is probably the least understood. There are some advantages & disadvantage to direct-to-garment printing that you may not be aware of.
We've developed a guide to cover the basics of the process, fabrics to use, what kind of art to avoid and more.
Fill out the for to the right to download the guide.