Direct to garment printing design 4Direct to garment printing designNikkiDirect to garment t-shirt printing designIndian

Quality DTG printed t-shirts, designed, manufactured and delivered.


What is Direct to Garment Printing?

Direct to garment (DTG) printing is an efficient, modern technique for printing designs and patterns directly onto an item of clothing, in much the same way that an inkjet printer applies an image or text onto a piece of paper. Using this technology, manufacturers are able to produce exceptionally high quality designs, with a very high resolution. By comparison to the former standard technique of heat transfer printing (which involves a lengthy process whereby the image is first printed onto transfer paper, then applied to the garment via a heat press machine), DTG printing is far superior in terms of longevity; heat transfers tend to crack and peel.

As with all methods of digital printing, in DTG printing the information that makes up the image that you wish to print is changed into binary code, which is then sent to the print head and transformed back into the original image. Due to its high speed and low production costs, it is now the printing technique of choice for many businesses.

With traditional printing techniques there are many steps involved prior to production – the  creation of a printing block for example – and these result in substantially higher production costs which are then passed onto the customer. With direct to garment printing, all of this is done away with; the image to be printed is simply loaded onto a computer, then the item of clothing to be printed is laid in the digital printer, and the machine does the rest of the work.

Due to the high setting costs associated with conventional printing, the vast majority of manufacturers are unwilling to take on low-volume orders. With direct to garment printing, production runs of just one item are possible, enabling customers to digitally print a single t-shirt for a birthday or graduation, or a business to print a small run of t-shirts for a promotion.


Digital Printing vs. Screen Printing


Both direct to garment digital printing and screen printing are very efficient methods for producing high quality items of clothing. However, there are important differences between the two methods, which you should consider when deciding which technique is best for your order.

 Screen Printing

Screen printing has for many years been the standard means of printing high quality images onto garments. It involves using a woven mesh that supports an ink-blocking stencil. The cut (open) sections of the stencil create areas through which ink can easily pass through. The ink is then forced through the holes by a fill blade (or squeegee), which is passed over the stencil, driving the ink onto a substrate (in this case a t-shirt or other item of clothing) via capillary action.

While excellent for ensuring high quality results, screen printing garments does take considerably longer than DTG printing. The result is a very strong print, that will stand the test of time and will be resistant to many machine washes. It is best suited to large-volume orders that are not required in a hurry, as the setting costs are sufficiently big as to make small-volume orders uneconomical, and the production times are long.


Digital Printing


DTG printing technology is advancing very quickly. Formerly, one disadvantage of direct to garment printing was that the resulting print, while of comparable quality initially, would not last for as many machine washes as a screen printed equivalent. With the advent of the Avalanche DC Pro from Kornit (a state-of-the-art digital printer), and the new generation of hard-wearing inks, it will not be long before digitally printed garments last as long as their screen printed counterparts.

Until recently, discharge printing had only been possible through conventional screen printing techniques. This process differs from standard printing; instead of putting a base layer of ink onto the material, followed by a second layer of ink to form the image or text, discharge printing involves injecting bleach onto the garment first, which removes the pigment from the material, creating a light area on which to then print the desired image. As only one layer of ink is used in this technique, the resulting print is very soft to the touch and comfortable for the wearer. With the new generation of DTG printers, this is now possible with photographic prints.

As previously stated, the primary advantages of direct to garment printing are the low setting costs, and the rapid rate that garments can be produced. DTG printing is, therefore, best suited to customers looking for a low volume order, with a short production time.

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