Looking for the best printing method for your custom T-shirt or tote bag? Smart move! The quality of the print depends on the methods used and mechanics. The newest method, actively used since 2005 is Direct to garment, also known as DTG.
Lately it has grown in popularity, mainly because the printer directly inserts the ink into the fabric’s fibers. This results in clear cut printed items, with no visible bumps of the design which can occur for items printed with other methods.
So the most popular printing out there is Screen. How does it work? Well, the method requires manually burning screens for each color of the design and then pushing them on the item as layers. What DTG printers do better than Screen is take out most manual work involved in printing. It basically works as printing a document since the design is taken off a computer and directly implemented in an item. DTG is highly recommended for digital artists as it has a wider range of color and keeps resolution quality to a maximum.
Other benefits of DTG are eco-friendliness and durability. The ink that this type of printer uses is naturally obtained and water based, so besides the process of creating the actual print – DTG won’t do any additional damage to the environment, neither with the printing process or ink production.
So what makes DTG highly durable? Their method of printing digs deep into the fibers, preventing any fading or deterioration on the print. Items made with other types of printers usually fade and lose ink with the first improper wash.
However, DTG isn’t all roses. As other methods, it too has its own difficulties and disadvantages. The first one being limitations on material. The type of shirt that works with DTG is a white 100% cotton one. This is because DTG can show a lack of quality when printing on dark surfaces and on every fabric other than cotton. Don’t get me wrong: DTG can print on polyester or other materials, but the quality can just slightly decrease. Another disadvantage of DTG is that it a surprisingly slow process compared to other methods. Maximum quality surely comes with a price, and in the case of DTG that price is time. Even though we mentioned pros and cons for this printing method, everything will depend on the print shop you choose. If they know their craft, every obstacle will be overcome with an efficient solution.
Other Types of Printing
Besides direct to garment printing, there are other ways one can print out a customized product. The different types of printing are recommended for different situations and clients. Some of them have more disadvantages, but all have their own contribution in the world. Here are the top 3 printing methods besides DTG:
- Screen printing – The most popular method of printing. Highly recommended for mass production and can be used to print various items and materials. Its cons are that it isn’t color flexible and that it is a costly and complicated process.
- Embroidery – With this method, the design is directly sewed into the fabric. It doesn’t require any printing and it is the most durable and professional looking option. The main con is that it isn’t flexible with digital designs and logo, sometimes even disrupting the form.
- Transfer printing – The process is fairly simple and complicated designs can be easily printed out. It uses heat to transfer images to objects, even on glass and ceramics. But the fabric that can be used is limited and with time, the design can lose quality.
DTG Vs Screen Printing
The best way to understand DTG is by comparing it with the most popular printing method of today – screen. These 2 are the top choices for clients and here are their main differences:
- Method – DTG directly inserts the ink into the fabric, while Screen pushes the ink on the surface until it makes a firm design. The first one requires only a computer and a printer, while the second one involves film tapes, manual film burning and UV light.
- Time – You can hear lots of advice to choose DTG only for a small amount of products, while Screen is widely recommended for mass production. This doesn’t have anything to do with quality, but with time. In only one hour, 20 items can be printed with DTG. But with Screen you can print out 400 – 600 items in the same time-frame. So if you want mass production done with DTG, it is best to schedule a printing session way before your due date.
- Resolution – DTG is the best method for preserving image quality. It is widely used amongst artists who want to keep the design true to their primary ideas. Contrary to DTG, Screen isn’t color flexible. In fact, it doesn’t print out the actual colors since the process basically mixes a couple of basic colors to create an illusion of other colors and shades.
Printd is your top choice for custom t-shirts and t-shirt printing. Whatever your custom apparel and promotional needs we have you covered.