Why is digital printing bad at printing light colored inks?

It is not uncommon for customers to be surprised to discover that they are not able to do light ink colors on their digital t-shirt order. This includes popular ink colors like white, yellow, pink, etc. We realize that this is often very surprising and disappointing to customers and of course we regret that. Unfortunately though lighter ink colors just do not show up very well on digitally printed t-shirts.

The reason that lighter ink colors are a problem on digital shirts is that the technology for the digital printing is still relatively new in the industry. As with many new processes there are still a few kinks to work out and a few hurdles to overcome. One of the main problems is that at this stage the digital ink used just are not strong enough to stay bright and vibrant on darker colored t-shirts. What it boils down to is that the ink color needs to be darker than the t-shirt color for it to maintain its appearance and come out looking the way that it should.

As a result of this limitation, that the ink color has to be lighter than the shirt color, there are quite a few inks that are simply too light to work on any color shirt. White ink is one such ink since there are no shirts that are lighter than white. Along the same lines, you may have noticed that no darker colored shirts were offered as printing options for digital printing. The reason is very similar. There are simply some shirt colors that are too dark for any color ink to show up properly. The clearest example of that is black; no ink color is darker than black and so it is impossible to get black shirts printed with the digital printing technology at this time.

The good news is that digital t-shirt printing is getting better all the time. At You Design It, we try to push the limitations and improve the process so we can eventually offer dark colored t-shirts with light colored inks at quantities of less than six t-shirts per order. And believe me, when we do eventually get to offer dark colored t-shirts with no minimums, we are going to let the world know about it.

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