What does DTG stand for when referring to t-shirt printing?

You may have heard the acronym DTG in the context of t-shirt printing and been confused about what it stood for. DTG stands for Direct To Garment t-shirt printing. This is also known as digital t-shirt printing. This print method is fairly new to the apparel decoration industry and is an emerging technology that is receiving a lot of focus at this time. Its main strength is the ability to print a small quantity of t-shirts economically whether there are a lot of print colors or not. As you can imagine this offers a huge advantage for many customers and lots of people are very excited about it.

Direct To Garment is exactly what it says it is, a method of t-shirt printing where the design can go straight from the computer to be printed onto the t-shirt. This is in sharp contrast to traditional printing methods such as screen printing. With screen printing the artwork is separated by ink colors, each ink color then receives its own screen, and then it is the screens that are used to actually print the shirts. As you can imagine doing DTG instead saves a lot of cost on materials and set up.

In the last couple of years, this print technology has gained a lot of strength and popularity along with the Internet and the demand for custom t-shirts with no minimums. It would be more rare to find an online t-shirt design studio that doesn't allow no minimums then it would be to find one that does. The increased flexibility that DTG offers is probably its greatest benefit.

Direct To Garment t-shirt printing still has a long way to go to be able to print as well as screen printing but the potential is there. The ability to vibrantly print light colors on dark t-shirts is still lacking in many areas but it should be a reality in the near future. The feel of the inks is very soft and that is a big plus; however, the durability of the print still needs improvement considering that it often starts to fade after a couple of washes.

All in all, Direct To Garment t-shirt printing is a great print method for less than six t-shirts. Orders of more than six pieces are still typically better off being done with screen printing instead. Screen printing still offers superiority quality and many more options. It is often also more cost effective than DTG at larger order quantities.

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