What is direct to garment t-shirt printing?
Direct To Garment t-shirt printing is relatively new in the t-shirt printing world. It is a print method that bypasses the film printing and screen creation that are two integral steps in the process of screen printing. The print machine is actually connected directly to the computer and the design can be printed from a program on the computer straight to the shirt in the print machine. This saves a good bit of time and money on the materials and labor that is typically involved with screen printing.
Direct To Garment printing is very different from screen printing where a design has to be printed to scale and then burned onto a screen and put on a manual or automatic printing press. The technology for Direct To Garment t-shirt printing is considered high tech compared to the more low-tech process of t-shirt screen printing. Since it is still considered an emerging technology, it still has a long ways to go to get past the bugs and glitches.
Some of these bugs include not being able to vibrantly print light colored inks on dark colored t-shirts. The actual ink and the amount of ink used in the process is too weak to pop off of a dark t-shirt. The darkness of the t-shirt influences the ink too much and doesn't provide enough contrast. Typically prints down on dark shirts, or with light inks, come out looking faded or otherwise distorted. For this reason we always recommend using an ink color that is darker than the shirt color.
Even with its problems though, Direct To Garment is still a great print method when a job calls for fewer than six t-shirts. Direct To Garment t-shirt printing can print a lot of colors on a small quantity of shirts at a very economical price. This is very different from screen printing but in a good way since a high number of ink colors for screen printing would drive up the price quite a bit. Direct To Garment also has the control and power to print photographs without dealing with four color process separations on the artwork. This too has been one of its greatest benefits.
Direct To Garment T-shirt printing is inevitably the print method of the future. Maybe not the near future but as the process improves, its ease-of-use and time-saving potential will make it more and more of a mainstay in the t-shirt printing world. We look forward to watching the process evolve and improve.
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