There’s a revolution underway in the world of garment printing! Many suppliers are now turning to Direct-to-Garment (DTG) printers, which apply designs to textiles using inkjet technology. When we saw what our printing partners were creating with this technology, we were so blown away that we simply had to jump on the blog to spread the good news.
According to Wikipedia, screen printing has been around in some form since China’s Song Dynasty. Over the past century, we have screen printing to thank for some of the greatest textile innovations, such as the rise of the graphic T-shirt and the oeuvre of Andy Warhol. But it’s 2018 now, and with recent technological innovations, it’s time to face some truths about the limitations of screen printing and discover the three key advantages of DTG Printing.
Advantage #1: The Texture
When you’re talking wearables, the feel is the whole deal. While the old plastisol inks used in screen printing provide great opacity, the texture is thick and plasticky. A large design will completely seal off the weave, which can kill the breathability of a cotton T-shirt. No-one wants that sweaty patch on a hot summer’s day!
With DTG printing, the ink actually integrates directly into the fibers of the garment. This means the artwork is more flexible, and it will never lift or crack. Gone are the days of thick, gluey slabs of ink. It’s like you’re getting all the benefits of embroidery – without the fancy price tag!
Avantage #2: The Artistic Possibilities
DTG printing also opens up a whole new world of colour. As industry insiders know, screen printing is accomplished by applying layers of colour, one at a time. With this process, you have two choices: severely restrict your colour selection, or be prepared to cough up exorbitant sums for extra colours. As for subtle shading and gradients? Forget about it!
Conversely, DTG printers can bring your wildest technicolour dreams to life, like Dorothy stepping out of her sepia farmhouse into the rainbow-bright land of Oz. With inkjet technology, there are no limits to the varieties of art that can be recreated on apparel. Just look at some of the fine, photorealistic details on the beards below!
Advantage #3: The Cost and Convenience
Basic screen printing costs can be relatively inexpensive, but when you get into multi-colour logos, costs can rise quite a bit. Let’s break that down a little. In traditional screen printing, CMYK logos are typically separated into “spot” colours, with a film and screen set-up charge for each individual colour. In some cases, there can be as many as 7 or 8 colours, which will septuple or octuple your film and screen set-up charges. Because it is such a labour-intensive process, companies will often require higher minimum orders to make this cost effective, which leads to long lead times.
The digitized process of DTG printing has eradicated the need for high setup charges, making the whole process considerably cheaper in terms of both money AND time! Without the intense set-up requirements, DTG printers are able to accommodate smaller orders, making it a great option for small or rush orders.
So if you’re looking to put your brand on apparel, it’s time to start thinking bigger. However, before we’re completely overwhelmed with possibilities, let’s take a moment to remember the immortal words of Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben: “With great power comes great responsibility.” The cardinal rules of graphic design still apply! Make sure to create contrast between your elements (ESPECIALLY text), include sufficient negative space, and keep the focus on one or two elements instead of many.
Also, let’s be clear: we’re certainly not denouncing screen printing. Screen printing is a great option, and for some garment jobs, we’d actually recommend it. But when it comes to more stylized or artistic work, DTG printing opens up a world of possibilities.
Looking to amplify your company apparel with some photo-realistic art? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help bring your vision to light.