So there is this relatively new fandangled technology that uses a digital method to print onto t-shirts. It is technically termed – Direct To Garment Digital Printing or DTG for short.
So how does it work?
Well basically it is just a large format inkjet printer…not too much from the one you would have at home to print out your photos etc. Instead of printing onto photo paper it prints on to t-shirts. It uses specially formulated inks that work on textiles. They have even developed a special white ink that prints onto coloured t-shirts. Check this video to see ours in action…(Note: The printing part of the video is sped up 600% in the video for times sake…its not a super printer)
The benefits are that it is good to print onto short runs under 10 pieces where set-up prices for screen printing would make things expensive. It also prints photographic images at a very high resolution.
There are negatives to the method though. The inks don’t have the long life of screen printing inks and will fade over time. The printing is expensive if you want larger runs done. It isn’t a retail quality product in our opinion, but does fill a gap in the market where people need one off or short run t-shirts.
The other problem is that there are a lot of people entering the t-shirt printing market with these machines. They tout them as the next big thing and promote the fact that there are no set-ups etc but don’t give the full picture of the life expectancy of the print or compare it with traditional printing methods.
It basically comes down to what you need. If you need a short run of t-shirts or photographic or high colour images and the longevity of the product isn’t a major concern then digital t-shirt printing is worth doing. If you are after a professional finish and a long lasting retail quality product then screen printing is definitely the best option.
Let me know any thoughts or questions you might have below in the comments.