When direct-to-garment (DTG) digital printing was launched, it revolutionised the fabric printing industry. Almost instantly, customers and printers could see the enormous benefits in using digital printing - the two most obvious being:
- Choice of colours and style of artwork was not restricted
- The cost of printing just one item was affordable
Before digital printing, screen printing was the preferred method. That’s not to say that screen printing is gone. Not at all. It’s very much alive and kicking and is still the number one method for larger orders (runs).
While most of us would have seen screen printing, or even tried it in art class, you’ve probably never digitally printed your own t-shirt. So how do you know if digital printing is right for your project? What type of fabrics are best for digital prints and what are some of the mistakes to avoid?
Let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts of digital printing.
What is digital printing?
To get an understanding of how direct-to-garment digital printing works, think about your home printer. There are a few similarities in that both use a series of colours (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black and White) to create any colour. Your image or logo is created digitally and relayed via computer to the printer. Lastly, the ink goes directly onto the garment – not via a plastic transfer.
But, that’s about where the similarities end. DTG printers are much more sophisticated machines. Our particular machine, the Brother GTX, uses special water-based pigment ink that can replicate the bold colours of your design, and make them last wash after wash.
Why is digital printing better for small orders?
Design by Tee Kay Artwork
The two main choices for fabric printing are digital printing and screen printing. With digital printing, there is less labour required and minimal preparation for small orders. This is why the cost of a single digitally printed t-shirt is lower. As we discussed earlier, screen printing works better for larger orders, because once you’ve made the screen template you can use it over and over again. The more you screen print, the lower the cost per unit.
In the past, the cost of screen printing just one t-shirt would have been too much. With digital printing, ordering a single custom designed t-shirt is very affordable.
What fabric works best for digital printing?
Design & Photograph by - @saltyscallywags
Imagine this. You’ve slaved away for hours, even days, creating the ultimate design. The colours pop off the screen. Now you want to get that one-of-a-kind design on a t-shirt. Just like you wouldn’t compromise on your artwork, you shouldn’t compromise on the material you print on.
With digital printing, we recommend using 100% cotton. It doesn’t matter what colour your t-shirt is, cotton will retain the ink much better giving you a crystal-clear copy of your design.
Is DTG digital printing best for my t-shirt business?
If you’re an artist who’s keen to set up an online store or you’re just looking to start a side hustle, DTG digital printing is the best place to start. Instead of making a big investment screen printing hundreds of t-shirts, DTG printing lets you test the water with minimal cost upfront. By using a company like The Fabric Printer, you’re also saving on overheads as well as the cost of buying your own DTG digital printer.
DTG digital printing has been a welcome addition to the fabric printing industry. Along with its colour and design options, it’s given artists, designers and entrepreneurs a chance to start their business with minimal up-front cost. Whether it’s t-shirts or tote bags, DTG digital printing is the perfect choice.
To find out more about DTG digital printing, contact The Fabric Printer. If you’ve got your artwork ready to go, it’s quick and easy to get an online quote. If you’ve got some questions, the team at The Fabric Printer are more than happy to chat. Call (08) 9244 9000.