What is DTG?
Direct-to-garment printing (DTG) is a process of printing directly on textiles using specialized aqueous inkjet technology, this is also called direct printing. DTG printers typically have a plate designed to hold the garment in a fixed position, and the image or text is then printed or sprayed directly onto the fabric by the print head. DTG typically requires the garment to be pre-treated with a special liquid and this is often done with a specially made machine. It allows for the following:
- Stronger bond between clothing fibers and the pigmented ink
- Lays down loose fibers to provide a smoother surface
- Reacts chemically with the ink to promote drying and curing
Since this is a digital process, the print is sharper and has a higher resolution, or DPI, than traditional printing methods such as screen printing. However, unlike screen printing, there is no lengthy setup or clean-up process, and DTG has the ability to print just a single t-shirt at minimal cost.
What are the benefits of DTG?
- There are no set-up costs compared to screen-printing.
- Small orders and one-off jobs are printed at a reasonable price.
- Print images directly onto textiles that are highly accurate and detailed.
- In contrast to screen printing, with Direct-to-Garment (DTG) you don't have to pay by number of colors, so full-color printing is extremely affordable.
- Direct-to-Garment (DTG) Printer ink adheres directly to the fibers. It almost feels like part of the fabric.
- Prints stay as bright/sharp and soft and won't crack if cared for properly.
How does DTG compare to other t-shirt and hoodie printing technologies?
Screen Print VS DTG
|High quality prints||Yes||Yes|
|Unlimited color palette||No||Yes|
|Mass discounts||Yes||Yes*1 (partially)|
|More sustainable||No*2 (Partially)||Yes|
*1 A quantity discount can be given on DTG prints, however only limited, as the costs are more or less the same whether you buy 1 or 10 pieces
*2 All ink/material for DTG is sustainable and since you only produce the number that needs to be used, there is very little waste. Screen Print has become more sustainable today, compared to years ago. However, much more wasted clothing is still produced than at DTG. In addition, the colors for Screen Print are unfortunately rarely sustainable/environmentally friendly. If the Screen Print price is very cheap, then that is a sign that it is not sustainable!
How does DTG compare to other technologies for printing clothes in general?
There are many types of technologies of printing on clothes.
- Screen Print/Serigraphy
Each individual color of a design is individually pressed on top of the textile, after which it is then heated through an oven. Thereby the color melts onto the textile.
- DTG print
An industrial inkjet printer prints specially made textile ink directly into the fibers and is then heated through an oven or heat press. This heats the ink into the fibers themselves
This is a bit like DTG, however this can only be used for plastic/polyester and did not look like natural products. the design/colour is applied to the textile and, with the help of heat, gases are converted, which make it become part of the polyester.
- Vinyl transfer
The variation in quality is very large. If the quality is not good, this will crack after a few washes. If the quality is high (somewhat higher price too), then it can last a very long time.This is thicker vinyl that is cut out in the shape/logo/text you need and then this is pressed at high heat on top of the clothing. This should and is often only used for work clothes where the environmentally friendly aspect does not play the biggest role.
What quality can customers expect from a DTG print? Today, DTG is about as durable as Screen Print. This was not the case 5+ years ago. Today, if the pre-treatment is done correctly and professionally, the print lasts the life of the garment.
Why is DTG better than other printing methods? That it is better is a truth with modifications. For the private consumer, DTG will always be the best, due to the environmentally friendly aspect and that the price is kept down.
Since there are no start-up costs with DTG, it is both cheaper for the private consumer, but also more environmentally friendly!.