Digital T-shirt printing, also called DTG or direct to garment, is one of the two main ways that custom shirts are created. The other is screen printing. Digital printing is a newer addition to the printing field that requires specialized equipment and does not involve as many steps as screen printing.
Digital T-shirt printing technology is very similar to the way ink-jet printers work. An image is created – with no restraints to the number of colors or type of artwork used – and the image is printed directly onto the shirt. With the use of advanced technology, inkjet printer heads print directly onto T-shirts without puncturing the fabric. It offers a service that screen-printing cannot, namely Print on demand technology. The shirt is stretched over a frame and housed below a set of ink jet heads. The garment is then printed in much the same way as an ink jet printer prints on paper. With digital printing, you can print single designs economically. Unlike screen printing there is very little set up. It is excellent for reproducing photographic prints, multi colored designs and logos.
Digital T-Shirt Printing Benefits
Great for photos or colorful designs. There is no limit to the number of colors with digital T-shirt printing. The process is faster and simpler when colors are involved, as opposed to the labor-intensive approach with screen printing.
Great for details images. Digital T-shirt printing generally picks up details, particularly in photos and other designs, better than screen printing.
Affordable for small orders. If the order is for a single shirt or just a few shirts, digital T-shirt printing is affordable. Unlike screen printing, which requires additional screens for every color in the design, digital printing can easily take care of small orders no matter the detail or amount of color involved.
No setup costs. There is no special preparation for a photo or design with digital T-shirt printing, but that’s often the case with screen printing, where the preparation of a number of screens to accommodate all the colors in a photo or design often requires a separate preparation fee.