Blog, Corporate Apparel, Direct To Garment Printing

Direct to Garment Printing Explained


Digital to Garment basics

Digital to garment printing is new to the decorated apparel industry. There are a few items which should be pointed out when deciding to go the dtg route

Screen printing is what the name says it is. The colors are pressed onto the garment by pressing the ink through a screen. The inks are custom mixed and can be pantone matched.

Screen printing is labor intensive and is not conducive to small orders.

Digital Printing is clean

Digital to garment printing (DTG) is very easy to do and is very clean. There are no screens used in the process. It works on the principal of a ink jet printer that sprays the ink on a garment. The process is easy and quick. Screen printing is actually spot printing. Spot printing is one color at a time. Sometimes you can be limited by the colors in the design if your supplier doesn’t  have the screens available on their printing carousel.

Screen printing is Mechanical

Screen printing is more of a mechanical process where DTG printing is more technical. It is very easy to print a design from a computer screen than  mechanically separating colors and making a screen for each color.  Clean up is very easy with DTG where as with screen printing you need solvents and a means to dispose of the extra ink just mixed for the project. DTG is very organic friendly.

CYMK color selection

DTG printing uses the CYMK (cyan, yellow, magenta and black) color pallet to get the final result. This means you can have as many colors you need vs the limited color selection of screen printing.

Specific printing substrates

One drawback for digital printing is the fabric it can be printed on. Because the inks are water based DTG needs a substrate which can absorb water based inks. Water based inks will not adhere to stain resistant materials (aprons, work shirts, nylon athletic shirts, ets). We always recommend ring spun cotton for the best results.

Art Requirement

The best art is high resolution graphics 300 dpi or more to get the best results. Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, and Photoshop are all capable of producing  great artwork.

Digital printing on darks is no problem as we have a built in pretreatment process on our Kornit printers.

You should consider digital printing;Kornit Storm HEXA

  • A lot of colors in the design
  • Rush order same day tees
  • You need a reorder quickly
  • You need a specksample
  • Customization of names in the design
  • Detailed art work (we never charge for colors)

In summary Direct To Gamrent Printing is fast becoming the norm and we will see it more and more as the nascent process is being refined.


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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