Throughout the years there’s been a number of innovations in the textile printing industry, including the introduction of digital direct to garment printing.
However digital printing has not yet lead to the end of traditional screen print, therefore in this article we look at the differences between the two methods.
How print design has evolved with digital textile printing
Unlike screen printing, digital direct to garment printing provides the user with a lot more control in respect of the colors and inks used. However on the flip side, traditional screen printing can produce many more garments at a time, making screen printing a viable option for substantial orders. This is maybe due to direct to garment printers and the necessary ink cartridges required, not yet being large enough to process a substantial order. However with continued developments in technology, this shouldn’t be the case for much longer.
Direct to garment printing does not use a traditional heat transfer, as the ink is directly bonded/printed to the fabric. As a result, digital printing reduces the amount of time spent on set-up and production. Often used for artwork with a lot of detail, digital direct to garment printing also produces more colors at a higher resolution, without the customer ever having to worry about loosing the look of the design, or a traditional screen being required for each color.
When it come to tools of the trade, screen printing involves making a stencil using a drawn/digital image or a photograph, then attaching to a screen, placing it over the desired canvas and smearing the ink over the image. With digital printing, all that’s required is a computer connected to a direct to garment printer containing the appropriate ink cartridge.
In respect of turnaround, screen printing takes a considerable amount of time in terms of set-up and production. However with digital printing, the whole process is considerably quicker. Making it an ideal solution for any customer who needs their printed garments in a hurry.
For the costs involved, with traditional screen printing the production price is driven by the number of color screens required and the size of the order. As a result if a customer requires a more complex design with many colors, then individual slides for every color specified will need to be created. Plus with traditional screen printing, the machinery must be operated by a professional screen printer, which of course also adds to the final cost. With digital printing, an appropriate computer and DTG printer is a one off investment. Making direct to garment printing a viable option for any start-up printing business looking expand their portfolio by printing on textiles.
Getting the best out of digital textile printing
Throughout the last decade, direct to garment printers have risen in popularity. Easy to set-up especially for one off orders, digital printing has not only transformed the printed textile market, but created a number of additional revenue streams for print organizations. Furthermore, marketers are now able to commission branded products to amplify their campaigns, conferences or seminars, without having to place a large and costly order, or consider the amount of time required to produce their requirements.
Due to its ability to facilitate large requests, traditional screen printing still has a place within the industry. However when it comes to bespoke, small batch orders, digital direct to garment printing is leading the way. From corporate branded T-shirts, local sports team clothing, fabric goodie bags and even personalized home furnishings, the ease and cost effective production method has enabled printers to work with their customers to create bright and refreshing designs at a cost effective price.
If you would like to explore more about the printers and ink used throughout the industry check out the SPDG resource page Print and Scanning Services.