Direct-to-garment printing (DTG) is a process of printing on textiles using specialized aqueous ink jet technology.DTG printers typically have a platen designed to hold the garment in a fixed position, and the printer inks are jetted or sprayed onto the textile by the print head.
DTG is a more sustainable fashion business model than screen printing. Mainly because printing one-offs allows businesses to avoid overproduction and textile waste. With 92 million tons of textile going to waste in the fashion industry each year, a business model like this is a game-changer.
Plus, a lot of DTG printer manufacturers create advanced tech that’s made with sustainability in mind. For example, Eon Company partners with Brother whose printers produce almost zero wastewater and use less energy, lowering the carbon footprint.
What’s more, Brother printers use water-based vegan inks that they formulate, test, and produce in their own ink factories, maintaining the highest quality levels. The inks are non-hazardous, toxin-free, biodegradable, and contain no animal by-products.
Thinking about starting your own t-shirt line? One of the first decisions you should make is the method you’ll use to print your apparel. And with so many options out there, the decision isn’t always easy – which is where we come in.
Scroll down for everything you need to know about screen printing, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing, and sublimation printing so you can decide which option is the best one for you. We’ll also give you recommendations of which types of shirts work best for each method.
Screen printing is one of the most popular methods of printing. When one is screen printing, they’re pulling a layer of ink over a screen to produce their desired design. A special screen is made for each design, which means that there should be a lot of orders for the specific design for it to be worth the investment. Screen printing is not only cost effective when you’re printing large batches, but it’s also versatile and less costly if you’re printing all of the same color. The cons? If you’re looking to print multiple colors, it’s not effective, and it can only print simple shape designs. Last but definitely not least, screen printing requires a large upfront investment and only allows for printing one design per batch.
Direct-to-Garment Printing (DTG)
Direct-to-Garment printing is basically like using a printer to print directly onto fabric. DTG printing works like a printer, supporting some of the most detailed designs in the game with as many color options as you’d like. Direct to Garment printing offers up extensive color options, easily customized designs, and seriously innovative details. It is suitable for small batches and requires a minimal upfront investment. That said, DTG printing is not cost effective for larger batches, and offers up no volume discounts. Not to mention, the design placement options are very limited.