ith several, quality methods available to create impressive, custom apparel garments, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing is a newer technique gaining recognition among printers – especially small-business owners. Created in the late ’90s, DTG printing uses a custom inkjet printer to apply water-based inks directly to the textile. The garment’s fibers then absorb the liquid. The process is likened to printing a document at home — replace paper with garments. The outcome is some seriously impressive designs customers go crazy for.
Whether you’re considering contemporary tactics to add to your business services or just getting started and marinating on a customization method, direct-to-garment printing can be a lucrative option.
Below are just five, key benefits of what DTG printing has to offer:
Vibrant, Highly Detailed Designs
Compared to traditional printing methods, DTG printers can create lively, photo-realistic images by firing smaller droplets of ink — allowing for more detail. These printers also use the full spectrum of colors, with the ability to print them simultaneously, making them perfect for colorful designs or artwork with shading and gradients.
Unlike screenprinting, which requires a lot of setup and squeegeeing each color of ink separately, DTG printing entails little-to-no setup and can avail a multicolor design at the press of a button. With barely any time-consuming manual labor involved, a small-batch custom order can be delivered the same day. This improves the customer experience by having a quick turnaround time, and you can charge a “rush-order” fee to bump up profits.
With little-to-no setup required and a “push-to-print” design system, operating costs are decreased — leaving more room to profit per sale. The average operating cost to create a DTG print is about $1 for light-colored garments — around $3 for dark-colored garments. This means you can charge competitive pricing, and your business will keep more of the money from the transaction than, say, with a screenprinting order. With consistent business, you’ll be seeing a return on your DTG-equipment investment in no time.
From small, sports teams to company tees to family reunions, this versatile printer can bring in clients historically swayed by high, setup costs or minimum orders. Direct-to-garment printing is perfect for small-batch or “one-off” requests.
To create a flawless, custom, apparel DTG print, there are really just four simple steps: pretreat and cure the garment, load the digital art to your graphics system and adjust your design’s layout as desired, put the garment on the platen and print, then use a heat press and cure one last time. As with any new approach, the first couple of tries will take practice; but once you overcome the learning curve, the method is simple enough for one person to do all the work!
As a newer innovation rising in popularity, direct-to-garment printing isn’t necessarily a replacement for screen printing. However, it can complement your current business offerings to build out more well-rounded services and is a great, starting strategy for smaller operations.