From Complex to Simple: Direct-to-Garment Printing Simplifies Multi-Color and Detailed Designs

Have you ever heard the age-old adage, “You get what you pay for?” In most aspects of life, including marketing and brand merchandising, this statement holds true – cheaper materials and methods make less desirable goods, while higher quality elements can really make a product stand out.  When your brand's reputation is affiliated with the value of your merchandise it’s important to establish reliable and refined product design, embellishment, and procurement strategies. When it comes to branded apparel items, a poorly printed product can leave consumers with a negative impression and diminished perception of your brand.

Efficient yet affordable apparel printing strategies are a must-have for brands hoping to wow new and old customers through branded merchandise. 51% of consumers rank the quality or value of an item, whether it be a graphic tee or an imprinted ball cap, above the price. Ensuring that your branded apparel designs pop promises satisfied customers while highlighting your brand’s commitment to quality.

While there are many different garment printing strategies, direct-to-garment printing – or DTG printing –stands out as a sustainable, accessible, and cost-effective option for your printing needs. In this blog post, we’ll explore how DTG’s color and detail capabilities can bring new life to your brands printed garments.

 

To DTG, or not to DTG: The Pros and Cons of Other Printing Methods

As the most recent innovation to the garment printing industry, DTG offers several perks that its predecessors do not. Some methods, like screen printing, are known for their reliability. However, screen printing isn’t ideal for full-garment prints, as the layers of ink tend to blur. Screen printing offers vibrant and long-lasting colors wash after wash, but accommodating its limited color options can complicate the creative process.

Heat transfer vinyl and heat press printing methods also have a background in producing long-lasting, vivid designs from seam-to-seam, but the precise timing required for production often results in errors such as peeling, burnt garments, and limitations with layering. Other popular methods, like dye-sublimation printing (or all-over printing) and plastisol transfer, create durable prints but, unlike DTG, are more time consuming. Although DTG can be more expensive than other, more traditional alternatives depending on the size of the project, the tradeoffs inefficiency, color, and design quality make it a worthy new contender to the apparel printing field. Let's take a closer look at how DTG printing works.

 

Demystifying DTG: What is DTG printing, and how does it work?

Much of what sets DTG apart from other printing strategies is its process – specifically its unique use of pretreated agents and ink jet technology. First, the garment is treated with a water-based ink fixing to lay down loose fibers and better bond them to colored inks. This absorptive process tends to work better on garments composed of partially or fully natural fibers, like cotton, hemp, and linen, encouraging sustainable apparel sourcing practices.

Next, the garment is positioned on the platen system, where the design is then digitally printed onto the material. Because DTG printers receive commands directly from a central computer, photorealistic designs can be replicated onto prints with few color or design limitations. Finally, the garment is preserved through the curing process as the pretreatment chemically reacts with the bonded inks. Not only does this agent speed up the drying process, but it also locks the colors into the fibers, ensuring that prints are resistant to wear and tear.


The Benefits of DTG Printing: Limitless Hues, Detailed Prints. and Warehouse Efficiency

With DTG printing, your brand can unlock a full spectrum of possibilities in custom garments, including unparalleled color versatility. DTG printing operates with CMYK color inks, allowing for millions of color combinations and a wide variety of shades, hues, tones, and tints. DTG’s textile pigment inks are compatible with a variety of fabrics and fabric blends, allowing you to bring your creative visions to life on different printing mediums. During the application and curing process, the water-based ink colors blend with fibers, providing a soft, comfortable feel that resists fading and abrasion. Wash after wash, the eco-friendly ink agents adhere firmly to garments, making DTG printing a win-win for your customers and the environment.

When precision and detail matter most, DTG does not disappoint. Unlike other printing methods which call for screens or papers as intermediaries, DTG designs transfer directly to the garment, allowing for crisp, uninterrupted designs with a reduced margin of error. DTG printing is well known for its consistency in reproducing photorealistic details onto garments, making it the perfect choice for both simple and intricate designs.

DTG printing can also be useful for brands and businesses interested in in-house printing or in amplifying and automating warehouse operations. With no need for screens or stencils, DTG printing has a quicker turnover and decreases preparation time. This efficiency allows you to redirect assets to focus on more meaningful tasks, while DTG handles the menial jobs. Not only does DTG save time, but it also consumes less ink, has lower levels of waste production, and uses less energy than traditional printing methods. While the ink can be costly, DTG printing compensates by better preserving and distributing ink while putting less strain on the environment. As a newer printing method, DTG is unique in its ability to accommodate last-minute design changes, allowing for greater flexibility with design and customization. There’s no need to reprint or redo templates or screens because design changes can be made, saved, and applied minutes before print.


The Fine Print: Embracing Simplicity and Quality with DTG Printing

When it comes to providing garments with quality printing, DTG can serve as a consistent “catch-all” for a wide range of printing requests. The premium prints DTG delivers aren’t just about aesthetics; they are woven into the fabric of your brand’s overall image. As you continue exploring and experimenting with different printing methods, don’t let the disparity between quality and mediocrity tarnish your brand. For more information on DTG and other printing services, complete our contact form or reach us by phone or email at 1-800-445-4831 or info@helm.com.

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