Do you have a groundbreaking idea for a T-shirt, towel, or sweatshirt?
You don’t have to be a professional artist to realize your dream fabric design. Today’s print design services let you focus on what you do best, coming up with fantastic creative ideas!
Before you start printing, it’s important to know which options are available. Screen printing may work for some products, while direct to garment printing services may be a better fit for your goals.
Let’s break down these two techniques to discover the best solution for your design.
What Are Direct to Garment Printing Services (DTG)?
Direct to garment printing, or DTG, is similar to printing on paper. Like an inkjet printer, DTG printers spray the ink design directly onto the fabric; the fibers soak up the ink, leaving a rich, colorful design.
If you want to attempt DTG printing yourself, you’ll need a special DTG inkjet printer. Make sure your printer is compatible with your favorite art or photo editing software. You’ll need to design and upload a design first before printing.
Buying your DTG printer is a good idea if you want to manage your own manufacturing. However, you may find a DTG service more economical for your needs. Direct to garment printing services handle all your printing needs without producing loads of overstock.
DTG is better suited for on-demand ordering, as well.
For example, if a customer orders two t-shirts, your printing service will print and send two shirts, not pull from a large shirt inventory. This option is great for businesses with few employees or solo entrepreneurs.
Pros and Cons of DTG Printing
Let’s recap some of the pros (and possible cons) of direct to garment printing:
While DTG printing is excellent for bulk orders, you may save more money on bulk orders with screen printing, depending on the service. If screen printing produces the same desired effect, calculate your costs to see which option is most economical. As a small business, you can start with a low-cost screen printing service and upgrade to DTG as orders increase.
However, quality is of utmost importance. Many business owners and consumers prefer the look and feel of DTG printed tees over screen printed shirts. Since the ink completely soaks into the fabric, DTG shirts feel softer to the touch.
While DTG shirts are softer than screen printed shirts, the latter produces more rich, color-saturated designs. DTG printing is still great for intricate, detailed designs, but the colors are less vibrant than screen printed shirts.
DTG printing doesn’t produce that authentic “screen printed look” that you can only get from a traditional screen printer, but it’s far less laborious than screen printing.
Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of screen printing:
The 411 on Screen Printing
When people think of t-shirt printing, the first method they think of is screen printing. Screen printing has been around for over 120 years; it was developed at the turn of the century as a pioneering advertising technique.
However, many scholars credit China’s Song Dynasty as the real originator of screen printing when it created its predecessor, silk printing.
Like DTG, screen printers apply ink to fabric; however, screen printers push the ink into the material, while DTG printers spray ink on the fabric. Instead of soaking into the fibers, the ink sits on the surface, creating a richer effect.
Every color of your fabric design gets its own screen printing screen, too. Fortunately, most photo editing programs can break down designs by color.
Since you apply each color separately, screen printing is best for shirts with just a few colors or less. The more colors you use, the heavier your fabric will feel.
While screen printing offers a lot of value aesthetically, there are limitations. If you want a detailed, multicolored design to shine, DTG printing is your best bet. However, screen printing could really enhance a tricolor design.
These considerations lead right into the next point, goal-setting.
Clarify Your Goals
Your business goals should play a key role in printing decisions.
Remember, DTG printing is faster, produces softer products, handles unlimited color requests, and can print-on-demand.
On the other hand, screen printing offers authentic aesthetic quality, attractive prices, and printing versatility.
You can also screen print multiple products, not just t-shirts. Furthermore, if you want to print your own shirts, it’s cheaper to set up a DIY screen printing space than buy a DTG printer.
How do these points align with your goals? This question is your next step. While you may like the look of screen printing, DTG may be best suited to your goals.
Let’s say you want to launch a line of printed tees, shoes, pillows, blankets, and more accessories. Your marketing plan is poised and ready to go. Plus, your goal is to increase sales by 50% in the first quarter.
There are many factors at play. You need a quality product that satisfies customers quickly. They don’t have time to wait, and neither does your brand’s reputation.
Customer service is vital. If you want to quickly sell a wide variety of inventory, a direct to garment printer is more equipped to handle an influx of orders. DTG is ideal for online retailers that need print-on-demand services.
Now, let’s say you’re a textile artist and you sell your goods at local fairs. In this case, you may want to use a screen printer to create an authentic, artisan look for your products. This option is also ideal if you use a limited color palette in your art.
Let Your Products Shine
Are you ready to bring your big ideas to life?
Take your time to find the perfect printing option for your business dreams. Test out different services to create a range of product samples.
Remember the pros and cons of direct to garment printing services and screen printing while planning your project. Don’t forget to check out the blog for even more creative business ideas!