Direct to garment, or DTG, and screen printing are two of the most popular printing methods for branded apparel. These two printing processes are very different, and depending on your project, one will make more sense than the other. Choosing the right method comes down to a few key elements of your project– quantity, design detail, and the number of colors.
What is DTG Printing?
DTG stands for “direct to garment” printing. With DTG, a printer directly applies the ink to the clothing item with inkjet technology. This concept is similar to printing on paper, except that it’s on a t-shirt or sweatshirt. The desired design is printed directly onto the garment, hence direct to garment, with a special printer using water-based inks, which are absorbed by the fibers of the garment.
For small batches or one-offs, DTG is the option for you. Garment printers work like a regular printer and can only print one garment at a time. Since the process does not require the creation of a screen, a single garment is much cheaper this way.
Since DTG printing is more precise than screen printing, you can achieve designs or even photographs with much more detail. There are fewer limitations on color an design when using a DTG printer.
Since DTG printing does not use a stencil, the ink is applied in thinner quantities to achieve the high detail of many designs or photographs that are desired. A DTG printer works the same way as a regular printer in that it applies all the inks at one time. When printing on fabric colors other than white, a white underlayer is included to allow the colors to pop more.