Guides & Explainers

What is DTG printing

Learn more about the classic direct-to-garment printing technique!
February 11, 2022
Table of contents:

Are you a print business owner who works with a supplier, looking for information about the technical side of things? Or, perhaps, simply curious about how the printing industry works? We can help with that! In this article, let’s look deeper into the world of printing, to be more specific - into the direct to garment (DTG) printing technology. What is DTG printing? How can it benefit your business? And does it have to be a part of your business? 

DTG in a few words

DTG, as already mentioned, is a textile printing method, and to better understand how it works, we will compare it to other quite common printing methods - screen printing and direct to film printing (DTF). But first, let's talk more about DTG printing.

DTG is just like printing on paper, like the thing you do at home, but with textiles. The ink is sprayed on the clothing using ink jet technology. The whole process is quite fast, and there is also a pre-treatment process for the clothing, which is very important in order to achieve the best, long-lasting result.

Note that with DTG printing the ink can soak in most effectively in cotton textile. Which means that your designs will be printed on a skin and nature-friendly material. Cotton is known for its moisture resistance, as well as being a suitable material for allergic people. People care what they put on their bodies and how it is made, so 100% cotton or cotton blend apparel would be a great product to offer right now!

A typical DTG printer

Why DTG is good 

DTG printing has many benefits, especially when compared to its’ common alternatives, the screen printing and DTF. Here’s a quick rundown:

Now, a little more in-depth:

  • DTG method can be used no matter the amount of products you need to fulfill. Why does it matter? Well, because for screen printing, you need to have an order minimum of at least 20 products for the process to pay off. Screen printing involves a lot of preparation and it is basically a manual process, handled by a person. All colors have to be applied manually layer by layer. The set-up costs for screen printing won’t pay off if you choose to create only one shirt. 
  • In DTG, the inks are automatically mixed and sprayed on the clothing. Little has to be done manually and you don’t have to purchase all the colors that you want, like you would have to do for screen printing. 
  • DTF printing, as well as screen printing, needs some special equipment in addition to the printer itself, so you have to think of some really cool designs that will definitely pay off these expenses! If you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with adhesive powders, heat stations and all the other necessary stuff that goes into these printing methods, it is better to choose DTG printing. Also, DTG printing method is quite fast - a product with your design gets made in a matter of just a few minutes, just like any other thing that you print at home. Just press the right buttons and the product is ready! With DTF printing, this might take up more of your time, but with screen printing it definitely will.

This method sounds great, right? Then why do people even look at other printing methods? Why doesn't everybody choose DTG printing?

Why some people prefer screen printing or DTF over DTG printing

The first thing you should know before opting for DTG printing is the slight difference of colors, meaning, that the colors you see on your computer screen, the colors you wish to be on your design, might slightly differ on the physical product. That is due to the fact that the printer uses CMYK colour model and mixes the inks itself, thus, the color tones might not be the ones you had intended. Whereas, with screen printing you can get the desired result - you pick and choose the colors manually. And if the result is not the one you wanted, well, that’s on you.

Speaking of inks, DTF printing method uses a lot less ink than DTG, since the latter needs a lot of whites. So the ink expenses will be somewhat higher for DTG printing than for DTF.

Another thing you have to take in mind as to why screen printing might be better for your designs than DTG printing, is that screen printing allows more creativity. You can apply glitters to your colors, layers of metallic colors, basically anything you can possibly think of! But for DTG printing, shiny colors with glitters are not an option, really. 

Screen printing allows for a variety of effects

Also, you have to take in mind that the DTG printing method involves a machine, which means that everything has to be calculated and measured, so you can’t do anything spontaneous like you can with screen printing or place the design on any place of the garment you want like you can with DTF printing. 

Lastly, since we mentioned that DTG printing works best on cotton material, for DTF and screen printing, apparel materials are less of an issue. 

To sum it up

Overall, DTG printing is great if you wish to print complicated designs with many colors, and if you don’t need to make a bunch of identical shirts at once, like you would have to with screen printing. Screen printing works best for large, simple, designs that don't have that many colours or small details. DTF is similar to DTG but with some extra steps and a little more cost-effective (excluding the equipment costs). DTG printing allows fast production of even the most complicated designs, but screen printing - a creative touch to your designs.

DTG is the most common and accessible textile printing method

Jump into the DTG adventure with Printseekers

It is true that DTG printers (any printers, in fact) are quite expensive, but don’t worry, there is an option for you to print on your designs on textiles using DTG printing without even owning the necessary machinery. By partnering up with Printseekers, you open the doors to quality, modern technologies, and personal approach to your business needs. We offer a print on demand service where your products are made when you receive an order, and shipped to the customer as soon as they are produced! And with the DTG printing method, the whole production process will be done in virtually no time!

Hoodies, T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, that's our thing. Also, if you are already doing business and not sure whether to become a partner or not, we can send you a free sample to change your mind! Once you get to touch the product, feel the material, and take a close look at the saturated colours we use, it will be easier to judge our service! 

Beginner or expert, you can contact us to learn more. Good luck in your printing adventure!

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On the 22 July, 2022 Printseekers signed an agreement with Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA), agreement No. SKV-L-2022/320. The project “Printseekers International Competitiveness Promotion” is co-financed by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).