Direct to garment printing, also known as DTG printing, digital direct to garment printing, digital apparel printing, and inkjet to garment printing, is a process of printing on textiles and garments using specialized or modified inkjet technology. The two key requirements of a DTG printer are a transport mechanism for the garment and specialty inks (inkjet textile inks) that are applied to the textile directly and are absorbed by the fibers.
Some digital printers have been built using lower-resolution industrial inkjet print heads like those found in large-format printers used to print signs and banners. Some inkjet technology manufacturers offer products designed for direct textile printing, providing heads, printers ,and inks. The resolution and speed of direct-to-garment inkjet printers have been increased greatly over the last 8 years.
Direct to garment (DTG) printing is most commonly implemented on garments that are made of 100% cotton. Digital printing on dark garments requires a pretreatment or underbase on the fabric in order to achieve opacity on dark garments.
The majority of DTG printers are driven from a computer by the use of software known as a RIP (Raster Image Processor). The RIP software allows the printer to print with larger volumes of ink, generate white ink underbases for dark shirts and also provides for more precision color management through color profiles.
DTG was seen as a viable solution for low-quantity orders previously not possible because of the expensive setup process of screen printing. This opened a new market for the consumer who only needs a quantity of one or small runs of 12 or less, for example.
These large fulfillment centers dominated the market until 2007 when ‘design your own’ online designer solutions entered the market and allowed smaller fulfillment centers to afford similar technology for their own websites.
Give us a call for your digital printing needs or any screen printing or embroidery needs if you’re in the St. Louis metropolitan area. We would love to hear from you.