DTG is an acronym that stands for direct to garment. Direct to garment printing is a digital process that allows us to digitally print directly onto a t-shirt. With DTG Printing, all you need is a printer and a higher resolution file and you can print 1 shirt just as easily as 50 t-shirts.
It is also of note that Giant Robo Printing is the only print shop in Berks County to offer DTG Printing services, so we aim to provide a local yet professional experience that acts as the “one stop shop” for printing services. At Giant Robo Printing, we consider ourselves a full-service shop in part due to our ability to utilize DTG printing. With DTG printing, there is no limit to the number of colors you can print and we are able to print low (or no) minimum orders.
Vector graphics are preferred, but we can work around the quality of your design and alter it to fit the order. The reason vector graphics are commonly used for printing is because vector graphics can be infinitely resized without losing any sharpness or color quality, which is great for projects that need high quality images. DTG printing is a digital process so all we need is a good high resolution art file that we can send to the printer and boom, we can print the shirt. Common file types for vector graphics include .ai (illustrator), .eps (encapsulated postscript), and .svg (scalable vector graphics). A high resolution PNG (portable network graphics) with a transparent background is preferred, and we can always work around the art for a fee.
If the design is intricate and/or utilizes multiple colors, it is best to go with Direct To Garment printing. With DTG, there are no color restrictions. It’s just as easy to do a one-color print as it is to print 50 colors on a shirt so we will often choose this method with orders that are complicated. For these reasons, a photograph should be printed on a shirt with DTG as well. If your order is a small quantity of garments or a “one off”, DTG printing is the way to go.
Direct to garment printing (DTG) is a process of printing on textiles using specialized aqueous ink jet technology. DTG printers typically have a small letterpress printing plate designed to hold the garment in a fixed position, and the printer inks are jetted or sprayed onto the textile by the print head. They are essentially large inkjet printers with very large print heads. A shirt gets loaded onto the printer, a design file gets sent to the printer, the printer feeds the t-shirt in and the printer prints directly onto the shirt. After the shirt is printed, the shirt needs to be cured to evaporate the water and dry the ink.
The feel of a shirt depends on what printing service is used. Direct to garment printing will feel softer to the touch as DTG uses thinner, water-based ink in comparison to screen printing. Screen printing usually uses plastisol ink, which is an ink that produces a design with a thicker coating. Due to the type of inks used, DTG water-based prints have next to zero hand feel compared to a coating of plastisol ink. (For a more in-depth analysis on the difference between Direct to Garment vs Screen Printing, click here to view our blog post comparing the two.)
When it comes to shirts specifically, the material of the shirts we use are primarily made with pre-shrunk cotton or 100% ring spun cotton, while some products/ specific design colors are cotton/polyester blend. The reason cotton is used most of the time is due to ring spun cotton having a tight weave. As a result, ring-spun cotton t-shirts last longer and feel softer to the touch. They also provide the best results for printing directly on the garment because it has a more flat/smooth finish.
It is very important that DTG items are pretreated to preserve the quality and longevity of the design. Pre-treating an item is done with a special liquid coating and a heat press. Pretreating an item helps create stronger bonds between garment fibers and the ink. Pretreating a garment also flattens loose fibers to provide for a smoother surface and the fiber chemically reacts with the inks to promote drying and curing. Without proper pre-treatment, designs will appear faded, or worst of all, not stick to the garment!
Direct To Garment is best used for specialized orders, such as “one offs” or orders lower than 24 items. Designs that utilize dtg printing are preferably ones pertaining to complex and dense images and/or images with a vast palette of colors. DTG is not time or price effective for bulk orders like other printing alternatives, such as screen printing.
Direct to garment printing does not require a minimum, unlike screen printing. With DTG, the big advantage is there is very little setup that needs to be done which is why we don’t need to require a minimum. Have just 1 or 2 shirts you want printed for a special occasion? No problem, we can do that for you. You can either design it yourself using our web-based designer or you can contact us directly and we can help you mock it up.
Pricing ultimately comes down to the type of job for the garment, pretreatment and quantity ordered. For instance, a pocket square print will cost less than a full shirt print job. Our quotes are all-inclusive meaning we take all of that into consideration so the price you get from us is the price that you will pay. We want to win your business over and we will do our best to be completely transparent while offering competitive prices.
The preferred and traditional method, is to fill out our quote request form, where you let us know what you want and we can put together a proposal with a quote and mock-up. This method will save you time and headaches in the long run, as we can streamline the design and set up process.