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Pros and Cons of Digital Printing

Digital printing for custom apparel is an increasingly popular option. Precision and print quality are two words that come up often when talking about digital printing using equipment such as DTG (Direct-To-Garment) and DTF (Direct-To-Film).

DTG Printing (Direct-To-Garment)

DTG Printing involves printing designs and images directly onto clothing, similar to a printer that prints on paper, for example. This process is ideal for reproducing complex images with multiple colors, for making color gradients, for printing small details, for smaller quantities or for producing samples. We must thank the precision of these machines which allow printing of images in high resolution, that is to say in 1200 dpi by 1200 dpi.

Quality is excellent on cotton fabrics or on 50% cotton and 50% polyester fabrics. Since this type of printing leaves a light coating of ink on the surface of the fabrics, the result will not look good on 100% polyester fabrics since the sweater's migration will come out through the fabric. Therefore, printing using a DTG machine on polyester is not recommended.

This technology was released ten years ago, however developments in recent years lead us to believe that the future will be 100% digital. Several machines exist on the market, and prices vary between $5,000 and $1M. You can check with your printer and ask them what technology they are using for their DTG machine to ensure you get the best quality available.

In addition, some machines use a pretreatment liquid that allows the ink to adhere to the fabric. However, not all fabrics work well with this process. You might see marks on your t-shirts, especially white, gray, or yellow t-shirts.

DTF Printing (Direct-To-Film)

This technology is the latest in apparel printing. This printing process consists of printing with a digital printer directly onto a transparent plastic film, which will then be transferred to the garment. Adhesion is due to the glue which is affixed to the logo and then heated at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds directly on the fabric.

This process provides exceptional high resolution quality with an image quality of 1200 dpi by 1200 dpi. Where DTF differs from DTG is because DTF allows us to print on any type of fabric, such as nylon, cotton, polyester and even spandex for your sporting goods. The durability of the print is also incredible, due to its elasticity.

Just like DTG, it can have variation in Pantone colors with DTF since for most of these machines cyan, magenta, yellow and black are used. Red and green are therefore missing, which allow for more vibrant Pantone colors. If you are looking for a specific Pantone color, opt for screen printing or digital printing with a Kornit machine.

If you have technical questions about digital printing for your custom apparel, contact us at 1-855-530-0032 |