What Is Direct to Garment?

What Is Direct to Garment?

Everywhere you look, people are wearing t-shirts, sweatshirts and other garments decorated with graphics. The garments are all decorated using embroidery, screen printing (also known as silk screening), direct to garment printing (also known as DTG or digital apparel printing), dye sublimation or heat transfers. Together with media applications such as rhinestones, these businesses create the garment decoration industry, which is estimated to be worth $6.9 billion in the US alone.



Direct to garment printing is the newest of these technologies. AnaJet was founded in 2006 and was one of the first companies in the world to mass-produce digital garment printers.

 

Direct to garment developed to fill in the gaps left by the other garment decoration methods. For example, embroidery doesn’t allow for photographic detail. Screen printing multiple colors is extremely expensive and requires high minimum order quantities due to the high set-up costs of each image. Heat transfers deliver a thick, rubbery feel to the graphic. Dye sublimation is appropriate only for 100% synthetic fabrics.

 

With direct to garment printing, each image prints digitally (similar to a paper printer), so there is no screen making, no messy clean up, and no color or minimum quantity limitations.


Additionally, digital apparel printing meets consumer expectations of being able to personalize products and receive them quickly.

How It Works

The process of printing on garments with digital apparel printers is extraordinarily easy, and with AnaJet it can take less than a minute to print.

 

Design a graphic in Spark or your graphic design program, or receive a custom graphic from a customer. For example, if you are using an mPower, drag and drop the graphic into AnaRIP, AnaJet’s proprietary RIP software. AnaRIP allows you to control ink settings, image placement, and other print options for your graphic. Once the graphic is ripped and your ideal settings are selected, you click “print” within the program, and the graphic is sent to your AnaJet printer.

 

Next, load your garment onto your AnaJet printer, preview your image on the console, and push “Print” on the printer.


 

The printer will print the graphic directly on the garment – printing a single pass of CMYK ink for a light colored garment, or two passes for a dark colored garment – first a white ink “underbase” and then the CMYK ink.

 

Dark colored garments also require pretreatment before printing so that the white ink underbase adheres to the garment, allowing the colors to stand out instead of being lost in the dark color of the garment.

 

Once the graphic finishes printing, remove the garment from the printer and place it on your heat press for 60 to 90 seconds to heat-cure the ink to the shirt. Tunnel dryers also work, used according to the manufacturer’s directions.

 

Digital Garment Printing Quality

Digitally printed graphics feel much softer on garments than any other method. When properly cured and cared for, the impression will last as long as the life of the shirt because the ink permanently adheres to the fabric.

 

AnaJet direct to garment printers are known for their vibrant print quality, and because you can print millions of colors in one pass, your graphics can be incredibly intricate and detailed. Gradients, text and photographs are all possibilities at your fingertips with digital garment printing.

 

Learn more about direct to garment printers: