Shirt printing has commonly been done through the use of print screens. A silk sheet bound to a wooden border that has the design and paint is ran over and produces the final result. It is however a tedious task and is only viable for large volumes of printing due to the rising cost of the silk screen.
Enter the age of Direct to Garment digital printing aka DTG. If you can imagine your desktop printer being able to print numerous pages in a couple of minutes, then just translate to a slightly bigger machine, and just spews out printed shirts upon printed shirts.
Why It’s So Much Better
There are serious perks for obtaining one of these machines. First would be no more silk screen. The design themselves are already sent to the machine digitally from a computer. Therefore you can have 5 shirts printed one after the other with varying designs and colors.
Another would be the turnaround time that is much lower than traditional silk screen printing. Since no screens have to be made and checked prior to mass printing, the duration saved during this time is more valuable than the costs of the shirt. Printing could commence immediately after the image to be printed has been received with proper instructions and sizes.
While DTG printing began to take hold of a market sometime after 2007, it has now made millions of dollars ever since. With the help of the internet, a customer is now able to order a custom printed shirt that is about the same price as a traditional silk screen printed counterpart. In some cases, they are even cheaper due to the automation and lack of human intervention except for the packaging and shipping phase.
With all the advancements in the digital age, we can expect shirts printed through this manner to cost less over time. Although these direct to garment printing machines themselves are quite pricey (They range from under $10,000 to more than $300,000) with the volume readily available and quick, accurate printing without creases, initial investment for these machines can quickly be recovered.