Direct to Garment Printing or DTG for short, is the process where by a digital inkjet printer prints your art file direct from a computer to your t-shirt garment without the use of any screens, films or setups. The ink is printed directly on top of the garment, using a light-weight water based ink which ‘stains’ the fabric with your image. The ink is a very light-weight ink and if you run your fingers across the t-shirt you would find the ink to be more of a soft touch, without really feeling much ink on the t-shirt, as opposed to a thicker screen printed style of ink.

Kornit DTG Prnt onto a white garment

Kornit DTG Print onto a white garment

This type of printing allows you to print a t-shirt within a matter of minutes, once all the artwork is setup ready for print. It also allows you to print a full spectrum of colours in a CMYK + White ability. So if your image has a photographic print containing lots of colours with this DTG technique you can easily print this image.

kornit inks

A Close-up of Kornit DTG ink bottles

Generally the inks found in a DTG printer have been specifically formulated to:
– Allow for washing of garments in a cold wash environment
– Excellent vibrant colour reproduction, without any “cracking of prints”
– Allow you to print onto Dark garments using a white base ink technique
– When printing onto a white garment, there is no need to lay down any
white ink, just the colour layer

In the Kornit Digital Printers the inks used are 100% non-hazardous, toxin free and adhere to high environmental standards.

Most DTG Printers also have the ability to print onto other fabrics such as Canvas Tote Bags, 80% Cotton Hoodies, Cotton Rich Fabric and White Polyester materials.

DTG Printed Custom Tote Canvas Bags

DTG Printed Custom Tote Canvas Bags

Differences between White and Dark Garments

white garment t-shirt print

DTG Print onto a White Garment

Results usually found between a white and a dark garment both printed with the same image would usually have a slight variation in colour. Generally white garments only need 1 coat of ink for printing. Where as a dark garment requires a base white coat + colour.

dtg print onto a dark garment

On some dark garments such as a black shirts, we usually apply two coats of white ink, so the colour image will result rich in colour.

Colour Matching with this Print Technique

A Kornit Colour Matching Chart

A Kornit Colour Matching Chart

It’s usually a little tricky to colour match certain colours with this process as we are mixing the inks together (CMYK) to produce the needed colour. As opposed to a PMS Spot colour (Pantone colour matching books) usually found in the screen printing process. However the Kornit DTG printers we use are generally very good at colour matching. We use a colour grid which is printed out on a t-shirt, which helps us to colour match certain colours when needed. Some colours such as bright Red or a Turquoise colour are usually more tricky to print with a DTG Process, usually requiring a minimum of two white coats to produce a great result.

Practical Applications

Life is a Beach Clothing Label: DTG print onto white garment

Life is a Beach Clothing Label: DTG print onto white garment

Some of the great applications for DTG printing include:

– Perfect for fashion clothing labels looking to print complex full colour t-shirt graphics and designs
– Digital t-shirt sampling/testing for big sized print runs
– Ability to turn around t-shirts printed fast
– Able to print a cost effective t-shirt as low as 1 (one off t-shirts)
– Perfect for music band t-shirts wanting to explore/offer unique t-shirts prints to fans
– Printing small business uniforms, promotional events or corporate clothing

There is no doubt the introduction of digital to garment printing has changed the way customers print t-shirts. The no setup costs, unlimited colours and its flexibility has made DTG printing a future player in printing.

If you have any questions or need any more information about DTG t-shirt printing, please contact us for assistance.