Digital Printing: The Impact of Technology on Garment Printers

How Digital Printing Has Revolutionised Our Industry

Major advancements in technology impact every industry on the planet, and the garment printing industry is no exception to this. Fortunately, developments in printing technologies has positively benefited our trade and allowed us to provide even better results for clients on a grander scale. At the heart of these changes is the rise of the Digital Printing technique, and this article looks at what this means for the printing industry and the services that can now be provided as a result.

Traditional Garment Printing

Two of the more traditional printing techniques are Screen Printing and Vinyl Cut Printing. Screen Printing is the most popular method, and many of the printed garments that you will see people wearing in the street will have been created using this technique. Screen Printing involves creating a stencil and using it to apply different layers of ink, to the surface of the garment. Due to the time that it takes to set up a print run, Screen Printing is not usually appropriate for small orders, but is perfect for the mass production of detailed printed garments.

Vinyl Cut Printing is different in that a plotter cuts out letters or numbers and these are then applied to the garment using heat transfer. This technique is useful for sports teams who want individual names and numbers, but isn’t appropriate for larger scale orders.

The Rise of Digital Printing

So, how has technology provided a something new and exciting for garment printers and their clients? The game-changer has been the introduction of Digital Printing. This method is also called Direct to Garment Printing, and the technique utilises computer technology to process the design, and works in a similar way to your desktop printer at home – except it prints onto garments rather than onto A4 paper. The ink is adhered directly to the textile, and provides unrivaled detail in the design without the risk of distortion. The reduction of manual tasks and the increased role of computer technology in this technique improves time-efficiency, simplifies the process of transferring design onto garment, and means that we are able to be much more flexible with what is being printed and the volumes of output.

When using the Direct to Garment Digital Printing method, the quality of the garment is paramount to the quality of the final product and makes of shirts will give different results. Shirtworks was an early adapter of digital printing and we have built up a knowledge of what shirts we give you the best results for your design. If the material is tightly woven and 100% cotton, you are guaranteed the best possible finish.

A Changing Industry

Fashion has always been an ever-changing phenomenon, and this affects many different industries across the world. The speed at which one particular style fluctuates in and out of fashion has been further enhanced by online social media and the popularity of celebrity culture, fashion blogs, and websites. Influences spread immediately, transcending national boundaries and affecting every demographic. This means that designers and garment printers must adapt to become more flexible. Digital Printing allows for this flexibility, and its appropriateness for smaller orders makes digital printing a great technique for those who like to keep on their toes and remain adaptable in such a dynamic industry. Furthermore, if you are looking to design and sell printed T-shirts or any other garment, the possibility of investing in smaller orders by utilising digital methods facilitates a reduced risk, and provides the option to test the market and the popularity of your design before diving in head first.

Digital Printing v. Screen Printing

The rise of Digital printing definitely does not constitute the demise of traditional Screen Printing. Instead, it is yet another string to the bow of garment printers such as ourselves. There are benefits and drawbacks to each method, and at Shirtworks we will always expertly advise on the best option for you. Screen Printing originated in China, and has been around in some form since the 10th Century. It has a rich history, and this method still produces really great results, and is especially useful for large-scale orders.

However, the development of computer-aided design & manufacture, and the widespread incorporation of Digital Printing techniques has allowed for more opportunity to be adaptable to market trends. The quality of the more traditional Screen Printing is high, and with carefully created stencils, this technique can provide supreme detail in finished design. As an added bonus, by using digital methods you can also achieve a great finish, with exceptional flexibility of design and increased efficiency.


For more information about the printing services that we offer at Shirtworks, get in touch today by calling us on 0800 072 5334 or by contacting us online.

Also, take a look at our page on Choosing a Print Method.


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