What Is Direct-to-Garment Printing and What Are Its Benefits?

People value product uniqueness, fast turnarounds, and high quality in today’s world. And it shows: direct-to-garment printing is a fast-growing industry that will be worth over $1.8 billion by 2032!

“Direct-to-garment” (DTG) printing has emerged as a revolutionary technology that takes personalised clothing to the next level. Is direct-to-garment printing right for your business? If so, you’re in luck.

We’ve written a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about DTG printing. Read on to learn more!

What Is Direct-to-Garment Printing?

Direct-to-garment printing is a method of printing full-colour designs onto clothes using special inkjet printers. This process creates high-quality prints with great details and vibrant colours. This makes it a great choice for t-shirt printing, hoodies, and other clothing items.

DTG printing involves advanced technology that involves spraying ink onto fabric. This is like how a regular inkjet printer works on paper. Instead of paper, DTG printers print on fabric, including cotton, polyester blends, and other fabric materials.

What Is the Cost of DTG Printing Compared to Traditional Printing Methods?

The cost of DTG printing depends on a few factors. This includes the design complexity, the number of colours used, the design size, and the fabric type. Direct-to-garment printing machines are far more expensive than a screen-printing setup. This makes them unaffordable for many smaller businesses to own.

However, custom shirt printers such as Shirtworks specialise in DTG printing and can do it for you. This keeps costs equal to or lower than traditional screen printing. It is important to consider the specific requirements of your project and its costs.

DTG printing offers several advantages over screen printing for customised t-shirts. This includes high-definition prints, detailed designs, many colours, and the ability to print on demand. This makes it a popular choice for customised t-shirts and apparel printing.

DTG printing also offers advantages for your customers. You don’t have to order a minimum or keep a lot of products on hand. This allows you to keep costs down.

Customers can also get a wider choice of colours and designs. Your business can also benefit, as you won’t have unsold merchandise lying around!

How DTG Printing Works

Wondering how direct-to-garment printing works? We’ve broken down the steps for you!

1. Preparation of the Design

Every DTG print starts with a great design. Direct-to-garment printing can use almost any design, including graphics, photographs, and illustrations. Make sure the design is high-resolution and has the required colour depth for the best results.

Ideally, you want a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch). Most DTG printers prefer to work with CMYK colour. When creating your design, use CMYK colour profiles for the best results.

2. Pre-treatment of the Garment

Before printing, the garment needs to be prepared to receive the ink. A pre-treatment solution is applied to the fabric. This helps the ink bond better with the fibres and prevents it from running. This step is important for getting sharp, vibrant prints that last through many laundry cycles.

3. Printing Process

Once the garment is pre-treated and ready, it is loaded into the DTG printer. The printer’s print head moves back and forth over the fabric, releasing tiny ink droplets onto the surface. The printer uses CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/Black) ink, which reproduces a wide range of colours accurately.

4. Curing the Ink

After printing, the garment goes through a curing process to ensure the ink bonds to the fabric. A heat press or textile dryer cures the ink. This keeps the ink from washing or wearing off quickly.

5. Quality Control

Once the curing process ends, the printed garment undergoes a quality control check to look for issues and mistakes. This step ensures that only high-quality custom garments reach the customers.

The Benefits of Direct-to-Garment Printing

Direct-to-garment printing offers many advantages over screen printing or heat transfer. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the benefits of direct-to-garment t-shirt printing:

High-Quality Prints

DTG printing allows for photo-realistic prints on customized t-shirts with a high level of detail. This means you can print intricate designs, gradients, and unlimited colours without extra setup or costs. This may not be the case with other printing methods.

Traditional screen printing is limited in the detail that can be printed without the expensive of very expensive separations and large number of screens that need to be used. Screens are basically stencils made of cross threads which were originally made of silk, but now man made fibre, hence teh term silk screen printing, the threeads get in the way of the ink so limiting detail.

Every colour in a screen print needs its own separate screen, as well. This makes extra colours more expensive.

Direct to Film transfers can offer great result but are a less flexiable method and can be more expensive to produce as they are a 2 step process.


Garment printing works great for cotton, polyester blends, and even performance fabrics. This makes it the perfect choice for apparel printing, from t-shirts and hoodies to tote bags and hats.

Additionally, because of the minimal setup involved, you can use the same design for many items. Need a smaller design for children’s shirts? Resize your design!

There’s no need for separate screens for each item you wish to use your design on. DTG printing is a much more agile choice for a business that wants to build a brand image.

No Minimum Order Quantity

Older t-shirt printing methods may require a minimum order quantity. DTG printing allows for small-batch printing. This is great for small businesses looking to create customized garments without ordering in bulk. This can save business owners a lot of money and storage space.

Quick Turnaround Time

DTG printing offers a much faster turnaround time compared to other printing methods. Since DTG printing doesn’t use screens or stencils, the custom shirt printing process is minimal. Printing can begin almost immediately after the printer gets the design.


DTG printing is considered more eco-friendly than traditional printing methods. It uses water-based inks instead of the petroleum-based inks traditional screen-printing uses. These are free from harmful chemicals and have a lower environmental impact.

Since DTG printing gets rid of the need for screen setups, it can be more cost-effective for small to medium-sized printing runs.

What Are the Applications for Direct-to-Garment Printing?

DTG printing offers a range of benefits that make it an attractive choice for businesses of any size. Here are just a few of the great applications for direct-to-garment printing:

Small Businesses and Startups

DTG printing is great for small businesses and startups that need garment printing in smaller numbers. Unlike with traditional printing methods, there is no minimum order requirement with DTG printing. This flexibility lets businesses make custom t-shirts, hoodies, and other clothes without the need for lots of cash.

E-Commerce Entrepreneurs

With the rise of e-commerce, many entrepreneurs are launching online stores selling custom clothes. DTG printing lets these entrepreneurs fill orders on demand.

This gets rid of the need for inventory storage and minimizes the risk of overstocking or running out of specific designs. This print-on-demand ability allows for more efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the e-commerce world.

Branding and Promotional Campaigns

Businesses that want to create brand awareness or run promotional campaigns benefit from DTG printing. Customized apparel with the company logo, tagline, or specific campaign artwork is quick and easy.

This helps make a consistent brand image and increases brand visibility. Employee uniforms, giveaway items, or merchandise for events are great examples of DTG printing ideas.

Creative Industries and Artists

Direct-to-garment printing opens up a world of possibilities for artists, designers, and creative professionals. It allows them to show their artwork, illustrations, and designs on apparel with great colour reproduction and fine detail. Whether it’s making limited-edition artist merch or offering personalized products, DTG printing provides a platform for creative expression.

Fashion and Streetwear Brands

T-shirt printing is great for fashion and streetwear brands. These brands need high-quality, custom-designed apparel.

It allows designers to experiment with unique patterns, gradients, and fine details. They can translate their creative visions onto clothing.

With DTG printing, fashion brands can offer limited runs, seasonal collections, or even made-to-order garments. This creates exclusivity for their customers.

Fast Turnaround Times and Prototyping

DTG printing offers quick turnaround times, making it an ideal choice for businesses that require fast production.

It allows for rapid prototyping. This lets businesses test t-shirt printing designs and get feedback before making larger production runs.

This speed and flexibility help businesses adapt to changing trends and market demands.

Direct-to-Garment Printing: The Future of Apparel

Direct-to-garment printing has revolutionized the world of apparel printing. It offers businesses of all sizes a convenient, high-quality solution for personalized garments.

Whether you’re looking for a quick prototype or launching a new branding campaign, direct-to-garment printing can take your custom shirt printing to the next level.

Are you ready to make the switch to direct-to-garment printing? Looking for experienced custom shirt printers? Shirtworks can help!

Contact us today at 0800 072 5334, or get a quote from our website. We look forward to working with you!

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