Direct to Garment Printing

What is DTG?

 DTG is the acronym for the apparel printing technique called “direct to garment”.  DTG uses water based eco-friendly inks to print artwork directly from a computer to fabric using a digital printer.  Colored garments require a “Pretreat” which is a clear liquid that allows white ink to adhere to the garment.  The colors in the design are then printed on top of the white base. 

Designs going on white garments do not require pretreat or white ink, reducing cost when compared to colored garments.  Artwork is sent to the digital printer through a software called a “RIP”.  The software allows control over printing variables that effect quality and density of the print.

Color Expectations: 

DTG printing has no limit for the number of colors used on a garment so it's a great option for designs with lots of colors. It's important to note this process uses the RGB color palette so printing exact PMS colors is not achievable as it is with screen printing.

Although DTG can produce bright vibrant colors, screen printing allows for layering of inks which can produce a thicker more opaque print than DTG.

Detailed full color and photo realistic images are a great match for DTG printing.  These can also be achieved with screen printing but will require many more color separations and screens ultimately driving up the cost of production. 

Fabric Selection:

The fabric chosen to decorate with DTG is a major factor in how well the print comes out.  100% Combed & Ring-Spun Cotton is the best option for this process due to it's tightly woven nature that provides a flat, smooth surface.  Cotton also allows the ink to soak into the fabric more easily. 

Below is a list of fabrics rating A+ through C as to how well they print with DTG:
A+ 100% Combed & Ring-Spun Cotton
A  100% Ring-Spun Cotton
A- 100% Carded Open End Cotton
B+  Tri-Blend which is Cotton, Polyester and Rayon
B  CVC 60% Cotton/ 40% Polyester
C  50% Polyester/ 50% Cotton – Don’t use
C  100% Polyester – Don’t use

Polyester and blends with a high level of polyester do not print well with DTG.  Due to the high demand of DTG printing many manufacturers have started making DTG friendly garments which previously would not print well due to the polyester content of the fabric.  Examples of these garments are hoodies and sweatshirts.

So, When to Choose DTG?

Based on the above-mentioned differences between DTG and screen printing the following list of situations should help guide you to the appropriate printing technique.

DTGScreen Printing
Small Runs of Shirts (Less than 50) with Multiple Imprint ColorsSmall Runs of Shirts (Less than 50) with 1 Color Imprint
Medium Runs of Shirts (50 to 144) with a Full Color ImprintLarge Runs of Shirts (More than 144) 
 Printing on Garments Made of 50% or More Polyester
 Designs Requiring an Exact Pantone Color Match


Art Files

The better the art, the better the print.  A PNG or TIFF on a transparent background is the preferred art file.  Ideally at 300 DPI close to the size the design will be printed.  Vector art can be provided, and we will convert it to a PNG.  A high-resolution JPEG can be used in some cases but may result in more time required to remove the artwork background.




Vibrant full color T-shirts with low minimums and no set up fees!