What is digital printing on T-shirts?

Digital printing – or direct to garment printing – is a relatively new concept and works in the same way as an inkjet printer, its just we use T-shirts instead of paper. What sets digital printing apart from other printing processes we use for garments, is that it can produce much higher resolution prints, making it perfect for replicating detailed images onto your T-shirt or other articles of clothing. It also has no set-up cost, making it a great option for low quantities – the minimum order is just one!

We now have over six years of experience printing digitally, and have recently upgraded our machinery to the latest versions. This has enabled us to produce superb results for our customers.  However, it’s important to note that the quality of the T-shirt has a direct effect on the quality of the prints that can be achieved, and every T-shirt will print in a different way. At the moment 100% cotton T-shirts are a must, but things are moving as ink manufacturers develop new ink and we hope to be able to print onto 100% polyester very soon. T-shirts with a tighter weave will give you the best results, so we recommend staying away from the very cheapest end of our range. Cheaper digital machines are limited to printing onto white T-shirts and also limited in size of print, we don’t have such limitations and we print on all colours of shirts and can print up to a massive 610cm x 450cm.

One great advantage of digital printing is the softness of the print onto dark shirts, this can make a massive difference to the feel of the shirt if your design uses a large block of colour. In terms of after care, our ink manufactures recommend washing at 30-degrees centigrade, although we are very happy with our wash results at 40-degrees centigrade.

Digital printing works best when using artwork with tones, gradients and shading. For best results, artwork should be produced to 300dpi, but we are able to achieve satisfactory results with lower resolution and we can help with this if your artwork is not high enough resolution. We except most formats including jpg, png, psd, ai and pdf. Note that jpg files will have a background colour to the design, which is normally white. We will consult with you and remove this before printing.

As we mentioned above, with digital printing the print will vary depending on the brand and type of T-shirt we print on and we can advise you on this, depending on your design and budget.

Pros and cons of digital printing

Pros – High resolution, detailed prints, soft-to-touch prints; minimum order of one; lasts well.

Cons – Can be expensive, can only print onto 100% cotton garments; some variation between prints can occur.

When to use digital or screen printing?