Digital printing a.k.a. DTG (Direct to Garment Printing) is a method of decorating t-shirts using an inkjet based, computer driven printing machine.
If you are planning to start a new t-shirt printing business, you may be asking if digital printing is the best way to start rather than a traditional screen printing shop?
Here are some facts about DTG printing you will want to consider before making an investment in the equipment.
WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
Most screen printers start off servicing their local community. The vast majority of these orders typically call for simple one or two color prints, where screen printing is definitely a more cost effective solution.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU HAVE TO START UP YOUR PRINTING BUSINESS?
The cash outlay to start a small t-shirt screen printing shop is significantly lower than the cost necessary to buy digital printing equipment. The demand for full color printing on apparel, where digital printing would be most applicable, is quite limited for the type of orders you will most likely get in your local community.
ARE YOU COMPUTER SAVVY?
Another consideration is the learning curve for going digital. You will find that for digital printing, the computer based technical skills required are not insignificant. By contrast, learning the basic essentials of screen printing is not difficult and your employees can be easily trained.
CONSIDER USING CONTRACT PRINTERS THAT HAVE DTG EQUIPMENT.
Digital printing certainly has it uses. If you are just starting out in the screen printing business wait until you see the type of orders you are receiving. It would be wise to take a cautious approach before making any large investment on digital equipment. We recommend that if and when you receive an order that requires full color printing, that you farm these orders out to contract printers who have digital printing equipment. By taking this type of approach, you will be able to determine if the demand justifies the cost of investing in digital printing equipment.
SCREEN PRINTING WILL CONTINUE TO DOMINANT THE LARGER MARKET.
Don't let anyone tell you that screen printing is going to become a thing of the past—they are wrong. Screen printing is a craft that will always be needed. It is a cost effective printing solution that produces the superior print results and has a well established industry for providing the equipment, supplies and knowledge base.
ASPA Staff and others