Direct to Garment printing (or DTG printing) is quickly becoming a mainstream option for garment branding in New Zealand.
For complicated designs or small runs, where more industrial options become cost prohibitive, DTG is emerging as the hero for all New Zealand’s apparel printing needs!
But what is Direct To Garment printing and is it right for your branded apparel? One of our DTG experts, Nancy, talks us through everything you need to know about this printing practice.
What exactly is DTG Printing?
DTG is the most advanced garment printing technology that’s available to us right now.
First, the garments are “pre-treated” with a special printing solution, just like a coat of primer is painted onto a wall.
The printer itself works much like an office printer, laying down all the colours at once, line by line.
For most prints, we put down two layers of white first, before laying down the final colour.
At the time of writing, DTG printers can only print on cotton-based garments, which means the apparel needs to be more than 50% cotton.
As the pre-treat soaks into the cotton, different weaves and coatings can also affect the print. We have a few tried and tested garments we love to print on and will always recommend the best garment for your needs.
How long does DTG printing last?
Apparel printed with our Direct To Garment printers should last years if used and washed normally.
You should almost always wash garments in a cold wash and never put them in a hot dryer. This extends the life of your garments, as well as the print work.
What designs work best for DTG printing?
From simple graphics to full photographs, the DTG technology can produce designs previously thought as off limits by traditional printers.
That being said, the details one might put into a piece of artwork might get lost when put onto a garment.
The other thing to consider is the opacity of your design. While a distressed or “faded” design might look cool on the computer, if the printer doesn’t recognise enough solid colour, it won’t put down the layers of white needed to make the print pop.
From a general T-shirt design standpoint, flatter, bolder colourways will almost always look better on a human body than detailed, busy pictures.
What garments are good for DTG Printing?
If you’re looking for a basic T-shirt, the best for DTG is the Ice Tee range. With generous sizing, a huge choice of colours and mens, womens and kids cuts to choose from, the Ice Tee is the crowd favourite.
On hoodies, we get the best results with our EHP Hoodie – it’s a lovely soft hoodie with some awesome colour options.
For anything else, get in touch – the team will be happy to look into it for you.
What is the minimum number for one design?
This is where DTG printing becomes really popular – there are no minimums or set up fees.
While we can give discounts for large runs, pricing is based on the amount of ink your design uses. Therefore we need your design and size before we can give you an accurate price.
If you do have a large run, it might be more cost-effective to look at Screen Printing or Supacolour, depending on your requirements.
However, if you want fewer than 20 prints with a complex design, DTG might be the best way for you to brand your apparel in New Zealand.
What design file do I need for DTG Printing?
Like any kind of design and print work, the better quality your design file, the better the print will be.
While we recommend sending through the original vector file, we have had success with large, transparent background PNGs.
The colours are important – it is nearly always impossible for us to change colours in a PNG file, so if you want the print in white, be sure to send us the file in white.
And don’t forget the transparent background!
If your unsure, it pays to print your image file on paper as big as you can – that will give you a good indication of what your image will print like on our DTG printer.
We have a graphic designer who can redraw your files if needed (get in touch to ask about our graphic design fees).
How long does it take?
Due to most DTG jobs being small runs, we can usually fit an urgent job in within the week.
However, for a realistic timeframe, you can expect a standard DTG print run to take up to two weeks, depending on where in the print queue your order is.
For busy seasons – around the summer holidays, for example – it pays to plan ahead and get your apparel in the queue as soon as you can.
How do I order my DTG printing?
All Direct To Garment printing work needs to be organised with us via email. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with your design and requirements, and our team will be in touch!