Custom T-Shirts: Digital direct to garment or screen printing?

Several years ago now, a then new technology called direct to garment printing was invented by adapting inkjet technology to t-shirt printing. When companies such as US Screen introduced the T-Jet product, many people in the screen printing world initially thought that the experience they had gained from years of printing may be invalidated by devices that could print full color images on dark colored custom t-shirts with a single click of the mouse. Well, for years that was simply not the case. The early printers were plagued by ink flow issues, clogging, slow production speeds, and washability concerns. High end screen printing had a stay of execution. These devices could not effectively compete with simulated process screen printing on dark garments. At Lowertown Printing, the question that arises now is, should we invest over $100,000 dollars on a larger automatic screen press that can handle the color counts of high simulated process, or do we invest that money in the now evolved technology of direct to garment printing? The division of duties is seeming to be that the venerable screen printing technology should be applied when print colors are limited, when the piece counts are over a specified minimum, and when color counts are not excessive. Short runs ( or even single t-shirts), and full color images should be printed with digital technology. The pay back on large screen presses is very slow when labor and supplies are factored in, unless the company produces very large runs of high color count t-shirts on a consistent basis. At Lowertown Printing Company, the vast majority of custom t-shirt orders are printed with only 1 or 2 colors per side. With advertising dollars reaching many customers that need relatively short quantity full color bulk orders, and people that need only 1 or 2 shirts, the payback period on digital equipment is much shorter.

Welcome to my blog on custom t-shirts

Welcome to this new blog on custom t-shirts. I started a screen printing company Custom T-Shirts 8 years ago, and while going to school for computer science, I wrote some pretty neat software to create custom t-shirts online. In this blog, I am hoping to publish some nice articles on things relating to making custom t-shirts. I plan on discussing the how to's of actually printing t-shirts as well as some of the neat technology I've developed.

Please visit again soon, and if you have any questions or article requests, just let me know.

Tim