There have been major developments in the digital t-shirt and accessory printing industry over the past decade. There are two basic types of digital printing: heat transfers and direct printing. Heat transfer is a process in which the image is printed on to a material which is then heat-bonded to the garment. There are various brands of paper and also numerous types of inks but the basic method is almost the same. The process is quite similar to taking an image print out from a computer and then transferring it on a fabric. The only difference is that uses a paper that helps in bonding the print onto the t-shirt through a process of heat activation.
While in direct printing, the ink is printed straight onto the t-shirt. It’s as if you personalized a normal printer to accept a t-shirt in place of paper. These printers are very expensive and are mostly found at professional print shops. Some advantages of digital printing or direct to garment printing as it is also known over screen printing are color and detail. It is possible to create livelier, colorful, and detailed prints than in case of screen printed products. Thus the vigor of digital printing lies in its flexibility, order size variability, ease of access, and speed.
Digital printing is one of the most flexible printing methods where color, option and detail are concerned. You can print off as little or as many prints as you want. For instance if one needs just a single t-shirt of a kind one has the option of printing out a heat transfer or alternatively to order a single shirt without incurring on the costly set up fees that come along with screen printing. If there is something one doesn’t like in the final product one can easily turn back to the digital file and make amends before getting any more prints. It also gives the freedom of changing the number of t-shirts to be printed out depending on the acceptability of the final product.
In present times most people easily have access to a computer. Thus most of them already have the basic equipment needed to design and manufacture t-shirts in a digital process. This makes the initial cost very low. The entire process from design to finished product takes less than an hour if one is clear about what is required and has all the materials available at home.
Some of the drawbacks of digital printing are that heat transfers which is a basic part of the digital printing process tend to give the fabric a plastic feel when they are first printed but later improve with wear and washing. But with new technologies and improved paper and transfer processes, however, this is becoming more acceptable. Moreover as digital printing is based on computers, its format often has to be restricted so as to follow the dimensions of computer equipment. Digital printing methods show signs of weariness faster than screen printed t-shirts. www.tshirtprinting.org provides more information about digital printing.