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DTG - Print Quality
How DTG print quality can vary

WHAT TYPE OF DTG COMPANY SUITS ME?


Who you order from can really effect the final print results. Here's a brief run down of the business models you typically find with DTG printing:


Single piece, high volume

Often offering 24 - 48 hour turnarounds, these companies are great if you need a one off shirt, fast & you don't really care about what it is & how the print looks. Their business model is cheap & fast, but the quality can suffer.


Print on demand

Larger companies that are mainly selling promo or branded items often work with printers that offer print on demand services. This usually involves you integrating your own store with their software, so when your store gets an order, they print & ship it for you, typically the same day. The downside of this is it is quite difficult to find a company that have great service, speed & quality. You need to be confident & trust that they won't send out sub par or defective items directly to your customer & that they will appropriately handle any issues that crop up.


Bulk, promo

Often offering cheap pricing, but with a high minimum order. Most of the time they will also offer print on demand, but not always. Perfect for cheap promotional items with a bunch of print colours, in a high quantity. You often sacrifice quality for a lower price. 


Bulk, fashion

This is where we like to be. While we do offer lower quantities & sampling, we factor in extra time for making up digital proofs which need approval before any printing goes ahead. We also test thoroughly to ensure we are happy with how the print looks before producing your order. Due to this, we are a little more expensive than the other models, & slower than the 24 - 48 hour options but the quality speaks for itself. 


VARIATION IN QUALITY


DTG is potentially more accessible than screen printing, after all its just "pressing print" right? Not exactly. As with screen printing there is a learning curve, so while it can be easy enough to get into, mastering the process is what can set you apart from other companies.

We ordered our Cthulhu sample from a few popular DTG websites as a bit of research & thought we would share the results, as this perfectly demonstrates the variation in quality. We won't name the companies, for obvious reasons. We'll refer to them as Company A, B & C.





COMPARING RESULTS


A: "Company A" did remove the black background from the image, but unfortunately the white underneath the colours was choked back too much, resulting in loss of detail in the shadows. This was one of the 24 - 48 hour websites where you upload your artwork to their website. Weirdly there was no option to set the print size, the artwork we sent was at print size size so assumed they'd just do it as close as possible to that, but I guess this is the largest print they do.


B / C: These results are very similar. The only difference I feel was the shirt for Company C was a better quality product (Stanley/Stella Rocker T-Shirt). Company B had some generic description like "Mens T-Shirt" so wasn't sure what would arrive, it was a Gildan Heavy T-Shirt. Unfortunately they both didn't remove the black background & just printed it as a huge square. The black ink was also printed on top of a white base leading to a thick & shiny finish. Company B did have a prompt to warn me that the black background would be printed when placing the order, which is great but often customers with photographic artwork won't have a version on a transparent background, so not having an option to remove it isn't ideal. Printing all this black did muddy the colours in the shadows so detail was lost. The brighter colours are also pretty oversaturated, especially the blue.


It's worth mentioning that we did order from another company too, who emailed us to let us know that the black background would be printed unless we provided art on a transparent background. We decided to cancel the order.


Now we aren't doing this JUST to brag, we are just showing that not all companies are the same & print results can vary wildly depending on where you go. You're best off going with a company whos values align with your own. If you need a couple of promo products, quickly then you're best off going with the 24 - 48 hour companies. If you are selling a decent amount & need fulfilment go with print on demand. If you have large promo orders & just need a good price go with a bulk promo printer. If you need a quality product then go with a printer that aligns with your expectations, like us!

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