So what is Digital Printing when we are talking about custom apparel?
The answer to this is very simple actually! It is referring to any printing method which uses a CMYK printer to print the image which is displayed on the apparel. This can involved two methods to be particular to get the printed image to the garment. The image is first printed to a film which is then adhered to the fabric of the garment using a high temperature heat press. The ink used in this type of digital printing is typically pigment-based ink which has a limited number of life cycles in the wash and eventually the ink is completely washed off the film that was adhered to the garment. This type of printing is typically for hobbyist and DIYer’s. The next type of digital printing is called Direct-To-Garment (DTG) printing in which the image is printed directly to the shirt and then dried using a conveyor dryer or high temperature heat press. These DTG printers use water based inks which is also used in screen printing which allows for a longer lasting print after many washes.
One of the main benefits of digital printing is the fact that the exact image you see on the computer screen, regardless of the number of colors in the image, can be printed to the garment. The other benefit of digital printing is that the process to print does not require much setup costs for the printer, therefore smaller orders are more feasible and less costly unlike that of screen printing. Unfortunately, Direct-To-Garment printing is not very common in the Maryland area due to the cost of the machines. However, Chesapeake Tees is proud to say we offer this as one of our main printing methods to keep costs lower for full color and small quantity orders!!