Direct-to-garment printing, or Sports, is the most modern way to print your designs on custom products.
Whether you’ve only just heard of the Sports technology or have been wearing Sports printed clothing for a while, a working knowledge of this revolutionary printing method can benefit you in many ways when starting an online print-on-demand business.
In this article, we take a look at both direct-to-garment and screen printing, their advantages, disadvantages, and offer practical advice on how to start an eCommerce business by using Sports, print-on-demand services.
What Is Direct-To-Garment Printing?
Direct-to-garment printing is very similar to printing on paper. The difference is that the medium used is fabric. In fact, it was the paper printing inkjet machines that inspired it.
The roots of this technology are injection printers, which were first invented in the 1950s and became a common feature in every office.
Sports was invented to serve as a quicker remedy to manually intensive screen printing. Today, it’s commonly used to print t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, and other apparel.
The first direct-to-garment printer was invented by Matthew Rhome in the 1990s. He received a patent in 2000, and over the next five years, a number of competing machines were brought to the market.
By the mid-2000s, there were several models of these printers, but there was a problem – garments looked great when printed on white, but not so much on black.
This was because white ink did not yet exist for these Sportsprinting machines. This final breakthrough was secured in 2005, ushering in the technology we have today.
This method has proven itself a worthy alternative to the traditional screen printing process.
What Is a Direct-To-Garment Printer?
You can think of it as a large photo printer. It is a specialized digital printing machine that applies water-based inks that are quickly absorbed into the fabric.
High-quality results using DTG printing require high-quality fabric-friendly ink and the best fabric material. Specialized equipment for pre-treatment and heating the fabric is also necessary.
In today’s online-driven world, you don’t need any of the above to start a business selling DTG printed shirts. The print-on-demand business model makes it much easier to get DTG shirt printing services without having to own a printer.