Start Here October '20

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68 Direct-to-Substrate S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 0 Amazingly, we find that shirt 2 ulti- mately has the lower price point with these variables (cost of the shirt and cost of pretreatment applied). Surprisingly, the mid-priced shirt (shirt 1) that required the most amount of pretreat- ment and where the white print did not look nearly as good came in second. Shirt 3 came in with the highest price point—$1.13 more than shirt 2. Those are just hard numbers that do not take into account the physical feel of the shirts. Shirt 3 is a higher quality shirt, it is much softer, and would be consid- ered a premium shirt in relation to the other shirts. Plus, higher amounts of pretreat- ment will give the unwashed shirt a slightly harsher hand due to the addi- tional amount of pretreatment required to achieve a similar optical white in addi- tion to the actual raw cotton not feeling as soft as a premium shirt. All of these can affect the customer's perception of the quality of the printed shirt they are purchasing. IN CLOSING Even though we intuitively know that a higher priced shirt should print better, that may not always be the case. We saw that a lower priced shirt did per- form better than its mid-price point shirt. However, it is more than just price that affects the quality of the finished prints we get. There are many manufacturing factors that tie in and combine to give us a final quality print. The shirt you choose to print on should not solely be based upon how much it costs. The shirt will affect every other aspect of your printing process from how much pretreatment and ink are consumed to how the shirt fits, looks, and feels. It is a balancing act that only you can determine the final quality of the product you produce and what the end customer demands or expects in quality. How this choice impacts you, the quality that you want to give your cus- tomers and how that affects your bottom line is now up to you. Happy printing! At some point, as we progressed across the zones, we found the correct amount of pretreatment for each shirt. We looked for the difference between two zones where the whiteness will not increase. (Images courtesy Brian Walker) A look at each shirt at the 10-15 grams zones.

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