January '23

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6 0 G R A P H I C S P R O • J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M So how does a shop know which form of printing to use, and are some printing methods better than others? "Use the process that's best for the garment and design being printed, most time productive, and most profitable," Walker says. "People often don't think this way. ey become MAXIS (maxi- malists) based on a certain technology. You're in business to make money by providing the best product and service to your custom- ers. It shouldn't matter how it is done as long as the customer is happy, the product looks great and washes well, and they keep coming back to you to purchase more." Most shops will do a combination of these different printing techniques. It is up to the individual shop owner to decide what their target market is for shirts and to find the best printing method to meet their goal. Many in the industry thought screen printing would go away when direct-to-garment printing was introduced, Walker says, and others believe direct-to-film printing will replace direct-to-garment. "I take a more tempered approach. I believe that each new inno- vation in decorating expands the available options in our industry and thus the money-making/decorating pie gets bigger," he says. DTG allows shops to economically print one T-shirt or even 10 T-shirts in full color, whereas a screen printer would proba- bly pass on that job because it would be too time-intensive and cost-prohibitive to produce such small runs. Once a shop has determined which type of printing they want to produce, Davis recommends that shops sample differ- ent designs with a pre-production sample on different materials "to ensure the quality and performance of the garment and dec- orating material. is may include washing some samples after printing to check on durability, adherence and dye migration." DTG allows shops to economically print a single, one-off T-shirt (Image courtesy HanesBrands) A P P A R E L D E C O R A T I N G There is a learning curve with any process. Don't expect to have a 1,000-shirt order before you get your equipment and then just be able to print that job. (Image courtesy JERZEES)

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