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Direct to Garment (DTG) – a brief history and introduction

DTG A Brief History

Whilst it wasn’t until 1996 that the ‘Revolution’ DTG printer was made commercially available it’s believed that the technology had first been in use by a French garment printing company Embleme as early as 1994 as part of government-funded project that ended in 1997. Developed by Matthew Rhome in the U.S while working for DIS the ‘Revolution’ printer was on the market until 1998.  Rhome left to begin development of the first Brother DTG printer the GT-541. It was available on the market from 2005 and brought about the introduction of white ink technology that enabled quality printing on dark garments. 

How Does it Work

Similar to a household printer Direct to garment printing uses inkjets to print onto textiles. The specialist aqueous inks are engineered to work best on natural fibres. Garments are pre-treated to ensure a flat surface for the ink to adhere to and to promote ink drying. The printers use interchangeable platens to hold the garment securely whilst the ink is deposited onto the apparel. As it’s a digital process the printer can produce much greater detail at a higher resolution this allows for even greater complexity of artwork, whether from vector or pixel graphics. Gradients and photographic detail for example are much easier to achieve in DTG printing when compared with more traditional methods.

When to DTG

As each garment takes several minutes to output the DTG process suits lower number batches of garments. It is highly suited to more complex and detailed artwork. The printer produces a faithful reproduction of photographic detail with few restrictions on colour when outputting from high resolution artwork. DTG printing needs no physical setup up so works out cheaper than screen printing. As screen printing artwork with more than one colour involves a screen setup per colour this means additional setup costs compared with none using the DTG printing method. 

In short DTG printing is a cost effective way of producing quality samples and limited runs of garments with accurate, vibrant reproduction of photography, illustration and colour graphics.  

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DTG MCR Video

As part of the launch of our new website we thought it would really help our users if we were to outline the DTG printing process with a short video. We also really wanted a chance to showcase our brand new state of the art Epson SC F2100 direct to garment printer which we think is pretty impressive. From the level of detail it produces through to it’s colour reproduction it really does produce fantastic results that we’ve tried to justice in the video. We’ve featured examples of artwork from clients that we’ve printed for in the past that we feel really demonstrates the level of graphic detail this DTG printer can accomplish. The multicoloured designs of the artwork featured would typically have been separated over multiple silk mesh screens. They would then be screen printed but with this technology the artwork can be printed straight to the garment without the same level of setup. 

Much like desktop printers found in the home the DTG printer uses inkjets to spray patented Ultrachrome DG ink directly onto the garment. The specialist ink has been developed to work best on garments that are at least 50% natural fibres. The inks have been awarded the Eco Passport certification from independent testers Oeko-Tex making them safe and sustainable. Another unique feature about the printer is that it uses a white ink that is used as an under base on dark garments to ensure the colour and detail is as brilliant as it is on lighter garments. 

This DTG printer can output a printed garment in a matter of minutes with little or no setup this makes it the perfect solution for creating samples, limited runs or even for those customers running a brand looking for low volume printing on an ad hoc basis. The DTG printer features interchangeable garment platens that allow it to adapt to your garment requirements from t-shirts, hooded jumpers to tote bags it’s got you covered. The printer will accept artwork in both pixel and vector form. Once you have submitted artwork it’s as easy as exporting it to the dedicated DTG printing software. Once printed the garment needs to be cured using a heat press to remove moisture. The garment is then colourfast and washable. It’s then ready to be shipped by our team.

We’d like to thank our all our existing customers and in particular, those featured in our video, The Mouse Outfit, New Analog & Moze

Music produced especially for this video by Shay Maguire – Email: shaymaguiremusic@gmail.com

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DTG Business – Studio & Team

Having been established in the creative arts hub Islington Mill Salford for nearly a decade as our sibling screen printing company one69a. We’ve screen printed for a wealth of different clients including Umbro, Nike, Manchester Art Gallery, Patagonia and Stan Chow to name a few. We have experimented with printing onto a whole host of different things from t-shirts to records sleeves to breeze blocks. After acknowledging a demand within our customer base for smaller runs of high quality printed garments, with an even better turnaround time and without the setup costs associated with screen printing, we decided to expand into DTG printing. 

Nestled in what was formerly the mill’s gig space, DTG Mcr studio sits alongside One69a to form a comprehensive garment printing solution. We’re your one-stop shop for online garment ordering delivered to your door. Looking for a small batch of printed garments for your event? Say no more. Looking to set up that streetwear brand you’ve been dreaming about? We’ll fulfil your orders without the need for you to hold any stock and ship to your customers for you. Fill out our online quotation form, we’ll aim to get a quote to you same day. 

Our Team

We’ve an experienced and passionate team at the helm. Directors Mark Jermyn and Nathan Hughes oversee the day to day operation of things in the studio and behind the scenes. 

Mark along with his business partner Sally Gilford established one69a decade ago. They were printing for a host of local businesses from their basement back then but now each of them caters for different markets within the printing industry with Sally an established educator and facilitator and Mark along with Nathan firmly established in the garment and fine art printing side of things. Four studio spaces later they’re firmly nestled in the former event space on the ground floor of Islington Mill. Mark a regular on the music and street art scene of Manchester has exhibited nationally and internationally through his alias Moderate Realism with major commissions for the Refuge and The Lowry, Salford Quays. Nathan joined in March 2016. A Salford University graduate with a real talent for all things design. Now a screen print virtuoso with a budding streetwear business Habits. You’re in safe hands. 

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Direct To Garment Printing

Our New Website

Hello – Welcome to the all new DTG MCR website. Here you should find all you need to know about the process of DTG printing, submitting artwork and placing your order. As established screen printers one69a in Manchester for over a decade we’ve worked with a wealth of clients based locally and nationally. We wanted to expand our business to cater for customers seeking limited runs of high quality printed garments with fast turnaround times and without the added cost of artwork setup involved in screen printing. 

We wanted to match the convenience and overall ease of DTG printing technology with a website experience for our customers that makes printed garments only a few clicks away. Submit your artwork via our uploader, choose a quantity, select your garments, approve our garment mockup then let us do the rest. Our team will process your order, package it and have it shipped straight to your door anywhere in the UK, Europe or the world.

We hope that this website explains, as plainly as possible all you need to know regarding the print process, preparing artwork for submission and choosing the right garments etc. Do be sure to visit our FAQ page. Also, check out the videos we’ve produced to give an overview of the process. We are also happy for you to make an appointment and come on down to the studio and have us take you through the process though. We have a wealth of experience and would be happy to advise via phone or email also. 

We will be updating this blog regularly to keep you up to date with all that happens here at DTG MCR as well as provide an invaluable resource for planning your latest project. From making the best garment choice to preparing artwork for submission we hope to have it covered.