There are various t-shirt printing methods available out there, but how to choose the best one that speaks to your design directions. Let's find out!
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Are you a person who owns an apparel brand? Or are you a graphic designer who has projects to produce t-shirt designs? If yes, then you should know the best t-shirt printing method that can make your apparel business stand out and be liked by the customers.
Graphic t-shirts are one of the most popular fashion items in this era. Starting from children, teenagers, to parents like to wear graphic t-shirts as one of their mainstay fashion items. This is because graphic t-shirts are usually very comfortable to use and also have a cool display design, and are suitable for all circles.
To create a graphic t-shirt, it's not only the design that must be considered. However, the printing method used is also one of the main things that will determine whether a graphic t-shirt will have an attractive appearance or not.
If you choose a high-quality t-shirt printing method, of course, the appearance of the graphic t-shirt you produce will be more striking and attractive when compared to using a low-quality printing method.
Today, the graphic t-shirt industry is a highly developed industry. Therefore, of course, competition in this industry is very tight. Every month, there will be tens or even hundreds of new brand apparel that appear around you.
Because of this very tight competition, it is very important for you to be able to produce a t-shirt with the best display quality and comfort in order to compete with your competitors.
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Things You Should Pay Attention to When Deciding a Printing Method for Your T-shirt
The graphic display of the t-shirt is indeed very important in the sales aspect for your apparel brand. When you create an apparel graphic t-shirt brand, of course, you will always try to create an attractive and cool graphic t-shirt design according to the demands of the community.
However, no matter how good the design you have made for your t-shirt, the design will not be realized properly on your t-shirt if you don't use the best t-shirt printing method to print the design.
The printing method you choose when you design your t-shirt will greatly affect the color, texture, and comfort of the t-shirt that you will produce. Nowadays, there are many printing methods available in the market.
So maybe you can be confused about choosing the best printing method to ensure the quality of the t-shirts you produce are of the best quality and compete with your competitors.
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Different printing methods will produce different t-shirt design outcomes. To be able to choose the best printing method, here are some things you should pay attention to first:
1. The Type and Purpose of Your T-shirt
There are many types of t-shirts circulating in the community. There are t-shirts that are made for community uniforms, there are t-shirts that are used for trendy apparel, there are t-shirts that are used for formal purposes, and there are many other types and purposes of t-shirts.
In designing and creating a t-shirt, you must first know what the t-shirt is made for. This must be done so that the design theme matches the purpose of the t-shirt. After you create an appropriate display design, then the finishing of your product must also be in accordance with the purpose of the t-shirt.
There is a printing method that will produce a graphic finishing and a striking design on the t-shirt, making it suitable for graphic t-shirts that do require a striking design.
Meanwhile, there is also a printing method that will produce a printed graphic that is more natural and blends with the t-shirt fabric, so this printing method is suitable for formal or natural t-shirts.
In addition, the printing method used will also greatly affect the durability of the t-shirt's appearance. There is a printing method that produces a printed t-shirt that is durable, making it suitable for making t-shirts that are used for active outdoor activities.
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2. The Finishing Appearance That You Want
One of the things that will be very influential if you choose the printing method is the finishing of the resulting product. Each printing method usually has its own distinctive result; there is a printing method that will produce a shining and glossy appearance. There is a printing method that produces a matte look and many others.
Therefore, you must first determine what kind of finishing you want to see on your t-shirt product. This finishing is usually adjusted to the type of appearance you want that matches the theme of the t-shirt.
Usually, if you want to make a graphic t-shirt that is trendy and also popular with teenagers, the best printing method that you can use is the printing method which produces a striking and glossy appearance so that the display will look cooler.
However, there are also graphic t-shirts that have a vintage design theme, so the best printing method recommended is one whose print finish blends with the fabric so you can get a vintage look.
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If you make a t-shirt design for a client, then you have to adjust the printing method used with your client's budget. Some printing methods may cost much more money than other printing methods. The price set is, of course, in accordance with the quality of the printing produced.
The best printing method, which is expensive, will certainly produce a finishing product that does not need to be questioned about its quality. Usually, this printing method is chosen for apparel brands that promise high quality to their customers.
The printing results will be printed neatly, the colors match the design, and are also durable so that the printing is not easily separated or damaged even though the t-shirt has been used many times.
Even if you want to save money, make sure the budget you set is not too low and is still within reasonable limits. A budget that is too low will force you to choose a printing method that will result in a disappointing product finish.
But don't worry, not all cheap printing methods will always produce poor or low-quality finishing products. There are also many inexpensive printing methods that still produce attractive finishing products.
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Different Types of Printing Method That You Can Choose
After discussing various important information about why you should choose the best printing method, and what things you should pay attention to when choosing, the following is a further discussion of the differences between each printing method.
If you are not an expert in t-shirt printing, maybe you only know 2 or 3 printing methods even though there are lots of printing methods that you can choose to make an attractive t-shirt.
Of course, the number of printing methods available also depends on the area where you live. Most printing services only provide the best printing method that is already well known and popular. There are several best printing methods that can only be found in a few regions or countries, depending on the technological developments of the area.
If you live in an area where technological development is still lacking or indeed lacks many facilities for the textile industry, then the choice of printing method that you can choose is also, of course, very limited.
The following are several best printing methods, along with a brief discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each of them:
1. Screen Printing
Screen printing is one of the most popular and best printing methods that is often used in various textile industries in the world. This is because screen printing is the first printing method in the world and is estimated to be more than 2000 years old.
Screen printing, or what is usually referred to as silk painting, is the method most often chosen because the results are high quality and durable.This t-shirt printing method is very simple and very easy to do. It only takes the printed template and also the ink that is printed on top of the template.
Because the ink is poured directly and flattened on the cloth, the resulting finish also has a striking and vibrant color that makes it attractive. This is one of the reasons why screen printing is still popular today, even though it is thousands of years old. However, one of the drawbacks of this printing method is that it takes a long time. We have to print one layer at a time from the image we want to print on the t-shirt.
Usually, this method is also done manually one by one and must wait until it is completely dry. This method is recommended for simple t-shirt designs and does not have many layers in the design.
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2. Direct To Garment or DTG
This best printing method is similar to the printing method on paper in general. Direct to Garment will use a special fabric printer machine to print designs on t-shirts.
Direct to Garment is suitable for printing complex and detailed t-shirt designs, so it is perfect for use by apparel brands or graphic designers who want to create striking t-shirt graphics. But unfortunately, this direct-to-garment method can only work well for fabrics or t-shirts made of cotton only. If this method is used on materials that are generally used as the base material for t-shirts, such as polyester, the results will not be optimal and of low quality.
Not only that, the price of this printer can usually be very high; it is more recommended for brand entrepreneurs who produce t-shirts in bulk. Printers for direct to garment can be a good investment for you, apparel brand entrepreneurs who prioritize detailed and complex t-shirt graphic design, so you need a textile printer to achieve the finishing product you want.
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3. Dye Sublimation
Another best printing method on the list is the dye sublimation method. You certainly often see graphic t-shirts with large designs and almost fill the entire surface of the t-shirt.
To print a t-shirt design like that, usually, people will use this dye sublimation method. Dye sublimation is a printing method that will produce a high-definition print finishing and also has a vibrant color. In order to print a t-shirt with a complex and large design, the printing result must be clear and have high definition so that the results are of high quality and in line with expectations. Therefore, dye sublimation was chosen for t-shirts with this type of design.
But unfortunately, if you choose the dye sublimation method, then you have to prepare a large enough budget considering the price is quite expensive. The price is in accordance with the quality of the finishing produced.
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4. Heat Transfer Printing Method
Basically, this heat transfer method is a method similar to dye sublimation. But usually, this heat transfer is used as an alternative for apparel brands or graphic designers who want to create a graphic t-shirt with an attractive design but with a fairly limited budget.
This heat transfer method is cheaper than dye sublimation. But of course, the resulting print quality will also be much lower than the rather pricey dye sublimation method.
In addition, this method is also not suitable for use on t-shirts made from heat-sensitive materials. As the name implies, this heat transfer will use very high temperatures to print graphics on the t-shirt. If the t-shirt material is heat-sensitive, then the t-shirt can be damaged.
There are 3 popular types of heat transfer printing methods that you should know:
4.1. CAD Cut Vinyl
This best printing method is quite different when compared to other t-shirt printing methods. In CAD Cut Vinyl, the printing process does not require ink to print a design on a t-shirt.
Basically, this method uses vinyl that has been cut according to the desired design, and then the vinyl will be pressed at a high temperature on the surface of the t-shirt.
This printing method is one of the fastest methods you can choose. CAD cut vinyl is often used by apparel brands or factories that produce t-shirts massively and quickly.
This method is also suitable for any type of t-shirt material, even at high temperatures. Printed designs can be seen on all types of fabrics. However, unfortunately, the finished product is of lower quality when compared to the other printing methods previously mentioned. The resulting print will be stiff and also uncomfortable to use, especially if it is large enough.
In addition, the available colors are also very limited, considering that vinyl colors are also limited and cannot be printed in every color.
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4.2. Plastisol Heat Transfer
This method is method that is very similar to screen printing. However, if the screen printing design is printed directly on the surface of the t-shirt, in this plastisol transfer method, the design will be printed first on the new plastisol on the surface of the t-shirt.
When you use this method, you have to print the design on plastisol first to the company that provides plastisol printing services. When the plastisol has been printed, the new design can be printed onto the surface of the t-shirt using a high-temperature press.
The plastisol transfer method is quite effective and fast, so it is widely chosen by apparel brand entrepreneurs as their mainstay printing method. In addition, this method is certainly more practical and does not cause much mess when compared to screen printing which prints using direct ink.
If you use this method, then you should really pay attention that the steps you take are correct and appropriate. Errors in the transfer process will cause low-quality results, and also, the print is easy to peel and crack when the t-shirt is used.
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4.3. Heat Transfer Vinyl
Heat transfer vinyl is another printing method that is included in the list of printing methods that require a heat press. In this method, the t-shirt design must first be printed on a special fabric that is used to transfer the design to the t-shirt surface.
Designs are usually printed on special cloth using a special printer. If the design has been printed, then the fabric must then be cut according to its shape with a laser machine or other automatic cutting machine.
After that, only this special cloth can be pressed at a high temperature to transfer the design to the surface of the t-shirt. Heat transfer vinyl will produce a durable and high-quality print finish. But unfortunately, this method is not suitable for use on mass-produced t-shirts because the process is quite complex. Also, make sure the t-shirt you want to print with this method is not made of heat-sensitive material that can be damaged.
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When choosing a printing method to print your design on a t-shirt, you must choose a printing method that suits your needs and desires. The various print methods available will produce different prints depending on the quality and method of printing.
Make sure the printing method you choose is in accordance with the budget, quality, and appearance of the finishing product you want. If you are confused about which printing method to choose, it is recommended to choose screen printing which is the method most often chosen and also suitable for almost all needs.