Finding the right garments for you can sometimes only be half of the battle. Locating the best print shop for you to finish off your product can really be challenging.
The first thing you need to do is choose the appropriate printing method. Printing methods vary based on the way in which the logo or image is applied to the garment. Printing methods can be dictated by the design itself as not all graphics will be able to be applied in the same way.
So, let's start by acknowledging the major and most generic printing methods available. These are, screen printing, DTG (Direct to garment) and vinyl Heat application. Now while we acknowledge that their are many other ways to apply your logo or design to a garment, such as embroidery, we want to cover the ones you are going to come across the most.
Starting from the bottom of our list, we first want to talk about Vinyl Heat application. This is most probably the cheapest way to apply a design to a product however it can be very limiting. A plastic vinyl is first loaded into a vinyl plotter in order to cut the shapes of your design. A plotter however is only able to cut block shapes or text and cannot print images. Once your design had been plotted, the machine or an individual will pull away all the excess vinyl not needed on the garment. The final design, stuck to an application tape, is then placed in position. The clothing is then placed into a heat press, heat and pressure is applied for a select amount of time to infuse the plastic to the garment. The application tape is then removed to reveal the finished product.
Next up is Direct To Garment or DTG for short. DTG is a relativity simple method that can produce designs with complicated elements. DTG printing is best used for when you need to print graphics or imagery to a blank. Just like a normal paper printer the garment is loaded into a printer and then the machine gets to work. Now, their are some upsides and draw backs with DTG that we want to highlight. In order for you to get the best results, you need to find a print shop with the best printer. If some of the best equipment isnt used then you may find your prints fading after a few washes. Only the best machines produce the best results and this can be hard to research and find.
And then, last, but no means least... Screen Printing. Screen printing is a method in which layers of paint are applied to the garment in order to produce the final image. Firstly your image will be split into layers of colour in order for the printer to know what colours need to be laid onto the blank first. a negative of the image is then burned on a screen/canvas. These are then mounted to a printing press where the screen printer or automated screen printing machine will lay the canvas onto the garment and lay down the relevant colour. Once all paint colours have been applied then your final image will be complete. This, by far, is one of the most reliable and current methods of printing on garments in order to produce the best and longest lasting results.
Now why does all of this matter in relation to finding the best printer? Well, it's important to understand the main methods and printing options before making your decision. Sometimes it's best to find a print shop that offers multiple of the methods above in order to allow you the best knowledge from them as of which way is the best to print your garments.
We ourselves work closely with print shops such as Squeezed Orange, who is most notably renowned for their eye for detail in screen printing and clean embroidery finishes.
And, we also work with Merch Asylum one of the UK's biggest and best screen printing shops for those who are looking to print higher volume.