State of the DTG Printing – Views from ISS

DTG or Direct to Garment Printing technology is probably older than 5 years. It is an exciting and emerging field in which we have a deep interest so our ears  pop up whenever there is a talk about DTG.  The recently concluded Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS) provided some clues on where this technology is heading.

If anyone is looking for DTG printers, the words of caution would be  “be prepared to be confused” –  unless you’ve done your homework. That’s true about any technology choices these days. Luckily for us, we had studied the various options so it was easier to spot the trends.

Generally, people have extreme experiences with DTG.  Some  have seen their investment of thousands of dollars going down the drain after failing to make these machines work.  Others have built solid business around this technology  so due diligence will not harm anybody.

ISS proves one thing loud and clear. DTG technology has come a long way and it is a reliable alternative to conventional Screen printing or heat transfer technologies.  Compared to the last year, there are couple of main trends we see at this year’s show.

First,  some DTG brands are conspicuously missing from the show this year. This includes Flexi-jet and T-Jet. Not sure if they are bankrupt or  didn’t find it useful to attend the show.

The brands that are represented in the show include DTG,  Anajet,  Kornit, and Brother.  Most of these vendors have made some technology enhancements but most of them seem to be  incremental changes except for the case of Brother. Anajet and DTG – all have better models but the changes from the previous model do not seem that obvious. We believe most of the changes are “bug fixes” than any real feature enhancements.  It does make sense to do that since what DTG printers need at this point is not supporting Wi-Fi but rather stability and reliability.

Looking at the trend, it seems like the next level of innovation would come from the ink.  It is hard to even know what kind of ink is used in these printers since they keep that information confidential. Right now,  ink is fairly expensive to make it an alternative for  screen printing especially for large volume orders.

The most exciting change in the DTG landscape is Brother’s new DTG printer GT-782.  Brother has an older DTG printer(GT541)  which is stable but can only print on light garments.


With the new printer, Brother seems to have taken two leaps in one step. The new model supports printing on black and light color t-shirts.  Also,  it can print two t-shirts at a time – a good feature for bulk production. The downside is that GT-782 is too  expensive and bulky for small companies.  It seems like the target market for this printer is not really small start-ups but medium to large T-shirt production companies.

This is an interesting development since this type of reliable and high-performing machines will make DTG more popular and will position it as a strong alternative to screen printing.

The way GT-782 prints on black is fun to watch. It puts a white underlay (or base) on the t-shirt  and then print the actual image on top it. The print quality looks really good.  See some sample prints below.



It is clear that the envelope is going to be continually pushed in the  DTG space. We will be seeing more efficient DTG printers and advancement in the ink technology in the next few years.  We are truly excited to be part of this business revolution and keeping a close eye on any innovations in this area.

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