The Subtle Art of T-shirt Printing: How the Pros do it!

The digital revolution has transformed how t-shirt printing is done, with many new and innovative methods emerging.

The top t-shirt printing businesses combine a variety of methods to get unique results. Let’s delve in deeper:

Screen Printing

You may already be familiar with this method because screen printing has been around for centuries. In today’s modern t-shirt printing industry, however, screen printing is done both by hand and by machine.

Part of the magic in this age-old traditional method lies in how screen printing inks are used – inks which are a lot thicker than your everyday t-shirt printing ink. This means they last longer and produce very vivid, life-like colors.

Screen printing is a popular practice among businesses where a lot of orders need to be processed each day. In fact, depending on a variety of factors such as ink quality, design size, mesh count, number of strokes and the amount of squeegee pressure applied, anywhere between 300 and 500 t-shirts can be printed using a gallon of ink, which makes it really cost effective.

Direct-to-garment (DTG) Printing

DTG printing incorporates inkjet technology, allowing businesses to print full-color and very high quality photographic prints directly onto t-shirts.

The technique is ideally suited to designs or artwork which are considered far too complicated for other printing methods. DTG printing machines are capable of mixing an extraordinary amount of colors to reproduce even the minutest details – think of it as the 4K/HDR standard of t-shirt printing technology.

DTG printing is ideal for printing a few t-shirts at a time – for instance, 1-5 each day.

Heat Transfer Printing

Sheets of transfer material are laid on top of garments and then heat pressed in order to permanently apply prints and graphics on t-shirts.

The desired artwork or graphics are first digitally printed using a solvent ink on a specialized heat transfer paper – allowing the design to be seamlessly transferred from that paper to the t-shirt when the heat press machine is applied.

This method is highly useful where different materials and fabrics are involved. Furthermore, it requires minimal maintenance and is the least ‘messy’ of all the methods.

There are a variety of heat transfer printing techniques that are used by t-shirt printing companies such as plastisol transfer printing, dye-sublimation printing and CAD-cut printing, where computer software is used to ‘forge’ the design.

That’s Great – But Can a T-shirt be ‘Smart Casual’?

Let’s set the record straight – “smart casual” can be anything you want it to be, with most fashion experts calling it “anything smarter than a tracksuit but less serious and formal than a suit”.

So think along the lines of maybe a blue, black or white t-shirt – among the most popular colours for men who like to dress smart casual – and maybe a blazer or jacked to round it off nicely.

At Trentain, we employ a variety of the latest printing methods to create designs to perfection, offering a cool, trendy and wide-ranging selection of t-shirts and more, for men and women.

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