September '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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More Than Just the Basics Direct-to-Garment Technology B Y D A V I D L A N D E S M A N 94 || P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5 D irect-to-garment printing seems to be the hot, new technology for garment imaging. And although direct-to-garment print- ing may be hot, it certainly is not new. The technology was originally introduced to the U.S. garment printing industry in 1996 as a thermal print head imaging de- vice adapted to print on T-shirts. Since those early days of direct-to-gar- ment printing, imaging has made substan- tial improvements in the printing device itself, ink systems, print speeds, and the pretreat solution that makes printing on dark garments possible. THE GARMENT Printing on a garment is vastly different than printing on paper or other substrates. Fabric absorbs water, dye, and pigments, and is coarse in comparison to paper, vi- nyl, or other hard surface items. In addition, fabric naturally has pro- truding fibers, weaves, and sizing variations, not to mention limit- less color and yarn options. Even if the type of fabric used is limited to, say, cotton, it is important to remember that not all fabric is created equal. In fact, direct-to-garment print quality, which is defined as color brilliance, print definition, and washfastness, is directly related to the garment you are printing on. Four huge differences between gar- ments are: David Landesman, Co-President of Lawson Screen & Digital Products, is a former Board Member of SGIA, and cur- rently serves on both the SGIA Textile, and Education Committees. One of the early pioneers of screen print educa- tion, a champion of cross-platform im- aging, and someone who holds several patents, Landesman is also the recipient of the screen and digital industry's highest award for innovation and industry service, the prestigious Parmele Award. This 10x illuminated magnifier allows for careful examination of matte down and fluid laydown. (Image cour- tesy Lawson Screen & Digital Products) Just the Basics ● Beginner ■ Intermediate

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