Printwear

April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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80 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 7 I t seems that digital technology is taking over our lives and will continue to grow in the apparel decorating industry. Direct-print technology is the hottest growing segment in our industry and consumers are demanding personalized products. To personalize garments and still make money, we must have a way to produce products for our customers digitally. If you don't have the money to drop on a direct-to-garment (D2) printer, no problem. There are digital transfers that can satisfy your customers without breaking the bank and require just a heat press to start. INKJET TRANSFERS This technology has been around for many years. In its lowest form, the method is the iron-on transfers found at craft stores. Because of this link, they often get a bad reputation in garment decorating circles. The issue with iron-on transfers is that they are made to be generic to al- most any printer and ink, and transfer at a low heat so an iron can be used. When ironing, the transfer will crack, peel, and wash out in only a few washes. But, that is not the case for the professional transfer papers avail- able to our industry. These papers are made for production using pigment- based inkjet printers and meant to be applied with a heat press. When doing this, you get a bright transfer with limited cracking and good washability. There are several types of paper on the market that allow you to choose a brighter image or more durability. You may also choose papers that are designed for light or dark garments. The magic here is the transfer paper, as most are made to encapsulate the ink droplet in its polymer, which adheres to the garment. The printer can be an off-the-shelf inkjet printer; therefore, the startup cost is very low. The Digital World An Exploration of Four Popular Digital Decorating Techniques B Y A A R O N M O N T G O M E R Y Aaron Montgomery has been involved with the garment decorating and personalization industry since 2000 and the digital printing industry since 1997. He is very actively in- volved in the industry trade shows via speak- ing, attending, and exhibiting for the last 17 years. He also writes articles for industry magazines and blogs on topics that include marketing, social media, the personalization market, and garment decorating techniques. He is dedicated to helping small businesses grow and succeed. You can find Aaron co-hosting the industry's oldest and most listened to Podcast--2 Regular Guys (www.2regularguys.com). You can also find blogs about a wide range of topics on his own website at aaronmontgomery.info. In its lowest form, inkjet transfers are essentially the at- home iron-on version from craft stores. In a commercial setting, the inks are made with pigment-based inkjet printers and applied with a heat press for more durability. (Image courtesy Neenah Paper) 80 || PROS: • Extremely low point of entry • Easy to use and transfer • Forgiving process • Small, portable setup CONS: • Lowest washability of all methods • Must trim the background out of a transfer for dark garments • Has a thick "hand" (feel of the transfer on the garment), espe- cially on dark garments Markets: Promotional garments, garments with quick turnaround on demand, and memorial garments. TIP: As soon as the gar- ment comes off the press, give it a light stretch in all four directions to break up the polymers for a softer hand and improved washability. INKJET

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