Impressions - February 2012 - (Page 36)

How to Choose a DTG Printer, Part 2 Here are some tips on how to best compare one digital printer to another when choosing a machine. By Kevin Kelly, Contributing Writer he key to choosing the best digital printer for your business is first deciding what size and type of orders you want to pursue. Hand-in-hand with this is recognizing the strengths and limitations of digital printing, and tailoring your marketing and sales efforts to the strengths. It also can help you decide if you even want to get started in digital printing and if it’s a good fit for your current business. (For information on how to determine your target market and which printer is best suited, refer to “Choosing A Digital Printer, Part 1” in the January 2012 issue of Impressions.) If you are shopping for a digital directto-garment printer, I have another critical piece of advice: Get test prints. No matter what you hear in the various sales pitches, the proof is in the “pudding” of the print quality and any initial evaluation of a new piece of equipment demands that you see the results. It’s also the only true way of making an apples-to-apples comparison. As you start the testing process, I recommend using designs that you previously screen or digitally printed. Whether you or someone else did it, you want to have comparisons to existing product. When you use your own designs — not a manufacturer’s stock designs (which may or may not reflect real-life production orders) — you get a reference sample that you can take back to your office and make judgment calls about the print quality. Always remember you’re not selling T-shirts; rather, you’re selling the printing on those shirts. Thus, you have to make sure your print quality is up to speed. t One of the toughest comparisons you can make is to put the shirt side by side with the computer monitor. You want to look into a printer’s methodology for adjusting color and how far it can go. All photos courtesy of Blue Heron, Little Falls, N.J. CHOOSING THE BEST ARTWORK When selecting designs to be printed, ensure the artwork will test the limits of 36 Impressions | February 2012 the machine. One element you’ll want to include is really fine detail — an example would be extremely small type, like in a legal line or copyright area. Within the design itself, you should determine the degree of bleeding and the stability of the ink in its wet state. This is critical. During the test printing process, take before-and-after photos, one of the wet print and one of the cured print. At least one of the test designs should have either feathered edges or a gradual fadeout, like a sunset. How well the printer can do continuous tone fades demonstrates the capability of its raster image processing (RIP) software. Machines that use external RIPs or prepare print files from Adobe Photoshop have unlimited capability to control fine detail. Some brands use a Windows-based driver system, and these do

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - February 2012

Impressions - February 2012
First Impressions
From the Show Director
Product Gallery
ISS Conferences
Flocking Meets Fashion
How to Choose a DTG Printer, Part 2
Working Wearables
Shop Spotlight
Embroidery Technique
Embroidery Production
Screen Printing Graphics & Design
For Screen Printers Only
Digital Decorating
Online Directory
Business to Business
Ad Index

Impressions - February 2012