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The DTG User Experience

(March 2009) posted on Sat Mar 07, 2009

Sampling, prototyping, and on-demand printing are some of the benefits direct-to garment inkjet printers represent. Discover how four companies have made these machines important parts of their businesses.


By Ben P. Rosenfield and Lori Leaman

click an image below to view slideshow

“We started with the Kornit 932, the smaller unit, and we currently have two. That was our first venture into the technology and we developed with it. We didn’t want to dive in headfirst, but we’ve been happy with it and have been adding machines. And if it continues to deliver, we’ll add more as capacity is needed,” Jackson explains.

Spreadshirt takes all of its apparel orders via the Internet. The company uses a batch system from which employees can pull a specific quantity of orders to print. According to Jackson, a daily average for throughput can be in the neighborhood of 600 shirts.

Spreadshirt’s Website offers customers the opportunity to build their own apparel decorations via its T-Shirt Designer software system. An extensive menu of wearables is available throughout the process, enabling aspiring designers to preview their creations on a variety of garments before committing to an order. Space is available for custom text, and thousands of stock graphics are available to place on the garment and resize as needed.

“The online design platform kind of rounds off the edges of ordering a T-shirt,” Jackson says. “You don’t have to be graphically skilled to at least get something on the shirt.”

Users who wish to venture beyond designing a one-off shirt for themselves can register on the Website, create their own shops, and then upload their designs, including those developed without the use of the T-Shirt Designer software. Upon approval, the designs enter Spreadshirt’s marketplace, where Jackson says the garments become point-of-sale items that garner commissions for their creators.

Spreadshirt still plotter cuts vinyl for vector-based designs, but all pixel-based graphics go to the Kornit printers. Jackson says he’s been impressed with the construction of the printers Spreadshirt uses.

“The Kornits were definitely built from the ground up, with solid framing, and it’s a huge operation to get one of those things in here. But when you get it in and you get it running, they run really well. They are a bit finicky now and then, and it is still a new technology, but once you get it working it’s amazing.”


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