Direct-to-Garment Printing

Direct-to-Garment Printing

Direct to Garment Printing (DTG printing) is a custom print technique that works best for one-off digital t-shirt printing and small print runs. Notably, those designs that are highly colourful or contain photos and images. We’re talking subtly nuanced shading and capturing those finer aesthetic details of a design. Advanced colours and giving free rein to artistic flair. In short, high quality print processes that deliver high quality printed clothing.

All areas in which we excel here at Fifth Column. Premium is our starting point, printing our forte, and ethical the everyday standard. Our full colour, direct to garment printing service is cost effective, produces high quality digital prints, and will make your design shine. So, you need DTG printing, UK based and quality finished by people with a passion for printing? Well, get in touch. We’ll happily take that great idea and turn it into glorious reality.

DTG Printing is best for:

A t-shirt icon showing that DTG and screen printing are options for printing t-shirts in small quantities.

One-off T-shirts

A t-shirt icon showing that screen printing is the best option for printing t-shirts.

Small print runs

A t-shirt icon showing that DTG printing is one of the best options for printing t-shirts with very colourful designs.

Very colourful designs

A t-shirt icon illustrating that DTG printing is one of the best options for printing t-shirts with images and photos.

Images & photographs

What is DTG Printing?

As the name suggests, Direct to Garment printing, often shortened to DTG printing, is a means of customising apparel whereby ink is printed directly onto the fabric of blank merchandise. Garment DTG begins with your artwork being converted into a digital image file. After pre-treating, the garment is heat pressed and the design printed straight onto the surface using a DTG printer. The latter is a specialised inkjet printing machine, similar in principle to those in your home or office.

DTG printing offers environmental advantages in that it employ greener, eco-friendly water based ink. Plus, the print on demand aspect of DTG printing services are increasingly popular with business. In contrast to screen printing, DTG printing makes for more affordable limited print runs. And that means you don’t have to hold huge stocks of pre-printed garments.

How much does Direct to Garment Printing Cost?

The cost of DTG printing, like all methods of personalisation, is dependent on the details of your individual project. It’s often the cheapest printing for low volumes in that the set-up charge incurred with screen printing does not apply. The price of DTG printed tees can be as a little as £4.00 per shirt (up to 32cm high print). However, there is no DTG bulk discount, the price remains the same. And there are other variables. For instance, you still need to think about the number of printed garments required – irrespective of printing cost, the garment itself represents a significant part of the final price. Plus, it’s worth bearing in mind, DTG t shirt printing generally requires all cotton blank t shirts. The number of locations also directly affects the cost of printing your shirts. Whatever the specifics, we’ll provide a competitive price and produce high quality finished garments.

T-Shirt Printing Tips - How to Keep the Cost Down - DTG
Bulk Wholesale T Shirt Printing - long sleeve organic t shirts that can be customised.

DTG Printing Compared to Other Printing Methods

As a print method, DTG garment printing is a comparatively new form of decorating products and a growing part of our business here at Fifth Column. DTG is distinctly different to other types of customisation. That is to say, it’s a digital process and the result is a higher resolution image and sharper print. When it comes to DTG vs screen printing, there are a number of factors to consider. For example, DTG t shirt printing is economical for smaller quantities and more complex artwork. That said, colours on DTG printed shirts are slightly less vivid because the ink is absorbed into the cotton rather than sticking to it. Images for DTG printing need to be high resolution (300dpi or more) and Pantone Colour Matching is not an option. One alternative to DTG is Direct to Film (DTF) printing. If you’re unsure what’s best for you, contact us – we’re garment printers with expertise in all kinds of printing.

Our other services

Screenprinting by Fifth Column Printers.

Screen Printing

We’ve been doing this for four decades now. Each of our state-of-the-art machines can print 600 garments an hour and we’ve got the process down to a fine art. That means colour faithful prints that won’t fade, that are soft to the touch and long-lasting.

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Garment finishing for custom printed and embroidered clothing and merchandise.


You can’t screen print perfectly on every garment, and that’s when embroidery comes into its element. It’s a stunning way to showcase your logo on jackets, hats, bags and workwear – it’s particularly durable and looks and feels premium.

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High quality, professional garment embroidery.

Garment Finishing

After the printing is done, it’s time for the finishing touches to get your garments retail ready: custom labelling, hem tagging, poly bagging and applying stickers all help you put your mark on the product and make it look professional.

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