Color Drop DTF has been a long time coming, with its roots established well back in 1976 with offset printing. Then it added screen printing, and embroidery, and patch making and digitizing and direct to garment (DTG) and now we are SOLD on DTF - DIRECT TO FILM.
I'll be short about this - screen printing with plastisol and water-based inks is a fantastic art form that offers a high quality that people are accustomed to, I believe it is the base of where we are going and what we can accomplish, but there are serious pitfalls with screen printing - high initial start up costs, limited color ranges (yes, you can mix ink, but are you a garment decorator or scientist?), customization, variable data, many employees, for the most part it is not a clean environment - these are just a few negatives.
Direct to Garment was our first steps and introduction into digital printing. When we were working with a CMYK only printer and others laughing at us saying we were getting into something that would never take off, we stuck with it. DTG is great for one-offs and small quantities with multi-colors. The initial cost is low and you can literally print anything that is on your computer screen. However, with DTG you cannot print as many fabric types as you can with screen printing, the print is not as crisp since you are printing onto a porous media and there is a fixed price of about $1-3 per print.
DIRECT TO FILM - transfers! Yes, I said it - transfers. When printing direct to film, you get a great digital image printed on a stable media that is then transferred by heat to the garment. You can print on any material - 100% cotton, tri-blends and 100% polyester - this is great for any company. Though DTF is not fully breathable, there are tricks you can do to make it so, however, it is durable and quite stretchy for performance gear. In my opinion, DTF is much faster, with a better quality image and costs far less than DTG - at around 37 cents per full t-shirt front, its hard to argue that.