By Melissa Donovan
Direct to garment (DTG) printing is popular for a number of reasons. Ease of use allows just about anyone to work a device, from a small business to an at-home crafter. The quality of inks and ability to print on a number of materials is also strengthening this technology’s position.
Wide format print service providers (PSPs) should consider adding a DTG printer to gain revenue and customers. Color Image Designs, LLC, based in Tampa Bay, FL, did just that back in 2011 when Gene Wodzicki, co-owner, Color Image Designs, told his girlfriend—now wife—about the AnaJet DTG printer.
Sue had been working in a corporate environment for many years and was looking for a change. She investigated many DTG brands on the market at that time and asked to talk to the end users, not a salesperson. After a few months of intense research, Sue decided on the AnaJet mPower series.
Sign Me Up
Gene is no stranger to signs, he’s been involved in the trade since 1993 and purchased his first digital wide format printer, a Roland DGA Corporation VersaCAMM VP-300 in 2008. He wanted to add DTG printing to the business for years and the AnaJet portfolio was the best choice.
The decision to go with AnaJet was based on ease of use and quality of the print. The Wodzickis traveled to AnaJet headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA and trained with the DTG printers. “We got to print as many shirts as we wanted. We took them home and put them through our own tests. They got washed in every load of laundry, including rugs. After numerous washes, the shirt fell apart, but the print held up. That’s when we knew we made the right choice,” explain the Wodzickis.
In addition to print durability, both Gene and Sue appreciate the user friendliness of the printer. “It wasn’t something completely different to learn, graphics wise. So it was a pretty smooth transition into the business.”
On the Road
Today, Color Image Designs owns an AnaJet mPower mP10 and mP5, and for wide format a Roland VersaCAMM VP-540. In addition to DTG, they also print vehicle wraps, signs, and banners, as well sublimating license plates and smartphone cases. Vehicle wraps are generally printed on Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions 1005 Supercast film, which the Wodzickis say yields great prints, is easy to work with, and lasts. For signs, they use ORAFOL Americas’ ORAJET 3165RA.
Although the Wodzickis call FL home, their business is mobile. The husband-and-wife team travel in a custom built 8.5×24-foot vending trailer that carries them as far West as AZ and CA and North to Chicago, IL. It is primarily found at events like local fairs, where exhibiting vendors and attendees directly order products. The vehicle is fully equipped to carry the AnaJet and Roland printers, as well as a 65-inch laminator and heat press. A 4×6-foot enclosed cargo trailer is towed to hold additional supplies.
With the AnaJet, Color Image Designs is a true one-stop shop. “It enhances our sign and wrap business. The various ways we can output a design definitely complement each other. When we make a logo for a customer, they can have it on their signs, wrap, shirt, license plate, or Apple iPhone case,” share the Wodzickis.
Fun and Games
A great example of the PSP’s ability to offer its customers a range of options is its recent work for Ramey Entertainment. The company owns the Fool the Guesser games found at state fairs on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Color Image Designs regularly prints the signs for the games as well as shirts used for employee uniforms.
For this job, the Wodzickis first needed to tweak the design, a photo of the sign around the head of the scale used for weight guessing. After removing the background, adjusting the color, and adding text, the file was ready to print. Using the AnaJet mPower mP10 with OEM AnaJet ink, the graphic was printed onto 36 red button down shirts in less than an hour.
According to the Wodzickis, the customer was “blown away” when he saw the finished product and couldn’t wait to wear it.
As technology advances, the Color Image Designs team is pleased with how it affects the DTG segment of the market. The Wodzickis cite how the newest printers are even faster and feature better print quality.
The unlimited design potential is also a factor. “Digital printing really helps grab customers we would never get with the limitations of a vinyl cutter,” they add.
With wheels on the ground, this PSP offers everything from wide format signs to DTG output right on site—on demand printing has never been more customized or quick.
Aug2015, Digital Output