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    Custom Canopy Digital Printing Guide

    Are you looking for an upgrade in your canopy options? Digital printing is your best choice for personalizing your canopy or tent. It provides many benefits over traditional silk screen printing, including more color options and better clarity. Yet its basic workings are actually very simple to understand.

    Although digital printing costs more than silk screening, many canopy owners think the benefits are well worth the extra expense.

    The Basics of Digital Printing

    If you have ever used an inkjet printer with your computer, you already have a good idea how digital printing works. Also known as digital dye sublimation printing, digital printing can imprint a fabric surface with millions of individual colors. That's far more than silk screens.

    The actual digital printers are very large, and operated by expert printing technicians who feed materials (such as canopy tops, sidewalls, and headbands) through their machinery whole. This allows the entire material surface to receive printing and coloring.

    Digital Printing Advantages

    One of digital printing's greatest advantages involves clarity of image. Many digital printers boast resolution capabilities up to 1440 dots of ink per inch (DPI.) This versatility helps create a wider amount of possible colors. It also gives a giant boost to color gradation. Colors appear more diverse, sharper, and with less blurring together or graininess. In fact, digital printing is so precise that it even reproduces photographs in amazing clarity.

    Digital printing also allows for printing around sides and corners or from peak to peak, something silkscreen printing cannot accomplish. In addition, digital printers can print on both sides of the canopy material, creating images or imprinting designs both inside and outside the canopy.

    The ultimate result of digital printing is a very clear, very complex printed design that's as large and detailed as its owner needs.

    The Disadvantages of Digital Printing

    To address the largest issue first: digital printing is more expensive than silkscreen printing. However, many businesses and marketing professionals will likely find the additional expense worthwhile. Digital printing creates much more impressive designs such as company logos while offering bigger, better size and scale.

    Another disadvantage lies in the cost-effectiveness per unit. Screen printing uses the same screen to imprint the same image across many different unit orders. This reduces the amount of setup fees involved in the final order costs. The more units ordered, the greater the cost effectiveness, because the setup fee is only charged once.

    However, digital printing uses the same process for each unit printed. As a result, the prices remain the same for every unit ordered.

    Another issue involves black coloring in design or material and its slight difference from the black hue found on canopy material. Digitally dyed black will not exactly match the black of the 500-denier polyester. This often results in a slight variation in tint.

    Overall, custom print customers need to decide for themselves whether their design needs justify digital printing's additional expense. Yet for single or two-unit canopy orders with complex design schemes, digital remains the most cost-effective option.

    Digital Patches Versus Full Digital Printing

    Digital printing "patches" provide an alternative to full-canopy printing. They reduce the amount of space that's actually printed. As a result, digital patch printing is much cheaper than "full" digital printing. In most cases, digital patch printing is cheaper than silk screen printing.

    Essentially, digital patches are smaller pieces of fabric that receive a printed design. The patch is then stitched onto the canopy or other base. Technicians use heavy-gauge thread that's virtually identical to the canopy color. This helps to make the patch less noticeable.

    Caravan uses the same 500-denier polyester material to make patches as they use for canopies, sidewalls, and headbands. The process is much the same, with technicians feeding the patch through the special digital printers. Color diversity, clarity, and resolution remain the same.

    Digital Patch Disadvantages

    Some digital patch materials experience fading after prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, especially black material. This can make the patch's shape more noticeable in contrast to the canopy on which it's sewn.

    As affordable as they are, digital patches also carry a fourteen dollar surcharge, per patch, over and above other digital printing costs. Still, for many canopy buyers they make an attractive shortcut to the benefits of full digital printing.

    Digital vs. Silk Screen Printing: The Final Tally

    Digital printing proves the old adage, "you get what you pay for." Though more expensive than silk screen printing, it's nonetheless a far superior technique. Digital printing provides more and better colors, greater clarity, and more design options than silk screen printing.

    As a lower-priced alternative, digital patches offer the benefits of digital printing, but only on limited areas. Additional surcharges also apply, per patch, to every order.

    We're here to answer your questions.

    Our customer service staff is waiting to answer all your custom and canopy questions. Feel free to contact us at any time. We'll get back to you as soon as possible. Our phone number is at 1-800-445-5611. We're waiting to hear from you!

    What is digital printing?

    In a nutshell, digital printing is printing using computers and computer printers. Its full name is digital dye sublimation printing.

    How does digital printing work?

    Digital printers are controlled using special design software. The printing machinery is similar to the inkjet printers used with home computers.

    What are the advantages of digital printing?

    Digital printing can produce millions of colors, with very fine clarity and resolution. Typically, they can achieve 1440 dots of ink per inch (DPI). The resulting graphics are sharper, better graded, and less blurry than silk screened images.

    Modern digital printers can print across all of a canopy surface. They can also print on both sides of the canopy material. This allows larger and more elaborate designs to be printed.

    What are the disadvantages of digital printing?

    Digital printing is more expensive than silk screen printing. Unlike silk screening, unit costs do not decrease as more units are ordered.

    Designs or material that is dyed black will not exactly match black canopy material.

    What are digital patches?

    Digital patches are smaller segments of the same fabric used in the canopy. They receive digital printing designs, and are sewn onto the canopy (or accessory) using high-grade thread. Digital patches can receive the same number of colors, in the same resolution, as "full" digital printing.

    Digital patches can sometimes fade to a different tint than the canopy material beneath it. This can make the patch appear more noticeable.

    Although cheaper than full digital printing and even silk screen printing, digital patches remain smaller than full digital. An additional fourteen dollar charge, per patch, applies to each order.

    How can I place a digital printing order?

    Simply contact our customer service staff at 1-800-445-5611. We're here to help you!

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