Ad imageAd image

Jerald Jolito of Merch Studio Wins Inaugural DTF Printing T-Shirt Contest

Judging took place at DTF Expo in Phoenix.

DTF printers from across the country had the chance to demonstrate their direct-to-film printing knowledge and expertise by competing in the first-ever DTF Printing T-Shirt Contest. 

Close to 80 participants received a blank UxPrint T-shirt and a downloadable file with the design, created by Mike Ince of DTF Superstore.

“I wanted to do a very fun design, yet make it challenging for DTF print,” said Mike. “There are some very tricky areas in the art, especially, with the greys and browns. There are also some vivid colors in there, as well. I used Midjourney to create the art, as that is a hot and fun trend right now. Being a longtime fan of steampunk, I had to choose that for our theme for the inaugural year.”

Twenty one printed T-shirts were shipped to Phoenix by deadline and judged by Zach Achorn of SelfMade Designs, Scott Donovan of Dupont Artistri, and Jeremy Poehls of DTF Superstore.

The judges critiqued the following categories on a 1-10 scale with a perfect score of 60.

• Color Accuracy
• Graininess 
• Softness / Feel
• Brightness of White
• Underbase Alignment
• Stretch

“The cool thing is everyone had their own thing to bring to the table with their prints, which is cool to see because [DTF] is still so new to our industry,” said Zach. “It’s really cool to see people are making it their own, which is part of any production process – you have to make it your own.”

On the final day of DTF Expo, Jerald Jolito of Merch Studio was crowned the winner of the DTF Printing T-Shirt Contest. Jerald won more than just bragging rights. As the first-place winner, he received a trophy, a digital badge, $500 toward DTF Superstore, and a case of UxPrint T-shirts.

Jerald used his Mongoose II DTF printer with DTF Superstore inks and Chinese powder to create the winning print. He calibrated his monitor and created a matching ICC profile for the printer using XRite color measurement. 

“His color accuracy is off the charts. This guy is passionate about color,” said Jeremy during the awards presentation. “This is the softest shirt… It’s fantastic.”

Jerald increased the resolution of the provided graphic to 300 dpi and resized it to competition requirements using Adobe Photoshop. “Next, we halftoned the image using Photoshop, and sent it to the printer along with three other files: no halftone, no halftone with adjusted saturation and brightness, halftone dots, and linear halftone with no adjustments in saturation or brightness. We decided to go with the linear halftone with no adjustments in saturation or brightness,” he said. “The image had a black background and we wanted it to be really soft. A knockout black would’ve made it softer, but there are still a lot of wide, solid areas. We tried halftone dots, but the black shirt was too visible, so we used linear halftone or linetone.”

Jerald believes his print stood out above the rest due to “a great printer with amazing tech support, a custom ICC profile and calibrated IPS monitor, and linear halftone,” he said. “The use of great inks, powder, and film were also vital to our print quality.” 

Watch our video recap of the DTF Printing T-Shirt Contest here.

Watch the entire video of the award announcement on our YouTube page.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *