How online design tools are shaping up custom on-demand fabric and digital textile printing industry

Digital textile printing market has been gradually evolving every year, and with screen printing being the initial choice for printing fabrics, digital fabric printing has been gaining its share in this sizable field too. Also, the market for the digital printing of textiles is emerging rapidly and has witnessed tremendous popularity amongst textiles printers across the world. It currently represents more than 1.5% of the overall printed textiles market which is expected to be more than 5.0% by 2020.

“Digital technology has changed everything, it has touched, including the textile and printing markets,” said Fernando Urteaga, group manager, Professional Imaging, Epson America, Inc.

Initially, digital textile printing was used for soft signage applications, but with the advancement of time and technology, its applications diversified into clothing textiles, home textiles, automotive textiles, banners, tents and many more.

DTP has witnessed significant growth in the recent past and the trend is expected to continue in the future also. The major factors that are driving the growth of Digital Textile Printing as compared to traditional printing methods are significantly lower time to market, eco-friendly process, high design flexibility, reduced inventory obsolesces.  DTP’s output was around 563.2 mm2 worth $853.8 million in 2014. Digitally printed textiles output is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 28.1% in terms of volume to reach 2,519.7 mm2 worth $4,260.0 million by 2020. Asia-Pacific region led by India is expected to register the fastest growth amongst all the regions across all the regions. DTP output in this regional segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.0% and 35.7%, in terms of volume and value between 2015 and 2020.

In ‘The Future of Digital Textile Printing to 2021’, a report by Smithers Pira, states that the digital textile printing segment will continue to grow strongly in the 2016-2021 period. Its exclusive data shows that a total of 870 million square metres of fabric worth $1.29 billion were printed on digital equipment in 2016. In the coming 5 years, this volume will increase a rate of 17.5% CAGR consuming nearly 1.95 billion square metres and a market value of $2.66 billion.

Do-It-Yourself Custom Printed Fabric and More

Enthusiasm of a worldwide community of people who are passionate about fabric, design and making things has given birth to the concept of design-it-yourself and custom, on-demand fabric creation, making it possible for individuals to design and buy or sell their own fabric designs, wallpapers and gift wraps online.  With latest technology and innovative digital textile printers, printers can now convert any design, however complex or intricate into the finest printed fabrics. And with customer-centric online fabric design tool, they can empower customers to showcase greater detailing of the design and allow them to use their own images as well as use as many colours as they require in the design and order it online with a range of fabrics and materials to choose from. Some of the benefits brought up by this technology advancement are:

Reduced Minimum Orders

With latest and innovative digital textile printers, you can get any design printed on any kind of material or fabric of any size or dimension, as these printers enable the printing of smaller runs much more effectively. Conventional methods of printing on the other hand required larger minimum amounts of fabric on account of the longer setup time and huge setup cost.

More Variety

With advanced web-to-print technology, you can now offer a variety of designs, graphics and unlimited set of colours on your online store so that your customers can create their own design and get their own prints on fabrics. This increases the choices available to your customers for fashion, interior decoration and other uses of the fabrics.

Higher Quality

The digital printing technology allows for high resolution images with cleaner edges, the accuracy of colours as well as print is clean and tidy. So, if you’re seeing photographic & tonal graphics with bright, clear and sharp edges in multiple shades and colours, you can be sure that the color and print would be exactly the same when it is printed on the fabric.

Reduced Waste

As digital printing technology prints directly on the garment, it produces less waste and energy and with do-it-yourself web-to-print technology together it reduces the error rate, re-printing jobs and saves the design time too.


Digital printing with web-to-print is a much faster process with fewer steps and can therefore return finished products to customers at a much faster turn-around time. One can just choose a product, upload a design, choose the pattern and select the fabric or material and order. Your order is ready to be printed and soon will be on the way to reach you.  It is the quickest and most cost-effective way to get your designs printed on fabrics.

Some of the Successful Fabric on Demand Online Stores


Spoonflower is the largest marketplace of independent surface designs. Design, print and sell custom fabric, wallpaper & gift wrap on-demand.

Digital Fabric World

This year team DESIGN’N’BUY developed a unique custom web-to-print solution for a create on-demand printed fabrics company, Digital Fabric World which is set up to enable individuals to design and order their own fabrics online.

DFW wished to reach out to the homemakers, designers, creative thinkers and anyone who wants to use their own design or use sample designs to create outfits, furnishings or accessories of their choice. With Digital Fabric World one can now create curtains, quilts, clothes, bags, pillows, framed artwork, costumes, banners and anything else that you can imagine using customized printed fabrics and with no minimum order. With a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and latest technology, DFW can convert any design, however complex or intricate into the finest printed fabrics from the woven, non-wovens or knits made from both natural and synthetic process.

Outlook for the Digital Textile Market

With outstanding potential for growth, digital textile suppliers using the web-to-print technology see an excellent opportunities ahead as the early movers in the marketplace.

There is a growing demand for greater variety of colors and design at quicker turnaround cycles. Textile designers are rethinking their approach to production and manufacturing of textile. Whether designing for sportswear or a fashion line or even for furniture upholstery – all these markets are changing the way they present their style. Responding to this trend of ‘fast fashion’ and customization and personalization having a huge influences on the print industry in the last few years, we are sure that the digital textile production is becoming the best choice for brands in all the connected markets.

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