Ask DTGMerch #9 – Can I Print a Specific Colour?

Checking colour patches on a black t-shirt

1 – Can I Print a Specific Colour?

The other day, we received another very popular request:

Can I reproduce Pantone colours with DTG?
Many of our customers are also professional designers who want to know if they can print their designs using DTG (direct-to-garment) printing technology. And also match the colours they see in the Pantone colour guides and print a specific colour.

In this short blog post, we’ll take a look at what’s possible with DTG to print a specific colour and Pantone colours. We’ll also talk about some of the things you need to keep in mind when you’re printing Pantone colours with DTG.

If you have any questions about DTG printing, t-shirt design, or print-on-demand, we would love to hear from you. Send us an email to and I will be back to you as soon as possible.


2 – Print a specific colour and DTG, yes or no?

In order to make a long story short, at the moment, maybe.

There are two main reasons for this:
The first reason is that DTG printing typically uses four to eight ink colors + white to create the colors and print the design.

These colors for example, CMYK + white, are constrained by a limited and defined color gamut. This means that not ALL Pantone colors can be reproduced on your printer, but theoretically the colors that are WITHIN THE RANGE of printable colors could, actually, be printed.

However, this brings us to the second reason why this is quite not possible: the colors that DTG printers print are usually not very accurate. This is because they print on a variety of fibers (natural and synthetic) that have been dyed and treated with various chemicals. There is no standard like there is for paper printing. Also, most printer operators have not calibrated or color profiled their DTG printers as they should have.

3 – Trick or Treat?

Even though DTG printers are theoretically capable of printing a specific colour (or hitting a specific Pantone colour), you usually do not have enough control over the entire process and fabrics to hit the target every time and reliably reproduce the Pantone color. But if you are a designer who wants a little more control over the outcome of your colors, there’s a kind of solution or trick if you like. We have put together a few color swatches, on white and black backgrounds. You can print them to understand how certain colors will look after printing. We already have a separate video on that. I’ll link it below so you can have a look a it.

4 – Final words

Spot color reproduction and the difficulties encountered in DTG printing are quite complex. And unfortunately, cannot be covered in detail in this short blog post series. Some additional details on this can be found in our DTG printing online course.

Links to this course can be found at the end of this post.

5 – Want to learn more?

Check out this online course that might help you: How to Put Your Art on a t-shirt. In this online course, we will talk about which file formats are suitable for the different t-shirt printing methods.

Also have a look at our DTG printing online course for more info on DTG printing business and t-shirt design.

  • DTGMerch’s colour swatches:

Colour Test Chart – White T-shirt  Colour Test Chart – Black T-shirt

6 – Do you have a question too?

If you have any questions or feedback, please comment or email us at

Until next time, all the best, take care and be good!

The DTGMerch Team