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Decal_Designs said:
I also think that traditional screen printing will be on it's way out for the most part. Heat transfers have been improved greatly in the last 10 years and will continue to improve, putting some hurt on the screen printers, unless they adapt and offer plastisol transfer printing also, but heat transfers may also be out some day.
Personally I'm not at all worried about heat transfer killing off the screenprinting market - it's proven itself to be an effective niche, but I don't think it has enough advantages over screenprinting to really take over (and way too many disadvantages). Plastisol transfer has one or two advantages over screenprinting directly, but since it's just screenprinting onto a carrier paper you might as well cut out the middle step and stick with screenprinting.

When you get right down to it, big business simply doesn't use heat press. There's the obvious exception of Cafe Press, but their business isn't to use heat press, so much as to enable smaller businesses to exist. Heat Press technology was always just a stop gap solution - it will, without a doubt, be obsolete eventually. I don't see that happening in the immediate future, but I am certain it will happen (if I had to put a figure on it I'd guess 8±4 years, but that's baseless conjecture).

...but direct to garment printing (i.e. a big ol' t-shirt printer) scares me a great deal. I'm only just getting started really and I'm investing a lot of time and energy into screenprinting... while some of the skills will translate I'm very worried that all too much of it will end up being quaint archaic knowledge all too soon.

I still just don't know. Will screenprinting be like your hand signpainting example, or the digital photography revolution? Or will DTG just prove too hard to manufacture cheaply and impossible to perfect (i.e. improvements to white ink)? While only time will really tell... yeah, that has me worried. The technology just isn't ready yet, but that's always been the way with technology. At first it's bulky and not worth the effort (c.f. mobile phones), but soon enough it's ubiquitous.

I figure I have to go with the only technology that is mature right now, but no-one wants to become obsolete.
 
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