Digital Decorating:


On Design: Battle Ready




October 4, 2021

New Jersey-based Breakthrough Custom Clothing created “Warrior Princess” from scratch by digitally hand drawing the entire piece. Inspired by the beauty and bravery of Native Americans, Gerald Cantalupo Jr., Breakthrough owner and chief printing officer, and his team set out to make an updated version of what a modern day Native American woman could achieve. Typically, Native American women did not wear headdresses (warbonnets). The colorful design is a symbol for the strength of women.

“When doing any type of DTG work, making sure your screen is calibrated to match your rip software and out of the printer is very important,” says Cantalupo. “We know with our set up how all different colors will print, so when we design, we can make the correct color correlations. We can see which colors will flow together well and give the proper contrast before we even send to print. Printing bright colors with DTG is always a challenge, so we make sure to choose the proper RGB and additionally make changes to our rip out to enhance certain colors so they will pop even more.”

The team began the process by using Adobe Illustrator on a tablet and then Photoshop. After the production of the colors were achieved, the garment became the focus. With so much detail, a high-quality ring-spun garment, which would produce a much-needed smooth flat surface, was chosen.

“Because of the detail, we used an All American Neoflex 1. It’s an older machine, but we keep it around for the highest demanding images. While it may be slow, its detail by far is the best compared to the production machines. Using Neorip, we used our own custom inhouse profiles to give us the best and most accurate color output. For inks, our white ink came from the Dupont 5000 series, while the CMYK was derived from the Firebird Digital. The Firebird Digital CMYK has a very good rich color, especially in the blues and greens.”


The shirt was then pretreated with FireBird Gen3, dried to the touch, and kissed with the heat press before printing. After the printing process, it was cured to the Dupont white ink settings. – Dustin Shrader

Design Details

Direct-to-Garment Machine Used: Neoflex 1
Software or Heat Press Used: Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop
Ink Type(s) Used: Dupont 5000 white series and Firebird Digital CMYK