Text and images are printed onto garments using both screen printing and digital printing. They use different methods and have different benefits and drawbacks. But which is best for you?

What is screen printing?

A worker is screen printing

  • Screen printing is an old-fashioned method of creating a print on a shirt that uses a screen or stencil to block ink on specific areas of the shirt.
  • Screen printing is an excellent method for getting a custom print on your shirt. It is also the most popular method for high-volume orders because it is quick and easy to fulfill.
  • Digital printing, on the other hand, uses large format printers (similar to those used by newspaper printing presses) to print directly on the shirt without the use of stencils or screens to block out areas of color, as traditional screen printing does.

What is digital printing?

A machine is doing digital printing

  • Digital printing, also known as “direct to garment” (DTG), allows you to use your digital designs directly on fabric, without the need for a separate screen. Faster turnaround times, lower costs, and more color and design options result. Short-run garments that require custom graphics that are more durable than screen printing are ideal for digital printing.
  • While the technology has been around for a while, recent advances in printhead technology have made it possible to apply gamut inks directly to fabric with better results than ever before. Furthermore, DTG now offers better color retention than multiple washes when compared to traditional cotton or polyester blend t-shirts or sweatshirts.
  • DTG provides you with more color and design options. If you want to print a large number of shirts, you should be aware of your options. Digital printing is less expensive and allows for greater design flexibility.

Pros of screen printing

  • Screen printing presses are more efficient than digital printers, producing higher volumes with less waste. (Bulk products of the same design)

A worker is screen printing

  • Screen printing is an excellent choice for bulk runs. It’s ideal for short-run jobs where the cost of setup would be prohibitive using other methods. Screen printing is also a good option when you need to make multiple color changes during production or change your design midway through production due to its flexibility.
  • Screen printing enables more intricate designs than digital printing. When the ink is placed too close together, digital printers tend to blur, but this will not happen with screen printed shirts. Because of this characteristic, screen printed t-shirts will always appear more distinctive than digitally printed ones.

Cons of screen printing

  • The procedure takes more time. Depending on the size of your order and the number of colors used, screen printing can take up to 5-10 times longer than digital printing.
  • It necessitates the use of more ink and paper. Screen printing necessitates the application of a stencil over your artwork prior to running it through your press. This necessitates the use of more ink and paper, making screen printing wasteful if you do not use environmentally friendly options that do not require toxic chemicals or heavy metals.

a bottle of red paint

  • It is not as precise as digital printing because there is no way to reduce the size of your design without losing resolution quality (and thus losing clarity). This isn’t a big deal if you’re making small products like postcards or stickers; however, if you’re printing large posters or banners with lots of text and fine details—which would be difficult to read for anyone who’s nearsighted—you’ll want to stick with digital because it gives you more control over scaling down images without losing legibility.

Pros of digital printing

  • Digital printing is more efficient than screen printing. A direct to garment (DTG) printer is used to print digital heat transfers, whereas a silk screen is used for screen printing. This means that DTG can be completed in a single sitting rather than in multiple steps.
  • The cost of digital printing is much lower than screen printing. Screen printing designs require more ink than digital pringting.
  • Digital printing is more environmentally friendly.
  • It allows you to customize your designs and choose the colors that work best for your business. Due to CMYK inks are used instead of RGB inks, digital printing allows for more colors than screen printing (like with spot colors). This gives you more freedom when it comes to designing your layout.
  • You can print in large quantities without the need for different screens or plates (which would be required for screen printing).

screen printing template

Cons of digital printing

  • The downside here is that digital heat transfers aren’t as durable as traditional prints and won’t last nearly as long either—they’re best for short-term promotional campaigns or one off items like t-shirts or hats!
  • Colors do not appear as vivid or bright.
In short, because it uses inkjet technology rather than screen printing, DTG (Direct to Garment) printing offers more color and design options than screen printing. This means you can use any image or icon on your t-shirt, regardless of size, as long as it fits the shirt size range you select (ie if you choose an XL shirt size max width of 19 inches, max height is 25 inches). result? More control over which images or icons appear on your shirts! Furthermore, when compared to silkscreen printing, DTG can achieve finer details in parts such as text fonts because each line of text can be digitally printed one at a time, rather than silkscreened one line at a time.

In conclusion

A worker is screen printingThere are numerous options available when it comes to screen printing and digital printing. Both methods have benefits and drawbacks. It’s no surprise that screen printing is losing ground to digital printing, given recent advancements in DTG printing. This technology has numerous advantages. Prints will be more vivid and clear than with any other method. Furthermore, you have more color and design options because you can use your own creations rather than relying on stencils or pre-made templates as traditional methods such as screen printing or heat transfer vinyl do (HTV).Both screen printing and digital printing are viable options for your company. Screen printing is probably the best option for you if you want a simple way to get your brand out there. Digital printers have advantages as well, DTG can handle small orders efficiently and affordably.