Screen printing or digital printing

Screen printing or digital printing? Which is the right choice for your business?

With so many options, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to decide between digital on-demand and screen printing. Both techniques offer different advantages, but usually cannot be used interchangeably depending on the design and printing objectives.

Let’s look at the differences between digital printing and screen printing together. Thus we will help you decide which method is most suitable for your projects. Various design goals depend on knowing the differences between the two customization options. These aspects could bring substantial savings to your company and keep you out of trouble.


Screen printing uses a design that is then burned onto a screen. Then push the ink with a squeegee through the screen onto the fabric. This can be done by hand or by automatic screen printing presses that produce several hundred prints per hour.

Although screen printing requires more advanced technical knowledge – from learning which inks are right for your chosen material to what temperature to apply – it often provides more vibrant and cost-effective products. However, keep in mind that the ink often needs to be applied in multiple layers, one at a time, to achieve the desired look.

Advantages and disadvantages of screen printing

Advantages include:

High quality.

Increased color vibrancy.

Better long-term durability when washed repeatedly.

Ability to screen print unique surfaces such as curved mugs or water bottles.

Softer to the touch when using water-based inks.

Ability to create bulk orders.

Disadvantages include:

Colors are applied separately, which increases the total cost of production.

Individual screens are required for each color, further increasing production costs.

Lower quality when reproducing the photo on fabric because so many layers of ink are required.

Difficulty printing small batches.

Time required for cleaning and maintenance of materials.

Digital printing

Digital printing, also known as “DTG” or direct-to-garmet uses a highly modified inkjet printer that applies inks directly to the garment just like a paper printer eliminating the need for multiple sites and inks. A tunnel type oven then the heat fixes the inks to the fabric.

Since there is little setup involved, digital printing can be a great option depending on the project. The DTG method can help you avoid buying and storing more inks. Digital printing can also allow you to create much smaller runs for designs, which better caters to customers who are only looking for small orders.

Advantages and disadvantages of digital printing

Advantages of digital printing:

Faster production.

Few resources and knowledge needed to run your business.

Great for small orders.

Does not require layers of inks.

Create clear photos on material.

Disadvantages of digital printing:

Less vibrant.

Lower grain quality.

Often requires a coat of ‘pre-treatment’ or ‘underbase’ ink on darker fabrics to prevent colors from appearing muddy; however, the pretreatment sometimes reacts under heat to leave a stain.

Cannot print on polyester garments or mixed blend garments consisting of at least 80% cotton.

Whether you choose to go the more traditional route and screen print your projects, or skip several potentially confusing steps and go straight to digital printing, you have several options to choose from.

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