Screen-printing vs. digital printing
Which is the best printing process?
Both styles of printing produce high-quality results, but they must suit your specific requirements and budget.
A mechanical method versus a digital process
Screen-printing is accomplished by making a mesh stencil (called a screen) for each color that needs to be printed. Screens are then registered and printed on test sheets to ensure that all of the colors line up correctly. And then, the inks are pushed through the screens, one color at a time, onto the apparel. Finally, each piece is run through a large dryer to cure the inks. Result: A long-lasting, reliable finish that is inexpensive on bigger series. Plus, high quality and reliable results that offer excellent lifespan.
Digital Printing is used to print small orders. Many consider this process to be way easier than screen printing because it’s a 3 step process: 1. downloading the design onto the computer; 2. sending the design to the printer; 3. putting it into the heat press. Result: Vivid full-color printing that is close to brochure quality, and a medium with a long lifespan that increases with lamination.
Both printing processes are commonly used for printing t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies among other items. Check-out the below table for pros and cons of each process.
|Screen printing||Cost effective
Long-lasting & durable through multiple wash cycles
Easier to print larger prints – for bulk order
Easier to print on specific parts of a t-shirt, hoodie, or baby garment.
|High setup price
Labor intensive process
Requires a minimum order
Not economical for short runs
Cannot produce fine detail
More colors increase costs
|Digital printing||Great for small orders
Can print one item at a time
Can have details that are great for printing photosUnlike screen printing, designs cannot be felt on the garment and lay flat on the tee
Cleaner printing process
Colors are only limited by the printer capabilities.
Does not require screens or plates
|Print time is longer
Ink is more expensive than Digital printing
Print area is sometimes limited by the printer setup
Exact color matching can be difficult due to CMYK printer inks
Print area is limited by printer setup
Can usually only print on fabric
There’s is no such thing as ‘the better process’
As with many things one is not always better than the other, but rather which suits your needs and will work best on the fabric, color, and design – the level of detail of your design – you will print.
The quality of a print matters, so choosing the proper printing method is essential for optimum results. One thing is for sure both will make your custom items look great. Then all you need is professional printing services that will do the hard work for you!