Undoubtedly, Direct to Garment (DTG) and Screen Printing are among the most renowned printing techniques in custom apparel manufacturing due to their affordability and ease-of-use. However, you will generally use one or the other, not both simultaneously, leading to the question: Which technique is superior – Screen Printing or Direct-to-Garment printing?

In this comprehensive guide by Printfits, we delve into the nuances of both DTG and Screen Printing, pinpointing variation in processes, key characteristics, and frequently asked questions (FAQs), aiming to satisfy your curiosity and guide your decision-making process.

Direct-to-Garment (DTG) Printing: An overview

DTG constitutes a revolutionary printing method offering clear, high-quality impressions. This technique utilizes digital printers that directly imprint designs onto fabrics. The ink, being water-based, is swiftly absorbed, yielding enduring results.

Screen Printing: An Introduction

Screen Printing, a widely used printing technology in custom apparel creation, involves pressing special ink through customized screens onto fabrics, embossing the design.

This technique is time-consuming because each color necessitates a distinct screen. Consequently, every design must be fractionated into various color frames, each of which obtains a dedicated screen. Despite this, the high-quality outcome has sustained the popularity of Screen Printing over several decades.

Distinguishing DTG and Screen Printing

The Process:

The techniques differ drastically in their methodologies. DTG is straightforward – a digital printer embellishes the fabric with the design. Contrastingly, Screen Printing requires more time as designs must be deconstructed into colors and screens created for each, before the final imprinting can occur.

The Design:

Screen Printing demands a breakdown of designs into individual colors due to the single-color screens. This could be slightly laborious. However, digitized designs in DTG are printed directly onto fabrics without such hassles.

The Results:

As each color gets a different screen in Screen Printing, the resulting design is layered and relatively thick, yet the outcome is vibrant and durable. In contrast, DTG printing, owing to its single-layer printing, offers finer results, although the design may appear slightly faded.

Choice of Colors:

Screen Printing restricts color choices, necessitating design modifications based on available colors. With DTG, you can liberally choose colors without such limitations.

FAQs: Screen Printing vs DTG Printing

Is digital printing more costly than screen printing?

The cost can turn the tables between these two methods. However, the specific project requirements primarily determine these expenses.

Screen Printing Cost:

For bulk orders, Screen Printing is a wise option because using a stencil elevates setup costs, making it economically viable for mass printing. However, note that more colors mean higher costs due to the necessity of separate screens for each. Large runs provide cost efficiency as one master stencil can be utilized extensively.

DTG Printing Cost:

Conversely, DTG becomes cost-effective for smaller orders. The inclusion of numerous colors does inadvertently influence the overall cost. Larger designs can consume more time and ink, adding to the price tag. Therefore, smaller batch sizes aid in economizing the DTG process.

How does the print quality differ between digital and screen printing?

DTG's print quality could appear slightly faded because of the single-layer ink transfer to the fabric. However, the water-based ink's quick absorption ensures longevity.

In Screen Printing, multiple layers of color coatings result in vibrant and highly durable designs, surviving at least 50 washes or more.

Which technique provides more durability: Screen Printing or DTG?

DTG was initially criticized for its short-lived prints persisting barely for ten washes. Nowadays, the influence of the printer's efficiency, ink quality, pre-treatment, and under-base means DTG printed t-shirts last much longer.

Conversely, Screen Printing endures limitless washes without apparent fading, provided the ink application and curing are performed correctly.

Final Thoughts

Comparing DTG with Screen Printing isn't just about outlining the cons and pros. Each technique boasts its unique attributes rendering it ideal for specific scenarios. Our experts at Printfits can help you make an informed choice, taking into account factors like fabric type, design complexity, and quantity of apparel.

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