COMPARISON: DTG Printing vs. Screen Printing

COMPARISON: DTG Printing vs. Screen Printing

How do you choose the best method for printing your custom t-shirts? There are so many options out there it may be difficult in deciding which kind of printing is best for you. Two of the most popular choices are screen printing and Direct to Garment or DTG. The best method to choose depends on the design, number of shirts needed, and budget. To help you decide, we’ve put together a guide of how both of these methods work and which one may be suited to your needs.

How Screen Printing Works

Screen printing is the process of forcing ink onto the garment through a prepared screen of fine material so as to create a picture or pattern. First, the design is transferred to the screen using a photo emulsion process. Each color requires transferring a different part of the design to an additional screen. Next, the press is set up in alignment with the placement on the garment. A squeegee is used to push ink through the mesh screen to transfer the design onto the garment. This step is repeated for each color before the ink and material are cured by heat.

How Direct to Garment Printing Works

Direct to Garment printing is a process of printing on textiles and garments using specialized or modified inkjet technology, much like a printer you may have in your home. First, the printer is set up in accordance with your placement and product. Your design is uploaded to a computer then sent to the printer. Next, the printer transfers the design onto your product. Finally, the ink is sealed to the product to make it lasting.


What kind of design do you have in mind?

Designs suitable to screen printing use few colors and are not intricately detailed. The less colors your design uses, the cheaper the cost will be. Screen printing designs are often simple shapes and do not contain many layers.

If your design is very detailed or has a variety of colors, Direct to Garment printing may be a better choice. The options for colors is extensive and the printer can achieve maximum detail in the design. DTG has the capability to do photographic designs and additional colors are easier to add to the design.

How many shirts are needed?

Screen printing is most suitable for large or bulk orders. Often, the more prints you need of one design, the deeper the discount can be. Many orders have a minimum as well so if you want a small number of Tshirts, screen printing may not be a possibility.

Direct to Garment printing is ideal for orders where only a small number of Tshirts are needed. DTG usually does not require a minimum number and can be printed on-demand.

What is your budget?

Depending on your design and the size of your order, screen printing may be the best option for your budget. Screen printing is the most cost effective for large orders that have a simple, less colorful design.

If your budget or order is smaller, DTG is the way to go. There is often a set price for each print and it requires less time and labor.

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