DTG Printing VS. Screen Printing – Do You Know the Difference?

When deciding which printing process to use for your garment artwork, it's critical to understand the differences between these two most common printing techniques: Direct to garment (DTG) and Screen printing. So you may get the best quality result without breaking your pocket.

As they say, the first step toward happy consumers and the ability to scale your business bigger is to give excellent quality products.

Topics discussed in this blog:
  • Screen printing vs. DTG: A Brief Comparison
  • Advantages of screen printing
  • Disadvantages of screen printing
  • Advantages of DTG printing
  • Disadvantages of DTG printing
  • Best design type for Screen Printing & DTG
  • Final thought: Cost Breakdown

Screen printing vs. DTG: A Brief Comparison

The most popular garment printing is screen printing. It's a flexible method you can apply for short and long runs. It creates exceptional quality prints that are vibrant and prints that last long. However, ordering a screen for each color in your design can make screen printing cost more.

DTG printing is a much newer technology. It enables you to print directly onto clothing using specialized inks run by a computer system. Since the ink sits within the fabric, DTG can create on-point results and exceptional detail.

While both techniques can create excellent outcomes, the two methods may still vary on some points. This guide will show you the pros and cons of screen printing and DTG printing.

Advantage of Screen Printing

Advantages of Screen Printing

Perfect for simple design

Screen printing is the best method if you only need to print simple designs. In general, screen printing works best for artwork with solid color and not photograph-based pictures, making it perfect for printing typography designs, logos, and corporate names.

Ideal for large volumes

One of the advantages of screen printing is that your costs will decrease as you print more products. Screen printing has a lengthy setup step, but it only needs to be done once. This is fantastic if you need to brand many things because your costs won't go up, unlike with other techniques, which are sometimes offered at a flat rate.

Flexibility

When it comes to flexibility, screen printing is truly unmatched. As long as the surface is level, anything can be practically printed.

Durability

Due to the thick layers of ink applied during the printing process, screen-printed designs are typically much more durable as to compare with results from heat press or digital prints. This is especially true when a product will be in direct sunlight, which is a common cause of fading.

Disadvantage of Screen Printing

Disadvantages of Screen Printing

Requires high print volume

While screen printing is perfect for orders in large quantities, it is less economical if you simply need to print a few pieces. Printing in small amounts won't always result in a cost-effective outcome.

Longer setup period

Screen printing is far more challenging to set up compared to digital printing. Because of this, it usually requires a little longer turnaround time than other print techniques.

Limited colors

If you want to create a design with a variety of colors or one that is based on photographs, screen printing is not the best option. Spot colors can be blended quite accurately, but creating precise gradients or shades is challenging.

Summary of Screen Printing
PROS CONS
Great for simple designs May require high print volume
Flexible print material Longer set-up time
Much durable compared to other printing types Limited colors
There are many skilled screen printers in the world, which is beneficial for beginners.

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DTG printing has undoubtedly become more and more popular in recent years. Due to its rising popularity, many people think digital printing is their best alternative.

DTG offers excellent speed, versatility, and precision by using high-quality, digitally based files to produce an image or graphic onto the chosen garments. However, this does not necessarily make it the best print method.

To help you decide wisely before choosing a printing method, this section will examine some of the benefits and drawbacks of DTG printing.

Advantage of DTG

Advantages of DTG

Faster turnaround

You may frequently be given a very tight turnaround time to create the graphic design for your unisex t-shirt and print them. It can be challenging to meet the deadline, so how quickly your printer can complete and deliver is very important.

Due to the lack of setup and manual intervention, DTG offers a quick turnaround time compared to other print methods like screen printing.

Lasting quality

The output quality of any print process is perhaps its most crucial component. DTG guarantees a high-level result with bright colors and precise details.

Cost efficient

DTG printing is a cost-effective choice partly because there is no setup needed. This reduces the labor cost because everything happens in a single procedure. As a result, DTG printing jobs are often much less expensive than their screen printing counterparts.

Environment friendly

Because DTG uses less ink, it is better for the environment. That is to say, ink is never injected anywhere else than where it is needed in the design. This leads to far less trash and a speedier cleanup process.

Ever evolving

Digital printing is constantly changing. Since the early 1990s, when the technology first appeared, it has substantially advanced. In another 30 years, it will be even more powerful.

More accurate proofreading

Digital printing has the advantage of providing picture-perfect, exact proofs before moving forward with printing. You may do all of this knowing that your print expenditure wasn't wasted.

Disadvantage of DTG

Disadvantages of DTG

Garment options

There are a wide range of available fabric that are suited for DTG printing. There are, of course, some materials that are much more suitable when using screen printing, such as polyesters and polycarbonate, which is a popular go-to for custom printing.

Durability

DTG provides a decent level of durability, although there is no guarantee that the print will never fade. A rule of 3-4 years print lasting is expected for DTG. When it comes to durability, screen printing takes the cake.

No reduced costs for bulk orders

Unlike its screen printing counterpart, the cost for a larger order volume for DTG remains the same.

Summary of DTG Printing
PROS CONS
Faster turnaround time Garment Options
Lasting Quality Durability
Cost efficient No reduced costs for bulk orders
Environment Friendly
Ever Evolving
More Accurate Proofing

In Summary: Type of Design Best for
Screen Printing DTG
Designs with less intricate details Detailed designs
Best for typography, logo, or geometric designs. Designs that use lots of colors

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Final thought: Cost Breakdown

Screen printing is frequently the most popular choice when considering the costs of various printing processes. However, as screen printing grows in popularity, so do its drawbacks, most notably the high price of prints and the time required for setup.

While screen printing typically produces superior quality results, it also takes three times as long as DTG. Screen printers can only create 6-12 pieces per hour depending on intricacy, can quickly stack up and become a more expensive option than DTG printing.

The primary reason screen prints are more expensive is that the piece sells them and sometimes requires hefty setup fees to get started, which do not apply to DTG or dye sublimation printing procedures. DTG costs are more consistent throughout. However, screen printers can charge more for elaborate designs.

Because of its low cost and outstanding quality, DTG printing is quickly becoming the most popular alternative for printing bespoke t-shirts and other garments.

DTG printers are an excellent alternative for small businesses and individual consumers who wish to print a few shirts without spending much money because there are no setup expenses.

Furthermore, print firms equipped with these digital printers can make one bella canvas shirt at a time without incurring additional costs.