Screen print vs DTG: Which is the right choice for your apparel?

Screen Printing copy

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When it comes to printing shirts, two of the most common methods are Screen Printing and Direct-to-Garment (DTG) printing. While both are great options, each has its pros and cons which you should consider when ordering shirts! 

 

Screen Printing

 

IMG 8250

 

What is it? 

Screen printing is a method where ink is spread over and pushed through a woven polyester-fabric screen onto apparel. For each color in a design, a different screen is created and used, and the colors are layered on top of each other. The ink we use for screen printing is plastisol ink, which comes in hundreds of colors and can be mixed to create unique colors. The ink is cured on the shirts using a large curing dryer, which helps make the ink sturdy and last longer.  

 

What designs work best? 

Screen printing works best with solid graphics without small details, but with careful stenciling we can print smaller texts and shapes. If your design has fine details, our graphic designers and screen printers can work with you to ensure that the design printed on the shirts matches your original as closely as possible. Screen printing is usually used for designs with few colors, as each color requires its own screen to be made. Too many layers of colors can cause the design to look thick, but this is also due to the sturdiness of the ink. 

 

Cost-effective? 

Screen printing is perfect for large orders. At Edge Printed Products we have an order minimum of 36 pieces per design, with a maximum of 7 colors per design, though you can mix and match apparel pieces. Screen printing also comes with a fee to cover the ink and manual labor required to produce the apparel.

 

Direct-to-Garment Printing

 

IMG 8257.CR2

 

What is it?

Direct-to-garment, or DTG, is a printing method that sprays the ink onto the garment – which then soaks into the fibers of the fabric. It’s like a paper printer for clothing! With DTG printers, the entire design is printed on your shirt in one single pass, like on a paper printer, but then the DTG printer goes over the image again to define and sharpen the color and design. 

 

What designs work best?

DTG printing is perfect for designs which consist of multiple colors and complex designs. DTG allows you to put a photorealistic image onto a piece of apparel without losing quality. This is a fast and convenient process that works great for small orders and for customers who want to print a design with a lot of different colors,  without making a large investment. DTG only requires a single .png file of a logo or image to create a shirt. 

 

Cost-effective?

DTG Printing is a great printing method if you are looking to get a small amount of apparel or custom tees. At Edge Printed Products, we do not have a minimum for orders that are placed to be printed with DTG. Direct-to-Garment printing also works best on apparel that is 100% cotton, so keep this in mind when choosing your apparel. However, we can work with you to print on blended fabrics if you have a certain piece of apparel you really like! 

 

Screen Printing vs DTG

 

DTG Screen
DTG print vs Screen print

 

Both Screen Printing and DTG offer great prints for your shirts, but which one is best for you? 

  • Screen printing offers bright, vibrant prints with a max number of colors per design. The designs are durable and less likely to fade. Screen printing is recommended for large orders, and for shirts that are made of blended materials.  
  • DTG works best with designs that demand full-color, shadows or clean gradients as well as photographs or high-resolution images, however elements that are less than 100% opaque don’t translate well in DTG printing. DTG printing is ideal for small orders and one-off custom designs. 

 

Screen Printing DTG
High-quality prints Yes Yes
Unlimited color palette No Yes
Detailed designs Yes (with approval) Yes
Order minimums Yes No
Pre-Print Setup Yes No

 

At Edge Printed Products, we are happy to help you decide which printing process is best for you if you are unsure! No matter how many shirts you need or what your design looks like, we’ve got the tools and the team to offer you the best quality and price for your custom apparel! 

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