Blog, Direct To Garment Printing, Industry Tips, Same Day Printed Shirts, T-Shirts

How to decide between Screen printing vs. DTG Digital Printing (DTG)


Now, how in the world do you tell which kind of printing you should use? Both screen printing and Direct to garment printing have their own qualities and specifications which makes easier for you to decide which way of printing to use in which case. Here are some scenarios by which you will find that it’s actually not that hard to decide…

Screen Printing

Screen printing is exactly what the name states, printing with a screen. Your artwork is first broken down into separate layers, one color on each layer. Each of these layers is then transferred on to a screen, and the design is burned in. This burning process makes holes in the mesh of the screen so that when ink is pulled across the screen, it gets pushed through the mesh and onto your t-shirt. This is repeated for each of the layers(and colors) until the whole design is finished.

Screen Printing machine for T-shirts

If you…

Are printing a large number of shirts

Have artwork that is 6 colors or less

Are looking for high quality, long lasting prints

Need exact color matching

Then I suggest you go with screen printing. It will take care of all of these and then some.

Direct to garment printing (DTG)

Direct to garment printing is a digital print of your artwork directly on to the shirt (hence the name). Think of a huge ink jet printer with your shirt inside of it, that is basically what happens when using this method of printing. Unlike screen printing, all of the colors are printed at the same time and there are no screens or different kinds of ink involved.

dtg-printer-machineIf you…

Are only printing a few shirts

Have artwork with lots of colors and/or shading

Have a small budget

Don’t need colors to be matched

Then DTG might be a better option for you. It will save you money and still deliver what you need.


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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