Direct To Garment Printing

DTG vs Screen Printing | The Winner is Announced

Advantages of DTG T-Shirt Printing

DTG t-shirt printing is superior to screen printing onto t-shirts.  This is a bold statement, but it is true. You will see disorganization and filth whenever you walk into a screen printing shop. Equally important, fast forward and visit a direct-to-garment shop. No mess or filth anywhere

DTG Factory with 2 Kornit printers and a dryer
Kornit and NW Custom Apparel partnership since 2011

Review of the facts

Let’s review a few facts about screen printing vs. direct-to-garment printing.

Set up

The direct-to-garment printing setup is as simple as point, click and print. Screen printing entails a separate screen for each color in the design. A 6 color print would take six separate screens for each color coupled with the white under the base. This process will take at least 2 hours. Direct-to-Garment scans the design into the computer and transfers it to the printer. Total set up less than 15 minutes.


Cleaning up is tiring after using the screens. In addition, this is another hour of labor. Moreover, there is no cleanup with DTG. Very efficient.

Environmentally friendly

DTG uses inks that are water-based and environmentally friendly. They meet all the requirements of consumer protection laws. Screen printing uses plastisol inks which do contain carcinogenic materials. These materials have been known to cause cancer if breathed in for any period. Water-based inks produce a soft hand and smooth finish. The fabric has no stiffness as water-based ink is absorbed by the fabric and not painted on.
Re-orders are a big problem with screen printing. For example, a customer wants a 6-piece fill-in order with six colors. The time to do this is at least 2 hours. If you do it with the DTG method, it takes about 6 minutes. Again no mess to clean up.


Semi Truck Printed on a DTG shirt
Photographs of trucks can be printed via DTG.

Equally important, samples with direct-to-garment are far superior to screen printing. Can you imagine the problems of introducing a new line of decorated apparel? DTG goes directly from the artist’s drawing board to the garment. Slam dunk. A sample run with DTG can be done in a day. A sample run using screen printing can take days or more.
In conclusion, DTG printing is the Winner over screen printing. Likewise, more research will come in future blogs.


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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