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DTG vs. Screen Printing

Posted by Jordan Kovatch on

DTG vs. Screen Printing 

What is DTG? 

Direct to garment printing is a method that uses a digital printer to spray ink directly on the shirt. The inks soak into the material just as paper printing works. When printing on black shirts, a white layer is needed, which affects the overall feel of the shirt. Most DTG printers can do the job without heavy equipment, but does not compare to the quality of screen printed apparel.

  • This method is ideal for small runs 
  • There is usually no set up or minimums
  • Print has more limitations in sizing/placement
  • Can print wide range of colors and blends
  • Best for photo realistic designs


What is Screen Printing?

Screen printing is the method of pushing inks through a woven mesh into or on top of the garment, depending on inks. This method offers both bold bright plastisol and soft hand water based inks. When printing solid areas of colors, like a ying yang symbol or Texas flag, screen printing is the best route to take. Spot color printing is standard and can be achieved with minimal screens, depending on the design. This process prints each area of color independently to get you a solid, bold print that can be worn for years.

You can print full color images, even photos with screen printing using a special process. Process printing (using small dots to give off gradients and values) allows you to print all the colors with a set amount of screens.There is the CMYK method that prints just like a paper printer does, using small dots of cyan, yellow, magenta, and black, mixing together to give off the appearance of color range. This method is ideal for lighter colored shirts. For full color graphics that may have spot color areas, there is simulated process. This takes a range of 9-10 colors and mixes them to get the values and hues of your design. When done properly, the design is solid and full colored without losing any quality. This method is ideal for full color paintings and designs where colors blend together.

For larger runs or more simple graphics, this method can get you a long lasting print that is bold and true to color that you would be proud to sell. When printing full color designs, the price can be higher, but at 100+ the prices tend to work better with budgets. If you are looking for under 50 full color shirts, then screen printing may not be the right direction.

  • This method is ideal for larger runs 
  • More affordable per shirt cost 
  • Different ink options (depending on your desired look & feel)
  • Can print wide range of colors and blends
  • Best for bold prints 

  • screen printing
  • dtg

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