Screen printing and direct digital printing on fabric are two very different methods of printing on t-shirts. Let’s try to understand the difference between each of them, the pros and cons and decide which one is more suitable for you.
Screen printing, the name of the technology speaks for itself, this is printing using stencils. It is amazing that this technology is already more than two thousand years old! The image is first split into separate layers, one color on each layer. Each of these layers is then transferred to the stencil, and then, one after the other, through the stencils, it is applied one after another to the fabric or the finished T-shirt. After that, the applied image is fixed by high temperature. There are many different types of inks that are used for screen printing, but this is a topic for another article.
Direct digital printing also speaks for itself: an image, unlike screen printing, is printed directly onto the product without any intermediate forms. Just think, a huge inkjet printer with a T-shirt inside, in which all colors are printed directly on the product at the same time.
So which of these methods is better? We can say for sure that each option is good in its own way. Silk-screen printing on T-shirts is characterized by high wear resistance, the ability to use types of inks with different effects: foil, etching, three-dimensional image, etc. But it has a limit of a dozen colors. It is mainly used for large print runs due to lower prices, but at low volumes it becomes very expensive due to the high cost of printing
Direct digital printing on t-shirts is not limited by the number of colors, and this is a huge plus. For small and single runs, digital printing is cheaper and allows you to print right away on fabric or t-shirt in a few minutes. Multi-color printing or photo printing is no problem.
So, if you need to print a large edition of t-shirts or other clothes, while the image is limited to six colors, then it is more reasonable to choose silk-screen printing due to saving money. If you need to print one, several or a small circulation of T-shirts, the image has many colors or this is a photograph, the order is urgent, and the budget is limited, then it will certainly be better to choose direct digital printing on fabric.