So you’re looking for a shirt with a design on it, but you’re not sure if you should screen-print the design or use digital/direct-to-garment (DTG) printing. Determining the best choice is easy when you understand the differences in the two processes.

Screen Printing

The name “screen printing” is derived from the fact that a screen is used in applying the design. Specifically, a stencil is used; which is placed on the garment, color ink is applied and squeegeed across the screen, the ink fills the stencil and colors the fabric, and anything not in the design is blocked by the screen part of the stencil. A clean, crisp design is what remains.
Technically, more than one color could be applied using screen printing, but more than one stencil would be needed as well. Instead of the costs of just one design cut into a screen, you would need two or more. Also, a stencil allows for some detail, but not intricacies. Finally, because a stencil is used, the design is static.

For your reference:

Pros:

  • Volume discounts typically available
  • Cost effective
  • Durable (better for multiple wears and different garment types)
  • Flexibility with icon’s location on garment

Cons:

  • Typically minimum orders of 12 are required

DTG Printing

DTG Printing uses a printer not unlike the one you might have at home for printing on paper. However, a DTG printer is, of course, specifically made for printing on fabric. Creating a custom garment with DTG involves uploading the design to a computer, loading the desired garment into the printer, and letting it do its thing. Because it is a machine, it does allow for intricacies so it can print with great detail. And because changing the design is as easy as changing the image on a computer, there’s more flexibility within a batch. The printer can also apply more than one color at a time.

However, there are still limitations with DTG printing which mostly concern costs. There is also one color limitation, in that the printer does not usually use white ink. And while you might not think it’d be the case, what with having to make the screens and apply the ink for screen printing, DTG often takes longer. Think of how long your printer takes when you print out a full color page on the highest-quality possible printing setting, and you’ll get the idea.

For your reference:

Pros:

  • Perfect for smaller orders including a single shirt

Cons:

  • Not suitable for bulk orders
  • Limited design placement
  • Ink is more expensive
  • Ink does not hold up as well after multiple washes
  • Print time is longer
  • Shirts are more expensive

TeamLine
When it comes to outfitting sports teams, a school band or other groups, screen printing is your best option. It is more cost effective than DTG, especially when you order in large volume, and the results are very durable – making screen printing ideal for athletic uses. When it comes to screen printing, TeamLine is your best option! We have outfitted sports team throughout Texas and have the experience to work with you to create an ideal design for your organization and produce all the screen-printed gear you need. Please contact us today!