Question: Is it better to use a traditional screen print or use direct-to-garment printing for custom t-shirts?

Answer: The answer to this question depends on many factors, including your design, your budget, the number of shirts you need, the quality and accuracy of the print, and the number of colors in your design. It’s best to talk with an expert, someone who can answer your specific questions and share their knowledge about both of these printing processes.

Screen printing has been in existence for hundreds of years, while Direct-to-garment printing is a relatively new technology being first introduced approximately 20 years ago. There have been many advancements in screen printing; however, the basic process (pushing ink through a screen) has remained virtually the same. The technology for Direct-to-Garment printing is ever-changing as more advanced features are being introduced regularly.

Both screen printing and Direct to Garment (DTG) printing offer many options when it comes to the final printing of your design and both offer very high-quality professional results when done properly. Choosing which is right for you really depends on your needs. In both cases, you should get a fantastic finished product, however, some jobs lend themselves to screen printing while some lend themselves to Direct-to-garment.  Again, talking with an expert can help you easily make that decision. Below are some pros and cons to help you out.

Here are the pros and cons of each technique.

The pros and cons of Direct to Garment printing

  • T-shirts can be printed on-demand when using DTG (direct to garment printing).
  • Print Quality from DTG printers is Great and the designs are very durable. No peeling or cracking.
  • The process is very clean, no screens and no set up.
  • Cutting Edge Technology.
  • Basically an unlimited range of color options and highly detailed prints.
  • Perfect when a low quantity of shirts is needed.
  • Fast Turn-around time.

The Cons of Direct to Garment printing.

  • Not very cost effective for large orders.
  • Limited options for placement of your designs.
  • Varying levels of print quality when printing on different garment types and fabrics.

The Pros of screen printing.

  • Excellent for high volume orders.
  • Very Versatile.  Will work on just about any type of fabric.
  • If you start with very good quality artwork you will get a very professional finish.
  • Multiple types of inks and finishes available.
  • Pantone color matching available.

The Cons of Screen Printing.

  • Can be expensive for small orders
  • Can be time consuming with set-up and prep.
  • Limit on amount of colors that can be used.