What is the difference between digital printing and screen printing

What is the difference between digital printing and screen printing for your custom t-shirts

Are you thinking of customizing t-shirts with your company logo? To do this you have two types of printing available: digital and screen printing. Choosing between one and the other isn’t easy, and the decision must also be made taking into consideration the fabric and color of the t-shirts you choose, and the type of design you want to create. As we do screen printing in Dallas, let’s try to understand the difference between digital and screen printing and which technique is best suited to your needs.

How screen printing works: A versatile technique for your clothing

Since it hit the market in the 1970s,  screen printing has been the most used to personalize T-shirts and other types of clothing.

The process is based on the use of  screen printing frames , i.e. squares of permeable fabric placed on wooden or metal squares. Before printing a logo, you need to create a frame for each color  in the design.

In the actual printing phase, the frame is adhered to the t-shirt , and the color sticks to the fabric. This process must be repeated for each color level. In the final stage, the ink must be allowed to dry.

It is the only printing technique that allows you to define the ink thickness you intend to obtain. A prerogative that makes it highly appreciated in the field of prints for industrial decoration activities . It also allows the use of an articulated variety of inks.

The possibility of using it on numerous supports makes it a technique used in many contexts and projects. In any case, it represents the most appreciated solution when it comes to proceeding with printing on fabric. It is almost a standard when printing on t-shirts , even in case of large quantities. On the other hand, it is not frequently adopted on paper.

The advantages of screen printing

Screen printing has numerous advantages. We have identified some of them:

  • The more you print the less you spend. Since the operation is largely automatic, maintenance costs will not increase much with large quantity orders.
  • Given the method of operation, it is ideal for simple designs up to 7 colors, in four-color or single-color.
  • It’s suitable for usage with any material.
  • Durability is an advantage of this technique , because direct printing on fabric can last even 100 washes if you follow some precautions, wash at a maximum of 30 degrees and iron inside out, we also advise against the use of bleach.
  • The chromatic shades are vivid on numerous supports and this confirms the versatility of this solution.

The disadvantages of screen printing: what you need to watch out for

If you are going to rely on screen printing, consider that there are also disadvantages:

  • It should be used above all for orders of a certain size , since a certain type of work is needed to prepare the frames. We recommend it for 15 t-shirts and up.
  • Colors are limited. Since a specific frame must be prepared for each hue, making extremely colorful prints can be very expensive.
  • Photos cannot be printed . The photos are in fact very different from the traditional drawings. We have much more detail and there are many outlines that are difficult to reproduce with screen printing techniques.
  • Logos that are too small are difficult to print . When the drawing is too small it becomes difficult to bring all the details.

Digital print

Digital printing is one of the most innovative techniques for customizing your t-shirts. It works very simply: all you have to do is insert the t-shirt you want to apply the logo onto into the printer, and wait a few minutes. The colors are not fixed one at a time on the fabrics, but all together, and with a type of ink that is easily absorbed.

Because digital printing has conquered the market

Digital printing is one of the most innovative techniques for customizing your t-shirts.

It works in a very simple way: all you have to do is insert the shirt on which you want to apply the logo into the printer, and wait a few minutes. The colors are not fixed one at a time on the fabrics, but all together, and with a type of ink that is easily absorbed.

From a technical point of view, there are various types of digital printing. Depending on the product, the most effective technologies will be applied. Moreover, it lends itself to various supports, from PVC to paper.

It does not provide for the use of matrix and this allows the use of this technique also for editions involving a limited number of copies. Within digital printing we encounter different techniques, namely toner and inkjet printing.

Screen or digital printing? The advantages of digital techniques

This technique will allow you to have different types of advantages:

  • The design possibilities are endless . Since the ink is applied directly to fabrics, you can let your creativity run wild.
  • You can also print photos.
  • It is also recommended for  small orders , as the setup procedure is very simple. In fact, it was also developed to prove economically advantageous. It is used for limited runs so as to minimize the costs incurred.

How does digital printing work? The (few) disadvantages should not be underestimated

It must be considered that digital printing is not suitable for all types of fabrics : although it is perfect for cotton garments, it may not guarantee optimal results on synthetic fabrics.

In fact, the ink used with this technique is not completely absorbed by the paper supports, remaining on the surface. And this could have negative consequences in the long term as regards the wear processes of paper products.

How many types of printing are there? The other technical solutions

Digital and screen printing are just two of the printing techniques. Among other solutions we find offset printing , in which the ink is transferred to the printing material using a silicone roller. From a technical point of view it is a planographic technique. What does this term mean? As can perhaps be guessed, the offset technique requires that the parts without ink and those to be inked are placed on the same plane. The matrix, in this case, is represented by an aluminum sheet.

Among the main advantages we find an appreciable level of precision and excellent performance even on delicate supports. It is a printing technique used above all in the industrial field, when very large quantities are printed .

Letterpress printing , on the other hand, is tied to the origins of printing processes. A flat relief matrix is ​​used. This is inked and the printing system exerts pressure on the sheet that will be placed on top of the matrix. When is it used? It is mainly used for high quality prints, as it guarantees a fascinating material effect.

Production times are extended and costs are high. Prerogatives that are suitable for particularly sophisticated printing initiatives , although it can be adopted for those who want to amaze with business cards.

Each technique provides opportunities and limits, which must be evaluated according to the project to be given shape. The support of industry professionals is necessary to find the solution that best adapts to the initiative you plan to implement. Improvisation only leads to waste of time and money.

Do you want to take advantage of the best printing solution for customizing your gadgets and clothing? Get in touch with our team and we will guide you towards the product that will allow you to turn your project into reality!

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