Many companies offer various forms of printing. The two main types that can be done through companies or at home are digital printing and screen printing. It may be difficult to know which one is best for a design on clothing. Many larger companies like Custom Ink will decide for the customer which method is preferable.
The main difference between the two methods is the machines and the result they deliver. Digital printing can be more detailed whereas screen printing is easier to reproduce. Choosing the right method is important for a desirable finished product.
Digital printing also known as direct-to-garment (DTG) is taking an image that is on the computer and forming it to the t-shirt. This method puts the design into the fabric and allows it to be interwoven. This method is different than heat transfer printing, which puts the design on top of the t-shirt. Digital printing machines work to interweave the design into the fabric.
The digital printing method has many steps to it but it all starts with a design. This design is uploaded to a computer. An example is a photo or a complex, detailed design.
For smaller to medium size projects, digital printing is a very affordable option through a company. If done at home, digital printers can cost a significant chunk of change. This method allows custom projects to come to life with minimal hassle. Digital printing saves time. Sometimes time is of concern like the saying time is money. Multiple shirts can be printed quickly in a matter of an hour at home.
Screen press printing transfers ink using a method similar to a stencil. This method uses multiple layers of ink and pigment on top of each other. The goal of screen printing is to transfer an image or design onto an object like a t-shirt much like the goal of digital printing.
The screen printing method is using ink and a stencil-like screen to imprint designs onto a cloth. Screen printing can be done by hand or using a screen printing machine. Large companies have mass production screen printing machines. After the design is on the piece of clothing, it dries either natural or it is sealed. This method allows for a durable print that can last years on end.
For large projects, screen printing is the most affordable and cost-effective way from start to end. If one or two shirts are being made, screen printing is a large investment. At-home screen printing has lots of equipment. Screen printing is more affordable the fewer colors used in the design. IF the design has multiple colors then this can hike up the price.
Both digital printing and screen printing offer benefits and drawbacks. It is important to understand which one might be better for various types of projects.