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Q&A: Screen-printing vs. Digital Printing

by Michael Grunseth

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With the holiday season approaching, we want to make sure our customers understand what method of printing they’re ordering for their customized t-shirts, and how to best use each to their advantage on future orders…

For any order we print, we use one of two methods: traditional screen-printing or digital printing. We use these two methods because each has its own strengths, and we can better work with a customer’s design when we have more tools in our toolbox.

Screen-printing:

Screen-printing is the traditional method for printing on fabric. To create the print, we turn your design into a series of stencils, one for each color in your artwork. We then use these stencils, one at a time, to layer ink on the shirts. These layers of ink stay vibrant, even on darker fabrics. If you have four of fewer colors with no shading or gradients, screen-printing is a great way to go. Because screen-printing is a handcrafted process that requires significant set-up, we require a 6 piece minimum for these orders.

Digital Printing:

Digital printing is best used for designs that have a lot of color or detail. To create a digital print, we process your artwork on the computer, then apply the ink colors directly to the surface of the shirt. Because this method does not require screens, we are able to achieve more detail and a finer layer of ink than traditional screen-printing requires. That is why it is our preferred technique for capturing all the detail in your black-and-white photographs or full-color artwork.

About the Author - Michael Grunseth


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Maximus T's January 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm

You can dry both type of shirts in a dryer. But, if you are going to iron the screen printed shirt, you want to turn it inside out, the iron will melt the paint. As for the digital print shirt, you can dry it, iron it and nothing will happen. With a digital print tshirt, the ink blends into the fibers of the shirt, creating a nice soft feel, not that heavy paint feel you get from screen printing.

clothing blanks wholesale January 3, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Do either of these printing methods require more care taken with the t-shirts made through the process? Like can you dry them in the dryer or do you need to air dry them? Also can you iron the t-shirts or will that hurt the design?

digital printing show December 1, 2011 at 10:37 am

Nice post. No doubt digital printing has, in recent years, emerged as a strong growth technology. But for quality,although the gap is narrowing, the quality of offset printing is still superior to digital printing.

digital printing show December 1, 2011 at 10:36 am

Nice post.Digital printing involves the artwork being process by a computer, and then printed directly onto the surface of the product. Screen printing is the best option for designs that require a high level of vibrancy, when printing on dark shirts, or specialty products. The ink in screen printing is applied thicker than digital printing, which results in brighter colors even on darker shirts. Customer have to choose from the two methods of printing, in order to provide a process that best suits their artwork.

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