September 1, 2022 | Screen Printing

Screen Printing Vs. Direct to Garment (DTG): Which is Better?

Screen Printing Vs. Direct to Garment (DTG): Which is Better?, screen printing and embroidery blog

When you’re just starting out as a clothing brand, designing and producing your clothing can seem a little overwhelming.

You must find the right production partners for your designs, ensure everything fits within your budget, and choose the most efficient methods for getting your final product from design to shelf.

It’s not easy to decide which manufacturing processes are best for your brand.

Screen-printing and direct-to-garment (DTG) printing are two commonly used techniques with advantages and disadvantages.

Depending on the nature of your brand, one may be more useful than the other. Let’s examine how these two printing methods differ and which is right for you.

What is Screen Printing?

Screen printing is one of the traditional methods of printing t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other garments.

And for good reason: it’s a very effective way of printing designs on any fabric.

It’s also very cost-effective, which makes it a great option for smaller production runs.

When you screen print, you create a stencil (or a mesh screen) that can be applied to your t-shirt or other garments.

A squeegee is then used to apply ink to the stencil, which transfers it to the fabric. Screen printing is most effective when you’re using one or two (or occasionally more) colors in your design.

Benefits of Screen Printing

Screen printing is the best way to create highly-detailed custom apparel. 

Screen printing also allows you to use a much wider range of colors that printings or DTG machines do not have the capability to print.

Screen printing on t-shirts and other apparel is also extremely durable.

What is Direct to Garment Printing (DTG)?

Whereas screen printing is a very popular fabric printing method, direct to garment printing is a newer technique that has become increasingly common in recent years.

It’s an ideal solution for brands who want to print their designs directly onto fabric that has been pre-treated with a special ink.

Although different from screen printing, DTG is still effective for printing in multiple colors.

You can also use it to print on non-fabric materials like bags, caps, baby bibs, and t-shirts.

The ideal candidate for DTG printing is a brand that wants to print on a single color or a small number of colors.

It’s also a great option for brands that want to print designs on logo-ed garments like caps and bags.

The biggest advantage of DTG printing is that the ink is applied directly to the fabric.

This means that you don’t have to worry about the stencil transferring ink to the wrong areas of the garment.

You’re also guaranteed that your design will appear in the same place on every garment.

With screen printing, you’ll have to make sure that the design is applied to a consistent area of the garment. This can be tricky if you’re printing a design that has intricate details. Screen printing is also applied to the fabric, but it does so through the stencil.

Unfortunately, this means that the design isn’t applied consistently to the fabric.

Cons to Direct to Garment Printing

Like most manufacturing methods, DTG printing does have its drawbacks.

The biggest downside to DTG printing on apparel is the limitations of printers. 

DTG printers, like standard inkjet or laser printers, can only print a certain array of colors.

Because of this DTG printed apparel is not as vibrant as screen-printed apparel.

The biggest issue is that it’s not recommended for white fabrics.

This is because white fabrics are often pre-treated with a brightening agent that is meant to make the fabric appear whiter. Unfortunately, this brightening agent also inhibits direct to garment printing.

If you’re printing on white fabrics, you’ll have to choose between using screen printing or another alternative. Unfortunately, not all methods of printing are effective on colored fabrics. Because DTG printing is applied directly to the fabric, you’re not able to easily remove it.

This can be a problem if you want to reprint the same garment or design on the same fabric. You’ll have to pre-wash the fabric to remove the residual ink and then wait for it to dry before printing again.

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Which is better: DTG Printing or Screen Printing

Screen printing is a very effective technique used to print on almost any type of fabric. However, it does have some drawbacks, including longer production times and the potential for inconsistent print placement.

By contrast, DTG printing is a newer technique that is best for printing on dark fabrics like black or navy and has shorter production times.

Although it’s an effective method, it’s not recommended for printing on white fabrics.

Ultimately, the best method for your brand will depend on your designs and the fabrics you want to print on. With a little research and consideration, you should be able to find the best solution for your clothing brand

As a screen-printing company in St. Louis, we are biased when choosing between Direct to Garment Printing and Screen Printing; however, we also chose to provide screen printing services for a reason.

Screen printing is a very time-consuming process that can be extremely complex, but our desire to provide the most detailed and high-quality custom apparel means we will always choose screen printing over DTG.

If you are looking to start your own custom apparel company, here are a few things to consider:

DTG Printers can be very expensive but the DTG printing process is typically much less complex than screen printing. Screen printing is much more durable than DTG printing, but again, DTG printing is a much faster process.

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