Should I Use DTG or Screen Printing?

The two top dog methods in the printing industry are Direct-to-Garment and screen printing. As with everything, there are definite advantages to each. Depending on the type of artwork you want to slap on your garment, the type of garments you’re printing on, and of course the volume of your order.

Without further adieu, let’s jump right into it.

DTG (Direct-to-Garment)

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Kicking it off with the latest form of printing technology. We can bet to see huge technological advancements to this printing method in the following years to come. Most likely being the time frame of a print in process being cut down by half, which means for pushing production.

For this technology, there are no limitations when it comes to the colour range. You can easily print super fine detailed designs or even photorealistic images onto your garments. Without the printer even breaking a sweat. This is one of the aspects that makes this printing method so extremely appealing to most consumers. Colour counts on your design do not affect pricing either. For bands/brands that have intricate, colourful and super detailed prints, this one is definitely for you!

Orders with lower quantities or even one-off prints are doable with DTG printing since there’s literally no setup costs involved. This is a huge advantage that this printing method has over screen printing, you can do sample prints and see what your artwork looks like on a shirt, and if you’re keen on doing a re-run on that specific design it’s as easy as one, two, three and the printer can re-print your artwork for you.

Click this link to see an example of DTG printing.

So how does this awesome printing method work its magic you may ask?

A DTG printer lets you render images in high-resolution, fine and intricate details, and literally the full-colour spectrum. This means for super crisp, vibrant and highly detailed prints onto your garments, so to achieve the best results, and we can’t stress this enough, always make sure your artwork is as high-res as possible.

Another huge advantage is a quicker turn time. Compared to other printing methods, DTG printing offers the quickest turnaround time by leaps and bounds, with almost no setup costs, since you don’t have to colour-separate or vectorize artwork. With DTG, you could prepare, print, and cure 10 shirts in under 30 minutes; comparatively, screen printing a five-colour job on 10 shirts could take at least 30 minutes, from separations to clean up.

Custom is the way to go.

With customization and personalization trends continuing to be top of mind at retail. You can fulfil highly custom and personal orders with a DTG printer. Competing with online T-shirt companies and even starting your very own online store if you have a reliable printer to source your printing work from. You don’t have to deal with stockpiling up or take the risk of up-front costs, and print your merchandise on-demand as orders come through.

SCREEN PRINTING

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Screen printing is more cost-effective for larger runs of simpler designs with fewer colours. However, this method isn’t as budget-conscious for multi-colour designs, and you can only print one design run per set of screens you set up.

Click this link to see an example of screen printing.

How does this printing method work?

To give a brief explanation; ink is pushed through a mesh screen onto fabric and the ink then lays on top of the product.

A screen has to be manufactured for each individual element of your design. Once that’s done, the colours and elements of the design are applied layer by layer onto the garment.

The longer setup time is the reason screen printing is primarily used to print in bulk. It’s not cost-effective to print only a t-shirt or two if it’s taken hours to create the stencils for your design. Hence the reason that most printing companies have minimum order quantities when it comes to this printing method.

One-colour designs.

Screen printing is an ideal choice for simple designs with few colours – like logos, graphics, or text. Screen printing might not be the right fit for designs with a lot of colours and while you can achieve fairly accurate and very vibrant spot colours, gradients or shades are way harder to achieve since the colours are being separated and vectorized manually.

High quantity runs.

With each colour you add to your print, setup takes more time, because screen printing has more setup steps than other digital printing methods, like DTG. However, the more T-shirts you print, for example, the lower your time, labour, or other cost investments. Example: If you’re printing in bulk for a music festival or you want to stock up for your clothing line, screen printing is a great method to make use of.

CONCLUSION

Screen printing can be the cost-effective route for designs with simple graphics, and ideally no more than 5 colours, but it does require upfront investments. Most printing companies have order minimums that can be anywhere from 25 to 100 items.

The final price of your screen printing bulk order is based on the number of colours in your designs and the screens needed to fulfil your order.

Ordering in bulk also means you’ll have to make sure you have enough storage space to store your merch. Unless your cool with merch boxes standing around your house of course.

You’ll also need to consider whether there’s a big enough demand for your merch. Will you be able to sell your products and not sit with dead stock? This aspect can be difficult to predict for new bands who just entered the merchandising industry. Do your research to see if there is a demand from your fan base. An easy one is to just throw a post on your social channels and see what the responses are.

DTG on the other hand is a hassle-free way to get your merch ready!

Most printers have no order minimums for DTG printing, so you don’t have to worry about sitting around with dead stock if your merch doesn’t sell out straight away.

This printing method also enables bands and brands to use printing services on-demand.

With DTG, the entire design is printed in one go. And since DTG doesn’t have a colour count, there’s no extra setup time to start printing, your order gets fulfilled as soon as the print file is received by the factory.

That was a long one guys, so what will it be for your band or brand? DTG or screen printing? If you still have any questions regarding these printing methods, shoot our team a mail and we will help you out!