Before we list all of the positives and negatives, we would like to give a few definitions, so the picture is completed.
What is DTG Printing
DTG printing involves the use of a digital printer to apply ink directly onto the fabric of the apparel you’re customizing.
What is Screen Printing
Screen printing is the classic, tried-and-true method of pushing ink through a woven mesh stencil onto the fabric.
Pros of DTG Printing
Better option for small batches and one-off pieces (orders of less than 100 pieces)
Maximum detail in design that is easily customized
Extensive color options: DTG is printed using a digital printer, it has less color limitations than screen printing, which allows for more versatility since you are not required to match colors by inks and pantones
DTG prints colors more accurate to the original art file. DTG will match the artist’s original colors
DTG uses a printer to spray the ink into a garment
All of the designs in a batch can be unique
DTG can more accurately depict details without the compromise of knocking a design down into a certain number of colors. This particularly favors heavily colored and illustrated designs, gradients, and even photography
Minimal upfront investment
Most third-party printers have no order minimums for DTG products, so you don’t have to worry about keeping stock. This printing method also enables businesses to use printing services on-demand
Pros of Screen Printing
Cost effective for large batches (100 pieces and more) with just a few limitations
The more product ordered, the cheaper they are. Screen printing can average 1,000 garments and upwards per hour
Saturation is much higher in screen printing
Halftones with higher frequencies can be achieved nicely.
Screen printing layers the ink on top of the fabric
Cons of DTG Printing
Not cost effective for extremely large batches
The DTG printing process is slower than Screen printing when it comes to huge orders
Cons of Screen Printing
Simple designs and shapes are all that can be printed
Setting up the process can take a lot of time (up to a few days)
You have to order in bulk
Narrow number of colors (up to 8) and less cost effective the more colors used
Screen printing has to find the closest pantone match which can cause a bit of variation in design
Large upfront monetary investment
One design per batch
It’s unsustainable in the long run, especially if you want to offer a variety of colorful designs
The most important things to consider when choosing between them:
Are there fine details and/or many colors you want to incorporate? Or is it a simple design with only a few colors?
What is the size of the order – is it quite large or rather small?
Are you willing to invest in the stock upfront?
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