Digital Printing vs Screen Printing: Fabric Printing Methods
Screenprinting and digital printing are both fabric printing methods that you can use to create custom t-shirts, hats, bags, aprons-- really any type of screen printed or digitally printed items. While screenprinting is the more traditional method, digital printing has become popular in recent years because it's cheaper and more environmentally friendly. But how do they compare? Read on to learn about the similarities and differences between screenprinting vs. digital printing!
What is screen printing?
The screen printing process is a fabric printing method that uses a screen to transfer ink onto a substrate (ie. your garment). A screen is made up of a mesh fabric that's covered in an impermeable substance, such as vinyl. The design is then created by drawing on the screen with a squeegee. Ink is then forced through the screen and onto the substrate, leaving the screen clean and the garment covered with ink. The screens for a screenprint have a maximum print area of 22" x 24".
What is digital printing?
Digital Printing, also called direct to garment printing (DTG) or all-over sublimation, uses a printer instead of a screen to transfer ink onto a substrate. The digital files or digital image(s) are sent directly from your computer to an inkjet printer that prints on fabric using a digital printing process. Because there's no screen involved, digital printing is able to print much more detailed and accurate designs than traditional screen printing.
Digital Printing is also more versatile because you either print on specific placements or choose to print a repeated/ allover print onto the fabric yardage. Kind of like making wallpaper. You would print the wallpaper first-- so that if there's a seam, it just doesn't awkwardly get cut off or stop, but continues seamlessly into the seam. Then, you would cut and sew the fabric with the printed roll of material.
What are the benefits of screen printing?
- Screenprinting is a very affordable fabric printing method
- Screenprinted garments have a classic look and feel that digital prints can't replicate
- Screenprints are extremely durable and last for a very long time
- It's easy to screenprint on lots of different types of fabric, such as cotton, polyester blends and nylon
What are the benefits of digital printing?
- Digital prints look more professional than screenprinted designs because your design is printed directly onto the garment-- resulting in sharper lines that don't fade over time
- Digital printing is more environmentally friendly because there's no need for screens, ink or solvents and its possible to use water-based ink
- You can print very small quantities of digital prints without having a minimum order quantity like you do with screenprinted designs
Digital Printing vs. Screen Printing: Costs Comparison
Screenprinting is the more affordable option of the two fabric printing methods. The cost of screenprinting is determined by the number of colors in your design, while digital printing is a flat fee per print. So, if you have a complex design with a wide range of colors, digital printing will be more affordable than screenprinting. However, if you have a simpler design with just one or two colors, digital printing will be cheaper.
Digital Printing vs. Screen Printing: The Benefits of Each
Now that you know the differences between screenprinting and digital printing, which type of printing is right for you? Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to screenprint or digitally print your garments:
- If you want a classic, timeless look, screenprinting is the way to go.
- If you need a durable print that will last for a long time, screenprinting is the best option.
- If you want to print on lots of different types of fabric, screenprinting is your best bet.
- If you need a small number of prints, digital printing is the way to go because there is often a lower minimum order requirement.
- If you want a professional, high-quality print, digital printing is the best option.
So, what's the verdict? Screenprinting or digital printing? It really depends on your needs and what you're looking for in a printed garment. If you have any questions about screenprinting or digital printing, feel free to send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How we can help with your custom printing needs
Here at BOMME STUDIO, we work with our trusted partners in LA for both screenprinting and digital printing services. You may choose to purchase and send your own fabric for printing or select from our in-stock fabrics.
We offer a flat $250 Outside Service/setup fee which would include our team managing/transporting the project for you and providing you with your sample yardage or screenprint sample for approval.
SAMPLE DEVELOPMENT CLIENTS
If you would like to develop your clothing sample using digitally printed fabrics, you will require 4 yards of material ($48).
Apparel Production Clients
Printing is calculated at $3.50 per yard and requires a 500-yard roll, ($1750). For context, 500-yards will provide you with enough fabric for ~250 sweatshirts/hoodies.
Please note that the costs above are only for the printing services and does not include the price of your fabric. If you find a more competitive price for printing, you're more than welcome to handle it outside of our studio and bring us the printed fabric to work with during your project.