29 Jul What is the difference between Digital Direct-to-Garment (DTG) Printing and Screen Printing?
DTG is great for smaller quantities; since it’s a lot like a home paper printer there is very little setup involved. Load up a shirt, and hit ‘print’. We always recommend the DTG process for small quantities when quality and garment choice are not as big of a concern as price or speed.
Screen printing requires a bit of set-up, but the process allows for a wider variety of inks, both in terms of colour variety and material. Bright and accurate colours make every design stand out, where-as some processes can leave your logo/design looking like an iron-on from a cereal box.
Pretty much every dot of ink from a DTG printer is made from a mix of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK) inks. When being Screen Printed, each colour is pre-mixed and printed directly onto the garment.
Why does this matter? DTG inks need to be thin enough to spray through the tiny heads of the printer, the inks can’t be as opaque or bright. Since DTG printers use a mix of CMYK inks, they are limited to the colours that CMYK can mix – which is a far narrower spectrum than our eyes can see, or that can be achieved with Pantone colours. Using fluorescent pigments lets Screen Printers nudge colours to be even brighter than the Pantone spectrum, too.
While DTG printers use waterbased inks, it’s important to note that waterbased inks are not exclusive to the digital process. Screen Printing with waterbased inks yields the same advantages as DTG printing with softer prints, but Screen Printing inks are more opaque with brighter pigments, and better colour accuracy and wider range of colour than inks for digital printers.