Author Topic: Screen printing vs DTG  (Read 3312 times)


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Screen printing vs DTG
« on: September 05, 2019, 07:53:08 AM »

My active mind was restless tonight again so I thought to put together this write up and hope someone in our printing community will learn from it.

When starting a t-shirt printing business one of the first things  to consider is your target market which then help us decide the best printing method.

Today, there are numerous options out there. Each oneís different and has its own characteristics, benefit and demerits. Direct to Garment (DTG) and screen printing are among the most popular options however.

I have been asked if a setup can print t-shirts using the DTG method only? and my answer is Yes depending again on your business model- someone selling T-shirts online really will need various designs that can even be just one piece at a time. For that setup itís DTG all the way, but we are in Nigeria and everything must be cheaper right?

For the less urgent, same design bulk orders then I will go for screen printing.

My first point is that screen and DTG printing are quite complimentary and one will not replace the other.

Letís now try to shed some light on the differences between each method so you can define what is best for you!

With screen printing, only one color can be applied at a time. Therefore, the number of colors on a t-shirt is limited, and each color requires more time, another screen and stencil, and ultimately, more money. Thatís why screen printing is a good choice for simple designs with one solid color, and when youíre making many t-shirts of the same design at a time (eg. for a sports team, summer camp, political campaigns or religious event).
How can you get yourself screen printed t-shirts?

The cost of printing is lower as the volume increases simply because the preparation cost of the mesh is constant for different volume. The variant can be with plastisol inks which is the easiest to use, or waterbased inks which give a better hand feel or even discharge inks which is best for fashion brands with no hand feel at all or glow in the dark, glittering effect etc.

Screen printing can cover a very wide range of applications but a very professional operator is needed to get the best out of the equipment.

With DTG printing, a printer directly applies the ink onto the t-shirt with inkjet technology. Itís sort of like printing on paper. A special printer prints the ink directly onto the garment in the desired design. DTG uses specialty water-based inks, which are absorbed by the fibers of the garment.
Since the DTG printer is as precise as, well, a printer, youíre able to print images in much higher detail than screen printing, and youíre not limited in color. Because the printer can print any image, you have a lot of options to customize your design.
This form of Tshirt printing is easier to start with little or no experience

A question we always have to answer is;

Which printing method is best?

Screen printing and DTG both yield comparable, quality prints, but they differ in method. For one, screen printing is one of the oldest techniques, while DTG is newer technology. Screen printing involves pushing ink onto fabric, while DTG uses a printer to print ink directly onto a garment.

Cost per print for screen printing are cheaper than DTG so if you are in a price sensitive sector you need to note that but again the flexibility and possibilities of DTG are sure too numerous to ignore.

The decision on which technology ultimately comes down to your design, the target customer and the quantity you need.

Thanks for your time
Akin Oduwole
Technology Global