Differences Between DTG and Screen Printing

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Wondering if you should use screen printing or DTG printing for your custom shirts? While both are excellent methods for printing custom designs onto fabrics, there are some important differences between the two. Knowing the nuances of each can help you decide what you’d prefer for your next custom T-shirt project.

What Is DTG Printing?

DTG stands for direct to garment. The process entails using a special digital printer to apply ink onto fabrics, similar to how you use a digital printer to apply a design to paper at home.

When we use DTG printing in Los Angeles at our studio, we use industry-leading printers. This allows us to achieve an amazing level of detail and gorgeous design and print a large number of shirts quickly.

Why Use DTG Printing Instead of Screen Printing?

Because the latest DTG printers have the capacity to handle highly complex images using lots of colors, this type of custom fabric printing is a good choice if you have an elaborate design. You can get brilliant contrast, rich colors, and photograph-like images.

What’s the Drawback?

With DTG printing, you’re only applying a single layer of water-based ink to the garment. As a result, it absorbs well into the fabric and gives you more design flexibility. However, it doesn’t sink as deeply into the fabric as the ink does with screen printing, so your results may not last as long.

What Is Screen Printing?

Screen printing can be a labor-intensive art form. It requires a certain level of skill and experience to get good results. With this method, our printers (people, not machines!) push ink into the fabric through a woven mesh stencil using a foam tool. Screen printing can be done by hand or using equipment, but the general concept remains the same — ink is pushed into the fabric through a stencil.

Why Use Screen Printing Instead of DTG Printing?

With screen printing, it’s a single color per stencil. Once we print the first layer, we use a different stencil and the next color, and so on until the entire image is printed.

There’s more slowness, even when using pressing equipment, and more ink. As a result, you can achieve richer colors and a longer-lasting print. Screen printed shirts are known for their warm, analog quality — the same way you might enjoy the sound of an acoustic guitar over an electric one.

What’s the Drawback?

Because only one ink color is pushed through at a time, it’s harder to achieve a clean overall aesthetic if you have a design that’s super intricate or involves more than a few colors.

At Shirt Agency, we have three automatic ROQ presses, which enable us to take detailed artwork and still create an accurate print. If you have your heart set on screen printed custom apparel but are worried your design is too complex, give us a call. We can do almost anything with both printing methods.

Screen Printing or DTG — Which Is Best?

At Shirt Agency, we’re in love with both. DTG printing is awesome for life-like images and complex designs, while screen printing is a perfect fit for typographic designs and creating a more authentic feel. Both printing methods can be used to create striking results with the right equipment and high-quality inks.

Whether you are interested in screen printing or DTG printing in the Los Angeles area, we can help you get the perfect look for your custom shirts. Call or request a quote today.

And if you don’t live in LA, don’t worry. We print and ship nationwide!