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What is The Difference Between Screen and Digital Print?

Customers commonly ask, which is better, screen printing or digital printing? This is not necessarily an easy question to answer, because there are so many factors that go into choosing the proper printing process for each design or order. Since both processes yield great results, determining your current needs is the best way to choose.

Screen printing has been around for decades and is the most commonly known printing process. Screen printing has several steps, starting with making your design a stencil and placing it on a screen, similar to a screen door but with a much finer mesh. The printers then place ink on top of the screen and push it through onto the shirt. If your design has multiple colors, a new screen must be made for each color. Once all of the components of your design are printed the shirts are dried with high heat to ensure that the ink bonds to the fabric.


  • More vibrant colors, especially on dark shirts
  • PMS (Pantone) color matching
  • Thicker ink
  • Highly durable
  • Very economical for large orders
  • Easier to print in specific locations
  • Specialty inks available, like metallic, glitter, glow-in-the-dark, neon
  • No fabric limitations


  • Minimum quantity on orders
  • Extremely high detail (like a photo) can be difficult to achieve
  • Large designs could feel rubbery or too thick

Want to see a video of our Screen Printing Process? Click HERE


Digital printing (also known as DTG or Direct-To-Garment) is a newer, more high-tech process that uses the help of a computer to send your image straight to the printing machine. The digital printing machine applies the ink directly to the garment, similar to how a computer printer prints on paper. The digital printer uses CMYK color matching and can print all of the colors in your design at once while achieving a high level of detail very easily.


  • More cost-effective for small orders
  • Can print just one shirt- no minimums!
  • Prints photographs and extremely detailed designs
  • Design lays flat on the shirt
  • No color limit


  • Not very cost-effective for larger orders
  • Exact color matching can be difficult to achieve
  • Limited to 100% cotton or fabrics with majority cotton
  • No polos or pocket tees

Want to see a video of how digital printing works? Click HERE

Here are examples of printed shirts for you to compare:

(screen print)


(digital print)


Tags: screen print, digital print, dtg, direct to garment, comparison, print methods, pantone, pms, cmyk, color matching

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