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Screen Printing vs. Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing: Which Method is Best for Your Business?

Screen Printing vs. Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing: Which Method is Best for Your Business?

Welcome to Fully Promoted Davie, your go-to destination for all your custom printing needs. In this post, we will explore the pros and cons of two popular printing methods: Screen Printing and Direct To Garment (DTG) Printing. Whether you're a business owner, event planner, or someone looking for custom apparel, understanding the advantages and limitations of each method will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your goals.

Screen Printing

Screen printing has been a trusted method of custom apparel printing for decades. This technique involves transferring ink onto the fabric through a mesh screen, resulting in vibrant and long-lasting designs. Here are some notable pros and cons of screen printing:


1. Durability

One of the key advantages of screen printing is its exceptional durability. The ink used in screen printing is highly resilient and can withstand numerous washes and heavy use. This makes screen-printed designs ideal for clothing items that will undergo frequent laundering or rugged activities, ensuring that your custom apparel retains its quality for an extended period.

2. Cost-effective for large quantities

Another benefit of screen printing is its cost-effectiveness for large quantity orders. As the order volume increases, the cost per unit decreases significantly. This makes screen printing an excellent choice for businesses, organizations, or event planners who require bulk orders of custom apparel while keeping their budget in check.

3. Vibrant colors and special effects

Screen printing allows for a wide range of vibrant colors and special effects, offering endless possibilities to make your designs stand out. Metallic or neon inks, for example, can be utilized to create eye-catching accents or add a unique touch to your custom apparel. The versatility of screen printing ensures that your designs are visually striking and capture attention.


1. Limited color blending

One limitation of screen printing is its difficulty in achieving intricate designs or color blending. With screen printing, each color requires a separate screen and additional setup time. This can limit the complexity of designs, particularly those with intricate details or a wide array of color gradients. It is important to keep this in mind when considering screen printing for designs that require high color intricacy.

2. Longer setup time

Screen printing involves a multi-step process that includes creating screens for each color in the design. As a result, it requires more time for setup compared to other printing methods. The setup time can lead to longer turnaround times for orders, especially when dealing with complex or large-volume projects. It is crucial to consider your timeline and plan ahead to ensure that screen printing aligns with your project's delivery requirements.

3. High setup costs for small runs

Screen printing requires the creation of screens and setup costs, which can be relatively high for small quantity orders. If you only need a limited number of custom apparel pieces, the initial setup costs associated with screen printing may make it less cost-effective compared to alternative printing methods like DTG printing or heat transfer. It is essential to evaluate the quantity and cost factors before deciding on screen printing for smaller runs.

Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing

DTG printing has gained popularity in recent years due to its ability to produce highly detailed and colorful designs directly onto garments using specialized inkjet printers. Let's explore the pros and cons of DTG printing:


1. Photo-realistic quality

One of the major advantages of DTG printing is its ability to reproduce intricate designs and gradients with exceptional detail and precision. The inkjet technology used in DTG printing allows for high-resolution prints that accurately capture complex artwork, including photographs or intricate logos. If your design requires photorealistic quality or intricate details, DTG printing is an excellent choice.

2. Quick turnaround time

DTG printing offers a faster turnaround time compared to screen printing. Since it involves minimal setup requirements, the printing process can be initiated promptly after receiving the design files. This makes DTG printing suitable for projects with tight deadlines or those requiring small production runs. Whether you need custom apparel for a last-minute event or want to fulfill individual orders quickly, DTG printing ensures a swift and efficient printing process.

3. On-demand printing

DTG printing is particularly advantageous for on-demand printing. This means you can easily fulfill individual orders without incurring excessive setup costs or minimum order quantities. Whether you operate an e-commerce store or need personalized apparel for customers or employees, DTG printing allows you to produce custom garments as needed, reducing inventory costs, and ensuring flexibility in your printing operations.


1. Limited fabric options

While DTG printing performs exceptionally well on 100% cotton or high-cotton blend fabrics, it may not yield desirable results on certain fabric types. Synthetic fabrics or dark-colored garments, for instance, may affect the vibrancy and overall quality of DTG prints. It is crucial to consider the fabric composition of your desired apparel and consult with our experts to ensure that DTG printing is suitable for your specific fabric requirements.

2. Durability concerns

Although DTG prints are generally long-lasting and can withstand normal wear and tear, they may be slightly less durable compared to screen-printed designs, especially when exposed to frequent washing or abrasive use. Proper care instructions, such as washing garments inside out or using mild detergents, can help prolong the lifespan of DTG prints. It is important to communicate the care guidelines to customers or wearers to ensure optimal durability.

3. Cost per unit

While DTG printing offers cost-effective solutions for small runs or on-demand printing, it can be comparatively costlier for larger quantities. Each individual print in DTG printing requires ink and time, which can contribute to higher production costs for bulk orders. If you anticipate a significant volume of custom apparel, it is worth considering the cost implications and exploring alternative printing methods like screen printing that may offer more cost-effective solutions.

Making the Right Choice

When deciding between screen printing and DTG printing, it's essential to consider the specific needs of your business or project. Here are a few key factors to help you make an informed choice:

1. Quantity

If you require a large quantity of custom apparel, screen printing is generally more cost-effective. The economies of scale associated with screen printing make it an ideal choice for bulk orders, as the cost per unit decreases with increased volume. However, if you need smaller runs or on-demand printing, DTG printing allows for flexibility without significant setup costs.

2. Design complexity

Consider the complexity of your design. Screen printing is well-suited for simple designs with fewer colors, while DTG printing excels in reproducing intricate artwork, gradients, and vibrant colors. If your design includes fine details, shading, or photorealistic elements, DTG printing will provide the best results.

3. Fabric type

The fabric composition of your desired garments is an important consideration. Screen printing works well on a wide range of fabrics, including cotton, polyester, blends, and more. On the other hand, DTG printing performs best on 100% cotton or high-cotton blend fabrics. If you have specific fabric requirements, consult with our experts to ensure the compatibility of your fabric choice with the selected printing method.

At Fully Promoted Davie, we understand that choosing the right printing method is crucial for achieving the desired outcome within your budget and timeline. Whether you opt for screen printing or DTG printing, our experienced team is here to guide you and deliver exceptional custom apparel that represents your brand or event.

CLICK HERE to contact us today to discuss your printing needs and let us bring your vision to life!


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