There are many differences between direct to garment and screen printing. Both methods overlap providing similar results with some key differences. Screen printing involves using mesh screens where the ink is pushed through the open portion of the mesh (only the design) onto a garment. DTG (direct to garment) is similar to inkjet printers only instead of printing on paper the ink is applied directly to the garment.
Using DTG you can print vibrant full color designs that require additional setup costs if done with screen printing. Each color used when screen printing requires its own screen and film. There are none of the “screen fees” or setup when using DTG.
Comparing the costs of both printing methods is heavily dependent on the artwork. There isn’t a right or wrong way just options. Simple 1-2 color designs are almost always screen printed. Full color designs are most often printed using DTG. One note about direct to garment prints, they look best on 100% cotton fabrics. Larger orders with multiple colors in the design the setup costs associated with screen printing are much lower.
How to Decide Which Printing Method to Use?
The number of colors are the best indicator of which style of custom apparel printing to use. Screen printing is usually the lower cost. Examples of 1-2 color prints are sports uniforms and basic logos. Full color pictures and vibrant comic book style art has more shading and colors that makes DTG the obvious choice.
Send Us Your Artwork
If you’re unsure what option is best please send us your artwork. Someone from Atlanta Shirt will quickly respond outlining the best print options. Often the choice is made for aesthetics some people just like the feel of screen printing verse DTG. An often repeated myth is that DTG isn’t equal to screen printing. The technology and inks used in the direct to garment printing process have improved greatly over the past 5-8 years closing this quality gap.