Screen Printing or Direct to Garment? Choosing What Works Best for Your Business

There are a few printing options available to small businesses when looking for branded apparel. The most popular options are screen printing and direct to garment. But what is the difference between the two? And what does it matter for your business? Today, we're taking a closer look at both screen printing and direct to garment (DTG) printing to help you understand what sets them apart from each other.

What Is Screen Printing?
 

Screen printing is the process of pushing ink through a mesh screen with a stencilled image onto a substrate such as t-shirts, hoodies, or posters. Screen printing has been around for over 1000 years and generally requires a tedious setup and physical labour to produce the desired result. To print multi-coloured designs, screen print shops must first separate the artwork into its individual colours. Each colour in the logo or image requires its own designated mesh screen that must be aligned or “registered” with one another to recreate the image on the garment. 

The Best Designs For Screen Printing
 

Logos and designs that consist of minimal colours are ideal for screen printing because of the more involved setup process. Making stencils for intricate multi-coloured designs can be very time consuming for this form of printing. While complicated designs are still possible, they are often not recommended unless a large amount of garments are ordered. The results of screen printing are unmatched and remain a favourite today.

Will It Work For Your Business?
 

Screen printing can be cost-effective when simple logos are involved. But because of the long setup and more labour-intensive process, screen printing is typically only used for bulk orders. CCA’s minimum for screenprinting is 12pcs per design. For companies with larger teams of employees or those who give away or sell a lot of branded clothing, screen printing can be a great option. If your business is made up of a smaller team or doesn't need large quantities of branded apparel, you may want to look at other options such as embroidery, vinyl printing or DTG

What is Direct to Garment Printing?
 

Direct to garment printing or “DTG” involves a digital printer that applies ink directly onto clothing very similarly to your desktop paper printer at home. DTG utilizes the full gamut of CMYK colours in designs, with water-based inks that absorb into the fabric of the clothing. The main disadvantage of this method is that dark coloured garments must be pre-treated with a special liquid prior to printing to ensure bright, vivid prints. DTG printing works best on cotton dominant fabric. At CCA we will not DTG print on anything less than 60% cotton.

The Best Designs for DTG
 

DTG offers unlimited colours without the need for any artwork separations, screens or setup, and is better suited for logos with more colours or photorealistic designs. This means that even the most complex designs can be easily printed onto t-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, sweatpants and more.

Will it work for your business?
 

When compared to screen printing, DTG works fast and with little setup time required. There are often no bulk order requirements, making this method suitable for smaller orders. Many businesses also use DTG for their print-on-demand services because of how easily it can adapt to changing design needs. At CCA we offer no minimums on DTG printed garments found under the “Print On Demand” tab.


How Canadian Custom Apparel can Help
 

The complexity of your design and the quantity of the product you need are two factors you should consider when deciding on the best printing method for your business. At Canadian Custom Apparel, we provide both screen printing and DTG services that can provide high quality branded apparel for any company. Feel free to contact us if you need further help deciding which printing method is best for your business.

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