Custom made t-shirts today are now produced using two main methods; screen printing or digital printing. Each has its differences and there are reasons why people choose either one of the two.
Screen printing is a technique that has been very common since the early 1900’s. This old form of printing originated in China and was then adapted by Japan and other Asian countries. As time moved on, screen printing techniques improved with advances in technology. Early methods of screen printing involved using a woven mesh to support a stencil that blocks ink. The stencil then forms open areas of mesh which transfer ink onto printable materials. A fill blade moves across the stencil forcing ink onto the mesh openings to create a sharp-edged image. Today, this stencil makes a design on a fine mesh covered with an impermeable substance. Ink is then forced onto the mesh openings by the fill blade and onto the surface on which the print has to be made. This method of printing is also known as silkscreen or serigraph printing and allows for many colours to be used.
Digital printing (DTG direct to garment) is a more recent method that has been invented. As the name suggests, this type of printing involves transferring a digital based design directly onto material. This technique works very much like your ink jet printer at home. Instead of printing on paper, this specialised printer prints on material of a t-shirt. Digital printing is a process that is easier than screen printing but generally costs more. Furthermore, this method allows multiple colours to be used without having to make a screen for each colour. If changes need to be made for every t-shirt printed, it can be easily done with digital printing by adjusting the parameters set using the computer program; there are no plates or stencils that have to be altered with every change.
Which process is better? Both have their pros and cons so the better process usually depends on your requirements. High quality and detailed design printing is usually done using digital printing. In the past, when only screen printing was available, t shirt printing could only be ordered in bulk quantities. Now, companies with small orders usually opt for digital printing as this method is faster for small quantities, while screen printing is faster for larger quantities. Screenking, for example, offer competitive prices at great quality. With over 25 years of experience in this field, we are fully aware of customer needs and try our absolute best to satisfy them each and every time.