Digital Printing vs. Screen Printing

Throughout decades, many printing methods have been established around the globe. However, only two techniques have stood the test of time – Digital printing and screen printing. What are their differences, you ask?

In screen printing (the older of the two), a stencil is created and used to apply ink layers on the surface to be printed. The stencil – also referred to as a screen during printing – applies different color layers on the surface, each at a time. This assortment of color layers combines to achieve the final print look.


Digital printing, on the other hand, is a more advanced printing process. A computer is used to process your selected artwork, after which special printers are used to print the processed image onto the surface of your fabric. Heat transfer is not used here. Instead, the ink is efficiently adhered onto the selected attire.

Pros and cons

Both printing processes have their fair share of benefits and shortcomings. Screen printing, for instance, best suits designs that need a high degree of vibrancy. This could apply to cases where you require printing dark shirts, or for a highly unique product. More ink is used in screen printing, leading to thicker prints and bright, crisp colors even on the darkest attire. Screen printers can easily print unique products such as curved water bottles and cups. On the down side, screen printing is both time and labor intensive.

Digital printing is perfect for prints requiring a high degree of detail. It is mainly used for small-scale printing orders. Since digital printers don’t rely on screens, it’s possible to produce an outstanding photographic print. Compared to the traditional screen printing, digital printing results in more detailed prints. However, this printing method achieves lighter colored garments since thinner ink is applied. This allows the intricate design to shine easily. The only downer is the fact that few garments can be printed digitally.

Which printing method should you use?


Before making a choice between Digital Printing vs. Screen Printing, it’s crucial to factor in some issues. For instance, what is the nature of your printing surface? Would you prefer a radiating shirt with bright, beaming colors or would you prefer a simple, laid-back print that has sharp contrast and lighter colors?

If you desire a design look that’s subtle and feels light, almost like there’s nothing printed, then digital printing could serve this role perfectly. On the other hand, screen printing will help you achieve a deep, eye-catching print that perfectly puts your design out there. It especially blends well with black t-shirts and other dark attire.

The type of garment material also matters when choosing between Digital Printing vs. Screen Printing. When it comes to printing, cotton is always preferred since it readily absorbs ink. Screen printing can be applied on a diverse range of fabric including nylon, polyester, bamboo and burlap. Digital printing is limited to only cotton and polyester garments.