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In the world of custom apparel printing, two popular methods stand out: Direct to Garment (DTG) and Screen Printing. Both techniques have their unique advantages and cater to different needs. This article explores the differences between DTG and Screen Printing, helping you understand which method best suits your project requirements.

Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing: Overview and Benefits

Direct to Garment Printing is a relatively modern technology that works much like a paper printer in an office. The major difference is that, in DTG, a garment is used instead of paper. Here’s what sets DTG apart:

  • Detail and Colour: DTG is known for its ability to print intricate designs with a wide range of colours. It’s perfect for designs that are too complex for traditional screen printing methods.
  • Setup Time and Cost: DTG has minimal setup time and no setup costs, making it ideal for small batch orders and one-off prints.
  • Quality and Feel: The ink used in DTG is thinner, resulting in a softer feel to the touch. This method is excellent for high-resolution prints with a lot of detail.
  • Versatility: DTG can print on a variety of fabrics, though it works best on 100% cotton. When deciding between DTG and Screen Printing, it’s essential to consider the type of fabric you’ll be using. Understanding different t-shirt materials can significantly influence the final result.

Screen Printing: Overview and Benefits

Screen Printing, on the other hand, is a traditional method that involves creating a stencil (or “screen”), and then using that stencil to apply layers of ink on the printing surface. Each colour is applied using a different stencil, one at a time, combined to achieve the final look. Its advantages include:

  • Durability: Screen printing ink is absorbed deeply, resulting in vibrant colours that are long-lasting and resist fading over time.
  • Cost-Effectiveness for Large Orders: For large batches, screen printing is more cost-effective than DTG. The more garments you’re printing, the cheaper the cost per unit.
  • Ink Quality: Screen printing allows for greater thickness of the ink, which can be felt on the garment.
  • Material Versatility: It can be used on a variety of materials including textiles, ceramics, wood, paper, glass, metal, and plastic.

While exploring different customization techniques, it’s worth comparing screen printing with other methods. Our article on Embroidery vs Screen Printing offers valuable insights into how these two popular methods differ.


The choice between DTG and Screen Printing ultimately depends on your specific needs. If you require small batches with high detail and colour complexity, DTG is the way to go. It excels in accurately reproducing intricate graphics and provides a quicker turnaround due to its minimal setup. DTG is also preferable for a softer feel on the fabric, ideal for detailed designs on cotton garments.  For large volume orders with fewer colours, screen printing offers a more economical and durable choice. The durability of your custom apparel is crucial. For more information on longevity, check out our detailed article on How Long Do Printed T-Shirts Last?, which covers the lifespan of both DTG and screen-printed garments. Screen printing can also accommodate a broader range of fabric types beyond just cotton. Both methods have their unique place in the world of custom apparel printing, and understanding their differences is key to selecting the right one for your project. Remember to consider factors like your budget, design intricacy, order size, and fabric type when making your decision.

Ready to bring your creative ideas to life? Whether you’re leaning towards the vibrant and intricate possibilities of Direct to Garment Printing or the durable and cost-effective advantages of Screen Printing, the key to a successful project is in the details. Dive deeper into the world of custom t-shirt printing and discover how to transform your vision into a wearable reality. Don’t let your designs just be designs. Contact us today and let’s start printing your custom apparel masterpiece!

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