Glad you asked…
There is much debate around the internet about DTG printing (which stands for Direct to Garment, a kind of ink jet printing method but for t-shirts instead of paper) and screen printing…
We wanted to shed some light on this issue.
DTG is a newer method of printing t-shirt and operates like an inkjet printer though much larger and a bit more involved, essentially you just press on a button and print away t-shirt prints containing many colors without the need for time consuming set up. This is why we have seen this technology used for one-off prints in the past few years.
The ease of set up you gain and therefore ability to print one offs, you lose in quality of the print itself however. It can have a more washed out look than many people are not keen on, especially on dark colors. Much better results on white t-shirts and have a nice soft hand.
SCREEN PRINTING ON THE OTHER HAND…
Screen printing is the original t-shirt printing technique popularized in the 50’ and 60’s and which we see on most graphic t-shirts in retail stores.
The colors are opaque and bright and you can get down to a lot of detail like printing a face, within certain limits.
It does this using a screen separating systems where each color is laid down one at a time on the t-shirt, with a maximum color output allowed by the press typically 6-8 colors.
As a result of that screen preparation and set up, the cost of custom t-shirts go up when they contain more colors per print, and there usually are minimum orders.
The fact that we do not charge more for more colors in a logo and that our prices are flat is an exception in the industry. We are the only screen printers who offer unlimited printing as far as I know.
A minimum order of 10 pieces is a wide spread industry standard for screen printed t-shirts.
If they say they’ll print just one, it’s DTG.
Also, the unit price of 10 t-shirts is much higher than 500 as the set up is absorbed across more t-shirts.
What about the inks?
Screen printing inks are called Plastisol inks and have a creamy texture so we can run it through screens and transfer your image. Once printed they get run through a conveyor oven at a slow speed and 340 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure the ink dries and cures.
These inks come in basic colors and are mixed to achieve the colors needed for each job. This not an automated process and has to be done manually and carefully by our experts.
Plastisol inks also come with Pantone color matching systems, designed in collaboration with Pantone the design industry standard color guide. It gives us formulas to follow in terms of grams of ink in order to achieve your desired color. If we don’t know the Pantone number for your ink colors, we find the closest match and fine tune from there to get usually a 97-99% color match.
This is how the ink on your t-shirts will always look better with screen printing rather than DTG. The colors and ink will be brighter and more opaque, last longer and will not crack, chip or fade over a reasonable lifespan.
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