Thursday, December 11, 2008

Screened vs. Digital (direct to garment) Printing

Recently RockSports added "direct to garment" printing to our list of capabilities, with the purchase of the Brother GT-541. I thought it would be a good idea to let people know why we bought it and its limitations:

To the right you can see a comparison of the same design - History Shapes. History Shapes is sold as a seven color screen print. I printed the same design on the Brother for a comparison. You will notice that the Brother uses CMYK process, where Cyan Magenta, Yellow, and Black mix to make all of the appropriate colors in the design. On this particular design the screened graphic is much more vibrant.

Also, if you look closely, there are some limitations on how detailed you can get with direct to garment printing. The three boats at the bottom of V....Vaughan's design are the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. You cannot see these details on the digital, direct to garment print.

Wash and wear of the two are similar, as is the process of curing the inks - the digital print must use a heat press for the colors to remain for the life of the T-shirt.

Digital Benefits:
  • No minimum orders
  • Extremely quick turn-around-times
  • Great for photographs
  • Cost effective option for small orders with multiple colors
Digital Limitations:
  • Color is not as vibrant as silk screen printing.
  • Can only do one at a time.
  • Limited to print on White or Ash shirts color shirts
Common Uses for Digital Direct to Garment Printing: Birthday's, Family Reunions, Weddings, Funerals, Sport Events, Quick Gifts

Now that you know the differences you will have an idea which process will be better for your next job. If you have questions you can always contact us and we will help point you in the right direction.

This blog post is meant to be a high level analysis of digital vs. screen printing for garments. Feel free to leave comments for a more thorough analysis. See it in action on youtube. The Brother Printer works well with an .ai file or a .jpg (high resolution).


ThreadPerfection said...

I would agree with you. The direct to garment printer is great for short run orders such as gifts. Does your print on black shirts or just light colored shirts?

rocksports said...

Right now RockSports direct to garment printing is only offered on light colored shirts. For dark shirts we offer heat press options and traditional screen printing.