This means we also offer digital printing services. However, choosing which printing process is best for your project can be confusing. Use our easy-to-understand guide to help you figure out which is the right one for you.
1. How does each process work?
With screen-printing, think of each colour which makes up the design as a layer. Each of these colours need to be printed separately, one after the other.
The actual printing method is a lot like stencilling: each ink colour is pushed through a mesh screen onto the textile, with the help of a squeegee. Each screen is cut to the shape of the colour will occupy in the design (like a stencil). The more colours there are in your design, the more screens will need to be made and the more steps there will be in the process.
Digital printing is much easier to get your head around. Think of it as an inkjet printer, the kind you’d have in your house for printing paper - only it has special inks and only works on cloth!
2. What is the difference between screen printing and digital printing?
It really depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Screen and digital printing have different strengths depending on the desired end product (and, importantly, how many items you want to make).
The first thing to note is that screen-printing is often the more popular choice for large orders (also known as ‘runs’). Because making each set of screens to order is a time-consuming process (and involves humans!), it is naturally more expensive.
However, once the screens are made, they can be used as many times as you like. Therefore, the more items you order to be screen-printed, the more cost per item goes down. This makes screen-printing the natural choice for, say, hoodies for your graduating class or tees for your brewery, rather than custom jumpers for a bachelorette party or sport team.
With digital printing, however, each item costs a flat fee to manufacture, with no cost decrease pertaining to the size of your run. This therefore makes digital printing the clear choice for small-to-medium runs and screen-printing the best candidate for larger runs. Also, because the prep time for digital is much shorter, digital is a clear winner if you need a small rush order. To design your own visit us at www.teeshirtrepublic.com.au
Plus, if you want to customise individual items in each run, it is much easier to do so in the digital rather than screen-printing process. (Back to those custom jumpers I mentioned...)
Next up in our list of considerations is image quality. Greater colour intensity can be achieved with screen-printing; but digital printing does much better for detail.
So, if your design features a lot of bright, block colours, you may be happiest opting for screen-printing. But if your design includes a lot of photographic images or is in high detail. or if you’re hoping to just print a photograph, digital’s the one for you.
If environmental concerns are a big part of your decision-making, then you’ll be pleased to hear digital printing is considered one of the eco-friendliest apparel customisation options.
Digital printing does not use effluents (also known as “liquid waste or sewage discharged into rivers, lakes, or the sea”) in the finishing process! It also helps remove the need for plastic tape, which is needed to make screens for the screen printing process.
On the other hand, a digital design will fade more quickly than a screen-printed one, meaning that the overall product might have a shorter lifespan.
As you can see from the above, everything depends on what your design and what you’re trying to achieve! Luckily for you, we can offer both printing methods and await for all your hoodie and jumper-printing needs.
At The Fabric Printer we are proud to be doing our bit for the environment; our sustainable digital printing process has eliminated 600 square meters of plastic per year since June 2015, and our 100% water based soil certified ink is safe for the earth and for your skin. This was done through our direct to screen imaging system.