Digital printing and screen printing are two of the most commonly requested printing methods sought after by clients. Each of these printing techniques has its own unique advantages, but they also differ in some key aspects as well. Read on to learn more about the difference between screen printing and digital printing.
What is Screen Printing?
Screen printing is a commonly employed printing technique that uses a stencil design to guide the printing process. The stencil is often created using a fine mesh or polyester fabric with several layers of ink pushed through this stencil layout onto the surface of the print material.
The different colors needed are all applied using a different screen, one step at a time. Overall, screen printing simply involves employing mesh to transfer ink onto a substrate using the “screen” method.
What is Digital Printing?
Digital printing refers to the method of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. The image goes directly from any type of digital file, such as a PDF file, straight to the digital printer. There is no need to create any plates, and setup time is a fraction of the time offset printing would take.
Digital printing usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume or inkjet printers. This method is growing in popularity as technological capabilities continue to grow.
Benefits of Screen Printing
Screen printing is the best option for designs that require a high level of sheen or vibrancy, when printing on dark shirts, or for specialty products that have unique shapes. The ink in screen printing is applied thicker than digital printing, which can result in vivid colors, even on darker shirts.
The fact that these products are printed by hand also allows for unique products like water bottles, coolers, and mugs to be made with ease without sacrificing any quality. This is due to the fact that the printer can manually handle curved or uneven surfaces. The minimum order quantity on screen-printed items exists because of the extra materials and labor time associated with this printing method.
The main benefits of screen printing include:
- Higher quality output
- More durable, long-lasting prints
- Effective on a wide array of materials
- Easy to print on specified areas of the print material
Overall, screen printing is a great choice for bulk projects that need quality and durability. One of the main disadvantages of screen printing, however, is that it has a much higher initial setup cost than digital printing and takes more time and skill to complete properly.
Benefits of Digital Printing
Digital printing is a technique that is best used for smaller-batch orders that require a lot of detail. The fact that the digital printer does not use screens allows for a photographic print with much more detail than traditional screen printing. As the ink is applied thinner (to achieve such detail), digital printing is best used on lighter-colored shirts to allow the design to shine through.
The main benefits of digital printing include:
- Low-cost setup
- Effortless process
- High-quality and efficient approach
- Transfer digital images easily
- Variety of customization options
Digital Printing Drawbacks
Just like any other method, digital printing is not perfect and has its drawbacks. These include:
- Limited amount of printable fabrics
- Lack of scaled cost reductions for bulk projects
- Difficulty with the color white as the main focus
Which Method Should You Choose?
When it comes to choosing between screen printing, and digital printing, it is important to take into consideration the specific needs of your project. For instance, do you require a large batch? Are the images/designs that need to be printed in photographic form or are they a digital file? What types of materials are going to be used?
These are some very common factors to consider, but it is important to understand the investment it takes to compete in screen printing projects on your own. Those additional expenses make commercial printing companies a great choice for businesses who want to save time and money by enlisting the help of printing professionals to assist them with the technical and costly screen printing process.
Get Started With The Professionals At PGI
Professional Graphics Inc. is a full-service commercial printing company that has been helping businesses save money on printing projects for over 40 years. Whether your organization needs business flyers for an upcoming event or marketing materials printed, Professional Graphics Inc. will go the extra mile to ensure that it is completed to perfection. Contact us at online or by calling us at (203) 439-6120.