Digital Shirt Printing vs Screen Printing Shirts:

Are you confused about the differences between digital printing

(also known as DTG Printing) and screen printing shirts? It's not as simple as one being "better" than the other, it's a question of which one better suits your needs! Check out our guide below to figure if Screen Printing or Digital Printing is more beneficial in for your custom apparel project!


Simply put, digital printing is less expensive for runs under 12 pieces and reproducing photographic images, whereas screen printing is generally less expensive for a run of 12 and over.


Digital printing is the process of using a printer head to apply ink directly to a piece of apparel or fabric. Digital printing is fairly new but advanced technology that affords the ability to print small run orders on both white and colored garments. If you think about your paper printer at home, a digital printer used for DTG printing is the same thing but for garments! With digital shirt printing the color palette is unlimited, which allows you recreate virtually anything from single color logos to high-color photographs. You could have a photo printed on a t-shirt and give it to grandma. Creating customized single pieces with digital printing has never been easier.



  • No minimum order

  • More cost efficient on orders under 12 pieces

  • Reproduces photographs with crisp, clean detail

  • No limitation to the number of colors in the design

  • Soft to the touch


  • Less cost efficient than screen printing on runs of 12 or over

  • Exact color matching is not available

  • Maximum print area of 12.5" wide by 14" tall

  • Fabric must be a minimum of 80% cotton

/digitized (direct to garment)

Screen printing shirts is one of the most commonly used methods in

custom t-shirt printing and apparel decorating. It is the process of pushing

ink through a mesh screen one color at a time. Screen printing as a

production method quickly overtakes Digital Printing in cost per print. The

higher the volume, the lower the cost per print becomes. Screen printing

also has the advantage of a large selection of different types of inks that are all considerably less expensive per garment than Digital Printing inks.


/colour separation:

Colour separation, is needed for screen printing, which is one color at a time. The inks used in spot color printing are opaque and are referenced by the Pantone Matching System (PMS) for color accuracy.


There is no limit to the number of spot colors that can be printed to produce a final image. The only restriction in spot color printing is by the printing process and the product in which it is being applied to. For instance, to print six spot colors on flat items such as a sign or t-shirt it’s easy to maintain good registration between the colors; however, printing six spot colors on a cylinder shaped item such as a sports bottle or coffee mug, where shifting between the colors is more difficult to maintain good registration…



  • • More cost efficient for 12 or more pieces

  • • Larger printing area available

  • • More flexible for fabrics that are than least 80% cotton

  • • Wider Array of Inks available, including Giltters, Foils, Shimmers, etc

  • • "Color Matching Available" (Pantone Colour Match)



  • • Minimum order of 6 shirts

  • • Not economical for under 12 pieces

  • • Cannot produce super fine details in photographs

  • • Increase in number of colors causes increase in screen print cost


Please keep this in mind that pricing is done per colour (i.e. 1 colour = screen + application / unit).