Screen Printing and Digital Printing
One of the most answered questions here at AMBRO Manufacturing is to explain the difference between screen printing and digital printing. Screen Printing and Digital Printing differ in the method by which the ink is applied to the item being printed. Screen printing is a method by where ink is pushed through a physical screen and onto the garment. Digital Printing places ink directly on the garment by means of a digital print head. One of the best ways to remember the difference between Screen Printing and Digital Printing is to think about them in terms of physical screens and digital printers.
Your desk top printer that you use to print out spread sheets and documents, is very similar in nature to the digital printer used for printing images and designs directly on t-shirts. Imagine being able to place a t-shirt directly into a desktop printer vs. on a screen machine and that’s what digital printing is.
Digital printing is often called “Direct To Garment” printing, which is often misleading, because screen printing also prints directly to a garment.
There are various screen printing companies that offer both services and one of the benefits of offering both is to have the ability to drop in customizations with a standard print. As an example, designers can produce a stock design for a group or team and have personalized information inserted into the stock design. You may have seen this method used in direct mail when you receive a post card with your name printed within the design. This is called variable data. Variable data provides the ability for a screen printing company to insert custom information to help make the design pop. It’s often not a customer expectation to see their name included and embedded within a stock group design. Being able to offer this capability can increase the perceived value of the item being decorated.
Why would you pick one over the other?
When digital printing first became available, people would choose to use it to print hundreds of colors or photos. Today, that can be accomplished with 4 color process printing or simulated 4 color process printing. Another reason why people wanted to use digital printing was because of the water based nature of the inks and the light feel of it. Now that water based acrylics and discharge printing is available, the same level of soft printing is available with traditional screen printing.
When speaking with your screen printing company, try to avoid falling into the trap of telling them what print method you want. Instead, focus on the outcome and results. By explaining what the end product should look like and feel like is often a better approach than trying to determine the method of decoration in advance. Allow your screen printing company to use their expertise and decide what method of decoration is appropriate to achieve the results that you want.
If you are interested in Screen Printing and Digital Printing, please consider giving us a call (908) 806-8337 or you can email us.