School >

What Is The Difference Between Digital Print And Screen Print For Your Custom T-Shirts?

When it comes to creating your custom T-shirts, there are terms such as “screen printing” and “digital printing” commonly used, as they are the two common types of decorations for printing t-shirts.

Although embroidery is also offered as an option to decorate t-shirts, we recommend screen or digital printing your design or logo on any type of t-shirts. As Canada's industry leader for custom printed T-shirts, we are often asked whether screen-printing is better than digital printing or vice versa.

The real answer is that there is not a more superior choice between the two types of printing processes. What it boils down to is understanding your needs and figuring out which method will work better for the design, colour and fabric material of the shirts you want to print. Here's a quick look at the differences between the two printing methods so that you can decide for yourself which type of printing you should go for.

Digital Printing

Commonly known as direct to garment printing, this method is considered to be the easier method (over a screen print) to implement during the printing process. It is pretty similar to how your regular printer will print out a design for the initial phase. The main feature here is that it is printed on heat transfer paper and you use a heat press to imprint the design onto the T-shirts.

This method is great for highly detailed designs or multi-colour designs, since you will usually pay lesser for this method even if you have more than 20 colours in one design.

Custom t-shirts on digital print machines. Print from a minimum to 1 t-shirt with your custom logo.

In addition, going for a digital print means that you will pay a fairly consistent price for each custom T-shirt since economies of scale have a lesser impact in this class of printing.

Pros of digital printing

  • Great for printing photo designs
  • Very easy to customize
  • You can choose plenty of colours in your design
  • Can easily facilitate small orders
  • Cons of digital printing

  • Print area might be limited by the type of printer the vendor has
  • Most digital printers cannot print white ink
  • Your T-shirt material choices are usually limited to just fabric
  • Screen Printing

    Since its introduction back in 1907, screen printing has been the most commonly used printing method for custom T-shirts.

    Another common name for screen printing is silkscreen printing. In the start of this process, the artwork is first burned into the mesh screens.

    Next, you will load the screens to a printing machine and then add in the ink that will be used. Note that for screen printing, each colour is printed separately so each colour has its own mesh screen. The last step is to let ink on the T-shirts dry out.

    Customized t-shirts on screen-printing machines. Lasting high quality printing on custom apparel.

    Screen printing highly benefits from economies of scale, so the more T-shirts you print, the lesser the cost for the screen printing service. It is therefore more recommended for slightly bigger orders (often more than 10 T-shirts). Also, if you are having a simple design such as a logo or wordings, usually screen printing is the better choice.

    Pros of screen printing

  • High quality printing is easily achieved
  • Lasts longer even after multiple wash cycles
  • Great for large orders
  • Truly cost effective
  • Printing on many locations with larger logo space
  • Cons of screen printing

  • Usually, a minimum quantity is stipulated for using screen prints
  • Not ideal for photo designs
  • Not effective for showing high resolution details
  • Now that you know the difference between the two printing methods, you will be able to make a more informed choice when selecting the print type for your custom T-shirts. Regardless which type you choose, we at will be happy to help you customize your T-shirts in Canada with your preferred printing method!