Technology has had a huge impact on the world in the past 20 years. Many things that used to be impossible are now done without a second thought. The printing industry has also benefited from the spate of recent advancements in technology. Many printers have strayed from the traditional analog approach, and some of the largest firms are using digital equipment that is slightly different from t shirt printing using traditional silk screens. The growing reliance on digital technology leads many people to ask, “What is the difference between digital and screen printing?”

For people who are unfamiliar with the printing industry, there are several things to keep in mind. Digital printers rely on a four-color processing system that includes: cyan, magenta, black and yellow. These four colors are the basis of digital printing. The digital systems take an art file and reproduce it directly by sending it to the press. Screen printing is different because it relies on silk screens to take the design. The design is then incorporated into t shirt printing using a layering technique. Shirts are printed one color at a time. Now that you know the major differences between screen and digital printing, you may be asking, “Which method is best?”

Each method of printing has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. It is virtually impossible to say whether digital or screen printing is better in all situations because each approach has certain areas where it excels. One of the chief issues has to do with the nature of the job. Both types of printing are heavily used, and most printers feel that both styles are going to be a mainstay of their industry for several years to come.

The Features of Digital Printing

-Uses a four-color processing system to create designs: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black
-Does not require screens or plates
-The maximum print size on digital jobs is 120 inches.

Digital Printing Advantages

-Prints all colors in a single pass and makes the process more efficient
-Since the process is digital, there is a perfect registration between individual colors
-No bleeds or traps occur because digital printers use butt registration
-Capable of reproducing any type of graphic
– Reduces prep time for efficient project completion

Why should you choose digital t shirt printing?

-For small and medium quantities, digital printing is the most cost-effective choice.
-Shorter lead times since there is less prep time. The art files moves directly from the computer to the press.
-Process quality is superior to most analog systems because there are more dots per inch making superior resolution

Analog Printing Features

-Colors are laid down one at a time
-Separate silk screens for each color used
-Maximum print size is 32-inches by 45-inches

Advantages of Analog Printing

Ink is mixed for each job and allows custom color matching
-Analog inks are more opaque than digital
-Inks are more affordable
-Analog excels at printing reverse colors

Why should you choose screen printing?

-For high volume jobs, the costs are lower
-The colors are richer and can be laid down on reverse backgrounds

Read more: Hot Off the Press: Why Print Still Matters