custom printing methods screen printing dtg heat transfer

Custom Printing Methods: Screen Printing vs DTG vs Heat Transfer

For businesses looking to invest in effective branding, whether it\’s for the purposes of team activities, staff workwear or even promotional materials, choosing custom printing methods to make your own shirt can be the ideal option. Before purchasing a ready-made design, or selecting the type of custom t-shirts you\’d like, the first step in the process is deciding on the kind of custom printing methods that\’s suitable for your purpose.

With screen printing, direct to garment and even heat transfer proving popular for t-shirt printing, it\’s essential to understand the differences between each type of print. From their advantages to their differences, being informed about the uses of each print type is vital for designing a shirt that lasts longer, and is capable of holding up to its purpose. Want to know more about the different methods of printing and their own unique advantages? Read on to find out more.

The three types of custom printing methods

There are three basic types of printing commonly used for t-shirt design services: screen printing, direct to garment printing and heat transfer. Each option offers a different way to create logos, images, and slogans on anything from simple tees to more complex products such as sweatshirts, hoodies or even hats.

What is screen printing?


A printing technique used for a variety of different artistic purposes, screen printing has a long history of being a good option for transferring images onto a range of different surfaces, from canvas and paper to cotton and cloth. A screen printer will use single permeable screens, on which ink is placed to be pulled across the material in a pattern dictated by the stencil placed on the mesh itself.

While it sounds complicated, this method of printing is widespread for use in designs that require very few colors. As each individual screen can only produce one color, for designs with a wide variety of different shades screen printing may not be the ideal choice. But for bold designs, such as simple slogans or single-color logos, screen printing is a highly effective option.

There’s a reason screen printing has continued to be a successful choice for hundreds of years. It consistently produces crisp, high-quality designs. Screen-printing also has more of a human touch to it, thanks to the manual processes included within its creation and the need for that extra bit of attention to detail.

Because of the commitment required, screen printing is most affordable when used for large-volume orders; and it is most applicable to designs in one or two colors, to keep costs low and designs of the best possible quality. For use in performance t-shirts or other large-scale orders, screen printing is the ideal choice.

What is direct to garment printing? (not currently offered by BYOG) 


In the same way that a traditional office printer uses inkjet technology to print onto paper, DTG, or direct-to-garment printing, uses technology to produce accurate reproductions of digital designs. These printers use textile inks that are applied directly onto the fabric to create a fully-realized image before your eyes.

Because of its digital component, direct to garment printing can produce sharper and more accurate results based on complicated graphics, such as photography or multi-colored designs. Depending on the printer, treatment may be required both before and after printing to ensure a more precise print and a design that lasts longer.

Direct to garment printing is ideal for use with heavily-patterned designs or even for the creation of garments in which a large-scale photograph is required. With the correct treatment, the inks used for DTG are designed to last in the long-term, providing increased wearability. This type of printing is also increasingly common for use in soft furnishings thanks to its higher resolution.

It’s easy to confuse DTG with Dye-Sublimation, but DTG only works well when it comes to natural fabrics such as organic kinds of cotton. On any kind of blended fabric, the print can appear dull – making DTG not the process of choice for those who don’t want to invest in more expensive natural-only clothing. Dye-Sublimation isn’t offered in the majority of print shops and tends to be used for the creation of sportswear on polyester.

What is heat transfer?


Many small-scale businesses and companies use heat transfer as a low-cost alternative to expensive machinery. In this process, the print and the material are one step removed. Firstly, the design is printed onto heat transfer paper that is designed specifically to apply the design to a material or surface. This transfer is then placed on the materials and ‘sealed’ onto its surface with a high level of consistent heat from a heat press.

Low-cost and fast to set up, heat transfer processes are standard in the world of temporary design when it comes to garments. Many t-shirt printing services offer heat transfer as a lower-priced option that’s ideal for less permanent purposes, whether it’s a specific event, party or exhibition where the garment is likely only to be worn a few times.

Heat transfers are used for a wide range of products. They are more affordable then DTG and require less input than screen printing. This makes them ideally placed for low-cost products, including mugs, bags, t-shirts, sweatshirts and more.

Heat transfer is particularly highly used for one-off printing or variable print runs. This is because the cost for the creation of the design remains constant, as only a printer and heat press is required for every design. If, for example, you’d like to design your own t-shirt with an official logo, but with a custom name on the back, heat transfer would be the best choice.

Which of the custom printing methods is the best choice for you?

So, which printing option comes out on top? It all depends on the clothing you’re trying to produce. At BYOG, we used both screen printing and heat transfer to provide our customers with a wide range of options for custom t-shirts, bags and even hats. Our Dublin, CA location includes all the technology on-site to produce the quality clothing you’re looking for, at the low price you need.

If you have further questions about our printing processes get in contact with our live chat service right now, or if you just want to design your own shirt from scratch, use our online design studio to get started today. If you’re considering t-shirt printing, we’re the company you need.

Read More…

What is the Differences Between RGB and CMYK?

How to Choose the Best T-Shirt Printing Services in the San Francisco Bay Area

Ensuring High Quality Logo Embroidery – An Embroidery Design Studio Checklist

Screen Printing, Custom Heat Transfers, or Embroidery: Which do I choose?

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