Direct to Garment vs. Screen Printing: What's the difference?

Direct to Garment vs. Screen Printing

When in search of a company to design and print your custom clothes and T-shirts, we're sure you have come across these terms: Direct to Garment (DTG) and Screen Printing. These printing techniques are primarily used for printing custom designs on various pieces fabric. 

As much as they both have their uses, certain questions must be taken into consideration before using a company who uses either of these printing methods. What’s the difference between them? When is it suitable to use one over the other? These questions are necessary as knowing the answers and applying them come with a plethora of benefits!



Screen printing is more traditional in its approach. It involves the use of a special stencil for each element of a design. Once these stencils are created the ink is applied in layers directly on top of a clothing material or fabric. Essentially, the more layers a design has... the longer the printing process takes and the thicker the graphic will feel on the fabric. 

On the other hand, the direct to garment method is much more digital in its approach. It works like the inkjet printer in your office or home. In terms of precision, the DTG process beats the screen printing method every time. DTG printers can handle all types of intricate designs, which come in numerous colors! 

The long setup time is why screen printing is primarily used to print items in bulk. It’s not cost-effective to print only a t-shirt or two if it’s taking hours to create the stencils for your design.

Furthermore, the screen printing process doesn’t soak the ink deep into the fabric as opposed to DTG.



For screen printing, it works well with business ventures that print simple or plain designs in significant quantities. Given the time it takes to create stencils for the design, it won’t be cost-effective to print only one or two T-shirts. Keep in mind, screen printing suits only graphics without any small details. 

They work best with simple geometric designs, basic typography, symbols, and shapes. This is so because making stencils for complex designs is strenuous and time-consuming. Also, screen printing is typically used for custom designs with few colors, and usually requires investments upfront.  

However, direct to garment method is easier, takes less time, and designs can be easily printed with the use of a digital printer. It is suitable for one-offs, and you don’t need to order a bulk set of clothing before you can carry the design out. This is because it doesn’t require setups that take a long while.

Both methods have specific situations they work best in, and as such, they have their importance. However, for more intricate designs, the DTG process works fabulously given its easy and digital feature, unlike screen printing.



These two printing methods are generally used for customizations, and they both have their differences and uses. Screen printing is traditionally used for bulk orders, using minimal colors and simplistic designs. DTG provides you with a higher quality range of color and design options using a more cost effective process. 


All VennTees T-shirts and various apparel items are crafted using the DTG method with YOU in mind. It is our mission to provide high quality, custom graphic t-shirts and designs at an affordable price point.