You have something you’ve been working on and it’s time to print. You call your local printer and they ask you what process would you like to go use? Screen printing or Digital printing? Huh!? Both process will get the job done but depending on the job one will better suit your needs vs the other. In an effort to make your printing ventures easier we have created this post to better inform and guide you.

Screen Printing

A hands on multi step process that has weathered the test of time. A stencil is created using the art work that is then attached to a screen. This screen is used to layer on ink to the printing surface. A screen is created for each color that will be used. The image is created using one color at a time to achieve the final design. This process offers a robust vibrant color that it optimal when printing on dark surfaces due to the thicker layer of ink that is applied to each screen.

Pros:

  • Can print a wider variety of media
  • Broad choice of inks from solvent based to UV curable both can be used for thermoform or translucent
  • Color matching
  • Vibrant color
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Great for larger orders
  • Great control over the pressure applied to the substrate
  • Spots a specialty colors available

Cons:

  • High setup price
  • Labor intensive process
  • Requires a minimum order
  • Not economical for short runs
  • Cannot produce fine detail
  • More colors increase costs

Digital Printing

In 1993 the digital printing process began. A relatively easy process, the artwork is uploaded to a computer and the Ink is directly placed on the printing surface. Since there is no need to create “screens” the art work appears more like a photograph print. The printing process requires less time and is ideal for designs with a lot of detail and color. However the ink is applied via “inkjet technology” in a much thinner layer than screen printing which created a finished product that has less opacity than screen printing. Currently the latest digital printing equipment uses the same ink formulations that screen printing offers such as UV curable ink or solvents including white ink.

Pros:

  • No minimum order, great for small orders
  • No setup from the file to the print.
  • Lots of detail, cleaner process
  • CMYK based
  • Customizable so you can handle variable data
  • Less time and labor consuming

Cons:

  • The color gamut is more narrow
  • Ink is more expensive
  • Print area may be limited by the printer setup

Happy Printing

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