Compare Decoration Methods

When it comes to custom t-shirts and apparel, offering three different decoration methods provides the versatility to get exactly what you want.

The most common decision is to choose between the screen and digital printing. The primary factor here will be the order quantity. Digital printing uses CMYK inks with advanced ink jet printing to create your design directly on the t-shirt. This means no minimums on digitally printed custom t-shirts, not to mention no limitations when it comes to color count or complexity. Screen printing, on the other hand, is the traditional t-shirt printing method where each color is separated and burned to individual fine-mesh screens before printing ink through the screens. You’ll need at least 12 pieces to have your order screen printed, and keep in mind that the number of colors in your design is used to calculate the screen printed price.

Check out the table below for a complete breakdown comparing all three decoration methods.

 SCREEN PRINTINGDIGITAL PRINTINGEMBROIDERY
Application TechniqueThe traditional method of garment decoration. Individual colors in your design are imposed on fine mesh screens. Ink is then forced through the mesh directly onto the fabric and is bonded using high temperatures.State-of-the-art technology where the image is printed onto the garment directly from a digital file. Unlike iron-on transfers, digital printing leaves a vibrant image with excellent durability and wash fastness.Logo or design is sewn directly into the fabric using decorative needlework.
Minimum Order12 piecesNo minimum12 pieces
Production Time7 days48 hours7 days
Price FactorsProduct style and colorNumber of print locationsNumber of colors in designProduct style and colorNumber of print locationsProduct style and colorNumber of embroidery locationsThread count
Typical UsesLarge volume orders for businesses, schools, organizations, and eventsIndividual shirts or small volume runsBusiness shirts or uniforms
BenefitsExtremely cost effective when produced in large volume runsCreates high quality apparel that can withstand years of washingNo minimum allows for small or individual custom shirtsCost effective reproduction of full color imagesFast turn around timePrice is not affected by number of colors in designCreates attractive, branded apparelLogo is sewn directly into the fabric
LimitationsMaximum of 4 colors per locationOnly available in certain product styles and colorsBest when applied to heavier garments such as polos