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The screen printing and direct printing are the two printing methods most popular in the market, but there are still many questions about the best way to print t-shirts.

The purpose of this article is to clarify – once and for all – which is the best clothing customization option.

Without further ado, let’s study the aspects one by one.



Screen printing is not much different than painting a wall. It is necessary to mix colors and achieve the pigments we need. It is also an opaque and relatively thick paint. With these characteristics we are able to achieve all the color tones that customers may desire, including fluorescent colors.

Although direct printing printers can provide a white basis for printing to have more vivid tones, digital printing cannot yet achieve certain tones. Despite a great evolution in recent years, vibrant tones are the most difficult to achieve.



Returning to the analogy used in the last point, such as when painting a wall with a roller, it is not easy to print shadows or make changes in the tone of the print along a drawing using silkscreen . There are techniques that allow you to “trick” the eyes, but with a closer look you can see that they are just simulations.

Direct printing shines at this point. Like any digital print, shadows and tonal changes are easy for this method. Photographic reproductions or illustrations with hundreds of tones are not difficult for DTG (direct to garment).



Screen printing has a characteristic that no other production method has. It allows mixing pigments to achieve a specific tone. As we use pantone tables , we can also achieve any tone that our client wants.

Direct printing – and any fingerprint – comes close to a tone, never equaling it to 100%. There is a relationship between the computer, the RIP and the machine that can distort certain tones, and we are unable to guarantee exact colors.



There are jobs and jobs. Some productions are of a single color, with a text written in times new roman and others are full of details, half tones and antics.

Screen printing can achieve 99% of these details, especially due to all the technology we use to develop the productions. However, there are always very small details that can escape, especially when printing shirts or thicker items.

Direct printing allows us to achieve small details like text with millimeters with incredible quality. As it uses ecological water-based paints, they are also very thin. Thus, we managed to go to the smallest detail without great difficulties.



This is the big point where our customers get the most. With the exception of embroidery , nothing on the market is as durable as screen printing. This is a fact. It is very common to see personalized clothing with years and even decades, with an impression in (almost) perfect conditions. Since screen printing uses plastic-based inks, it clings to the clothes with nails and teeth.

Direct printing is evolving a lot. If a few years ago we talked about 25/50 washes, today we can – with confidence – talk about up to 100 washes with reduced losses of color vibration. However, screen printing continues to have better durability.



This category is based on my personal opinion. As a comfort, I understand something that has little touch and where I can move without difficulty. By touch, I mean something that has a soft touch.

Plastisol inks, used in screen printing, end up with a relatively large layer over the clothes. When using layer printing, this situation gets a little worse, so when using a very large print, we feel a little discomfort.

Direct printing, on the contrary, uses water-based inks, which are much smoother. In white t-shirts we ca n’t even feel the impression and in color pieces, although it already has a touch, it remains smaller than in screen printing.



What do we mean by versatility? It is about being able to put the same impression on a wide variety of products. T-Shirts, sweatshirts, shirts , polo shirts , jackets, etc. are items we work with every day.

Screen printing is almost king in versatility. Although there are some articles that we are unable to print (the biggest example will be the polar ones), changing the type of ink or slightly modifying the technique, we are able to print on practically any type of product.

Direct printing is very difficult when we do not print on 100% cotton products. In fact, the minimum percentage of cotton that a direct print job can have is 80%. Below that the final print quality will always be reduced considerably.



Consistency is essentially being able to ensure that all parts are printed in the same way, regardless of the type of article we print on.

Screen printing does not distinguish.

  • Be it a t-shirt or a jacket, in theory the print will always be very close on all articles.

  • Be it the first or the last piece, the work should always be the same

Direct printing is also not weird but from the moment we try to print a t-shirt and a sweatshirt, we end up with slightly different results. If we are printing on light backgrounds (without using a white base below the image), we will also get different results between t-shirt colors.



Screen printing allows a series of special effects to be printed. Whether you want 3D printing, with fluorescent colors or that shine at night (luminescent), you will be able to achieve your goals.



Screen printing has been around for hundreds of years. Over that time it became known as the best option for printing clothes. For many people there is screen printing and then there are “others”. It is extremely popular!


Established in 2013, Global Threads LLC is a Dallas-based apparel business specializing in custom t-shirt and hat designs. It is a company of t-shirt enthusiasts, designers, innovators and problem solvers that goes beyond creative designs to give life to customers’ visions. Founded during a study abroad trip in Florence, Global Threads keeps an emphasis on travel with its authentic “Travel the World” apparel and series. The Global Threads team puts a relentless focus on quality products with an endless devotion for their customers. Let’s go beyond the threads. To learn more about Global Threads, visit

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