One of the easiest ways to offer custom clothing that's on point with your brand aesthetic is to screen print your art or logo onto the clothing. Both cost effective and quick, screen printing allows you to do small batch customizations which is perfect for small companies or startups. So what is screen printing? Screen printing is the process of transferring a stencilled design onto a flat surface using a mesh screen, ink and a squeegee. Fabric and paper are the most commonly screen-printed surfaces, but with specialised inks it’s also possible to print onto wood, metal, plastic or glass. The basic method involves creating a stencil on a fine mesh screen and then pushing ink or paint through to create an imprint of your design on the surface beneath. While the way the stencil is created can vary, the actual printing process most often remains the same.
If you're hoping for vivid, saturated colors screen printing is the way to go and is one of the reasons it's so widely used. Because the ink is applied in layers it creates a smooth feel on the garment. While you can quickly and easily switch up your design, screen printing also allows to to just as quickly reprint an old design if the screens are kept. And of course it allows the printer to reproduce the same exact desigg multiple times on garments with consistency. The same screen can often be used on multiple garment syles as long as you want the same printing area on each piece. Screen printing is not only a very efficient technique for creating apparel for teams (sports, work uniforms etc) but perfect for anyone looking for high quality art on their apparel. Digistal printing may allow for a higher number of colors to be used in a print but sreen printing will give a more intense result.
How long can you expect a screen print to last? If a garment has been properly screen printed by a professional using then the design shouldn’t wash out. A heat treated, washable ink should always be used. You wouldn't want the wear and tear of a washing machine to dull your art over time. The companies producing the ink will also provide a set of guidlines that should be followed to ensure the highest quality and longest lasting print. Also, take into account the drying process after the art has been printed. Temperature will vary based on the fabric type and ink used. A professional screen printer will already have the guidlines to follow to ensure a beautifully printed garment that will last for years to come.
Other types of printing including DTG (direct to garment) printing and heat transfer which is most often used to garment labels. Direct to garment is digital printing and uses a special fabric printer which transfers the art of logo directly onto the garment. Think of it like a computer printing directly onto paper vs using a paint brush and stencil. With DTG you have no limit to the number of colors used and they won't be applied in multiple layers like screen printing so you'll get a lighter finished feel. This makes it great for very intricate or colorful designs or any photorealistic prints. There's also less setup required since everything is done digitally. With no screens to produce you save time and money and can produce one-offs. Digital printing can be tricky to acheive a consistent look across multiple garments and you may end up with more variation than you'd like, especially if you're producing a large quantity of garments. You also may not get that intense and vibrant color that you do with screen printing due to the fact that the colours are printed using CMYK-style dots of colour (screen printing uses solid blocks of ink). And of course you would never be able to acheive a textured print with a digital printer. Heat transfer printing is a type of printing that utilizes heat to bind a design to fabric. It may not work well on some types of fabric, especially any highly textured fabric that doesn;t allow for a smooth printing surface. The design, usually a garment label or small logo, is printed out onto a material coated with heat-reactive adhesive, called transfer or sublimation paper. When a heat press is applied to the transfer paper, the adhesive reacts to the heat and sticks to the surface of the fabric beneath, creating a printed textile. Heat transfer doesn't offer the same quality of longevity of screenprinting or digital printing and isn't often used for large, exterior garment art.
If you're interested in having any of garments printed please get in touch and we would be happy to help.