Digital T-Shirt Printing: Sublimation vs. Screen Printing

We help you choose the best printing technique for your personalised t-shirts.

T-shirt digital printing provides a wide range of techniques that allow you to showcase creative designs on your personalized apparel. Two of the most popular methods are textile sublimation and screen printing. In this article, we aim to provide a detailed explanation of these custom clothing printing techniques, comparing key aspects such as quality, durability, costs, and versatility to assist you in choosing the best printing method for your personalised t-shirts.

Print Quality

Dye Sublimation or Full Print

Sublimation printing, also known as Full Print, is a highly popular technique in personalised T-shirt printing. It stands out for its high-quality reproduction of vibrant colors and fine details on T-shirts. This process involves the transfer of inks through heat, ensuring complete integration of pigments into the fabric fibers. As a result, designs on sublimated T-shirts often have a smoother and more durable appearance.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is another printing technique that offers solid and vibrant colors, but it may have some limitations in terms of fine details, especially when compared to sublimation. The layers of ink applied in screen printing can result in thicker designs, affecting the sharpness of the images.

Print Durability

Dye Sublimation

Dye sublimation strongly adheres to fabric fibers, providing greater resistance to wear and repeated washes. Sublimated colors tend to maintain their intensity over time, making it ideal for frequently worn personalized clothing.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is renowned for its durability, although over time and with repeated washes, the print may experience some degree of fading. Nevertheless, it remains an excellent choice, especially for garments that are not laundered as frequently.

Production Costs

Dye Sublimation

Dye sublimation for digital printing of custom T-shirts often involves a higher initial investment in specialized equipment. However, as the production volume increases, unit costs tend to decrease. It is an ideal option for large orders, and its competitive pricing becomes more evident when ordering higher quantities.

Screen Printing

Screen printing generally has moderate initial costs in terms of equipment. However, as the production volume decreases, unit costs may be higher compared to sublimation. It is a cost-effective choice for large quantities of personalised T-shirts.

Versatility in design and materials

Dye Sublimation

Sublimation is highly versatile in terms of design, allowing you to effortlessly reproduce complex images with many colours. Additionally, it is a digital T-shirt printing technique suitable for various fabrics, particularly sustainable personalised clothing options such as bamboo or organic cotton.

Screen Printing

If you aim to print a simple design with few colors, screen printing is the optimal choice, especially for large-scale T-shirt printing. It works best with conventional or organic cotton fabrics.

Choosing the Right Printing Technique for Your T-Shirt Digital Printing

The choice between sublimation and screen printing depends on your specific needs. If you are looking to print T-shirts with vibrant colours, fine details, and long-term durability, sublimation may be the ideal technique for you. On the other hand, if you value versatility in large quantities and simpler designs, screen printing is a good option.

If you still have uncertainties about the technique that best suits your personalised T-shirts, Garment Printing can assist you in making this decision. We will consider factors such as the initial budget, the type of design you want to print, and the quantity of T-shirts you plan to produce to provide you with the best option. Both techniques have their advantages, and the right choice will depend on your priorities and business goals for your personalised clothing. By making informed decisions, you can ensure that your printed T-shirts not only look fantastic initially, but also maintain their quality over time.