What is the Difference Between Screen Printing, DTG, and Sublimation?

22 Jul 2016

What is the Difference Between Screen Printing, DTG, and Sublimation?

Custom apparel printing has greatly evolved in recent years. Print quality is better than ever before and new printing techniques have enabled us to offer virtually anything printed on your custom products. Keeping track of all these new practices however can be a bit difficult.

At Viralstyle there are 3 primary printing techniques that we use. Understanding how these techniques work can help guide your creative ideas and result in better design.

Types of printing:

  • Screen
  • Sublimation
  • DTG (Direct to Garment)



Screen Printing

Screen printing is one of the oldest and most popular ways of printing designs on t-shirts, hoodies, and other products. While screen printing is relatively flexible, you are restricted to using a limited number of colors and simple shape designs. Effects such as gradients and drop shadows cannot be created with screen printing.

Because screen printing requires the production of custom screens for each design, it is only cost effective for high-volume campaigns with 9 or less colors. If your campaign has more than 10 orders and less than 10 colors in your design, we will automatically print orders with this method. Base cost of a screen printed item is dependent on number of colors.

DTG – Direct to Garment


Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing

Direct to garment printing, also known as DTG, uses advanced printing technology to apply virtually any graphic to any piece of fabric. DTG printers work a lot like an inkjet printer that you may use at home. This means that items are printed one at a time and there are no color or shape restrictions.

DTG printing is best for low-volume campaigns or designs with 10 or more colors. If your campaign sells less than 10 items, or your design uses 10 or more colors, we will automatically print your items DTG. Items printed DTG have flat rate pricing.



Sublimation Printing

Custom sublimation printing allows for the most design possibilities but also the highest cost. Unlike DTG and screen printing which use ink, the sublimation process involves printing with dye that is then transferred to the fabric.

Sublimation printing will never fade overtime and enables the design to be stretched all the way to the seams of your garment. Items printed with sublimation have flat rate pricing.