custom full color screen printing yellow shirt

Screen Printing Vs Heat Transfer: What’s The Difference

What’s The Right Custom Garment Printing Option?

Whether printing a logo for your company or designing a new t-shirt for your band, there’s several options available to get the job done. People are often left deciding between two of the most popular choices in either full color screen printing or heat transfer. So what’s the right choice for your shirt print? We break down the benefits of each garment printing method, and which is the right choice for your project!

What’s The Difference?

While both are used for printing logos, designs, text, and imagery on t-shirts and other garments, they different strongly due to their processes. Full color custom screen printing utilizes screen meshes to allow the ink to pass through to the fabric. This process is repeated several times with several screens to pass multiple colors through and create the actual design you’re after. Only one screen can be used per color, so a multi-color design can take a bit longer to produce. With that said, the finished product is very high quality, and will last significantly longer than other garment printing processes.

Heat transfer typically uses vinyl letters, numbers, and imagery that is assembled based on your requirements. The vinyl pieces are then transferred to the vinyl via an intense amount of heat and pressure via a heat press machine.

What To Know About Screen Printing

While a bit more involved of a process, the overall print produced by full color custom screen printing is significantly higher quality than other garment printing methods available. Because of the overall process, colors are able to last significantly longer without cracking or fading. Full color screen printing can be used across a variety of garments and materials, making it extremely versatile. Additionally, even on dark colored garments you can expect rich, colorful prints you wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere.

Keep in mind that due to the overall length of the full color screen printing process, it’s best for larger quantities of garments versus smaller orders. With that said, minimum pricing is much lower than that of heat transfer printing making it very viable for larger runs, especially because of its higher overall quality.

What To Know About Heat Transfer

Heat transfer garment printing is ideal for smaller, quick print runs, as they have a lower setup time than other printing processes. This allows for much shorter lead times compared against screen printing, however the quality is lackluster in comparison. It’s a much stiffer design that doesn’t tend to flow with the rest of the fabric, and tends to stick to the skin when worn.

While good in a quick pinch, heat transfer garments aren’t likely to last long and will begin to fall apart after just a few wash cycles.

So, Which Printing Service Is Right For Me?

Ultimately, the printing process you choose boils down to your situation, budget, etc. If you’re in need of printing garments ASAP and don’t care about the quality or just need a small batch, then heat transfer is a good option. Otherwise, custom full color screen printing sets the standard every single time. Bright, vibrant, and stunning, screen printed garments are sure to stand out. While they are better for larger print jobs, you’ll find yourself blown away by the quality of the print every single time, especially when compared against heat transfer printing.

Looking for high quality screen printing that’s guaranteed to blow everyone away? You’ve found it at Liberated Images! For years, we’ve dedicated ourselves to creating stunning prints across a multitude of garments, and we can do the same for you, too! To learn more, simply contact us today here!