Why Screen Printing?


My first blog post! Screen printing never seems to go out of fashion despite the rise of DTG (digital) printing. Why is this?

Automation is coming. You see it when you do your shopping, and when you buy your car insurance. Even top executives are beginning to worry that they will soon be replaced by algorithms in the same way that automation has replaced workers in other industries such as mining, manufacturing, transport, services, and even media! Yet as an industry screen printing endures.

So how can this be? Surely by now in our highly sophisticated age of 3D printing and nano-technology, machines should have superceded the humble screen printer, yet it seems the reverse is true. 

There are two reason for this. Firstly, we should talk about the actual quality of DTG versus screen printing. Although I admit to being biased, I am also a t shirt enthusiast and have been collecting them for the best part of 20 years. Screen prints will outlast your shirt if done right, whereas DTG prints will fade after several months of heavy use. Screen printing can also attain greater accuracy in colour than DTG as the inks used for screen printing can be mixed to match specific pantone colours. This is not an option for DTG, as colours are laid down by a printer just like the inkjet you have at home, and so some colour discrepancy is to be expected. All this is not to say that DTG doesn't have its place. Of course, for small print runs, the minimal set up required for DTG makes it the better choice for cost effectiveness alone and this is where is it used most effectively in the industry. But for larger print runs, and for quality, screen printing still has the edge.

Secondly, there has been a more recent phenomenon that has made screen printing sought after. The re-emergence of handmade goods is a reaction to our increasingly automated lives. Goods that range from jewellery to furniture. This is proof that people still want the real deal. And like the huge explosion of the tattoo industry, people want to see human qualities embodied in their goods. 

DTG printing has emerged at a time when more people than ever are wearing customised apparel, and is currently the only viable alternative to traditional screen printing. But it seems that machines in fact cant do everything as well as we can, for now. And while DTG printing has its place, screen printing still offers the best solution for quality, price, and simply knowing that your goods have been hand-printed.