Difference between screen printing and Digital printing
Screen printing or serigraphy is a printing process that was invented in China over two thousand years ago. As its name implies screen printing uses screens to create different layers of color on a material to make the required design. The process uses a perforated screen to transfer ink onto the material to be printed on (called the substrate), while also preventing the ink from getting on parts of the substrate with a non-permeable material (a stencil) attached to the screen. The ink is pushed through tiny holes in the mesh onto the material as the printing machine momentarily presses the screen against the material. This process is repeated using different inks and stencils until the desired pattern is achieved.
Digital printing on the other hand, is a computer based printing method where a digital image is printed directly onto the substrate. It is sometimes called ‘direct imaging.’ The image to be designed on the material is first created in a computer as an artwork, and then it is transferred directly onto the material in much the same way as we print paper documents on a desktop computer/printer system. Digital printing is a fairly new development in the art of printing.
So which is better? There is no definite answer to that question because each method of printing has its pros and cons. To determine which method is preferable one would have to take into consideration the specifics of the particular design. Factors to consider include the quality of the final product, material to be printed on, size of the order, the project budget and amount of time available.
Pros of Screen Printing
1. Ideal for large orders because costs reduce with quantity.
2. Produces vibrant colors due to the thickness of ink applied.
3. Longer lasting and more durable.
4. Good for large size prints.
5. Versatile: Prints on wide variety of materials and shapes.
Cons of Screen Printing
1 Requires a lot of set-up time: screen, stencil and ink preparation.
2. Minimum order required.
3. The end product feels thick.
4. Not good for photos or high resolution images.
5. Not always clean.
Pros of Digital Printing
1. Great for small orders; can print only one copy.
2. Is good for photos; it has excellent resolution.
3. Great for complex designs with minute details.
4. The finish is thin and cannot be felt.
5. The final product is very clean.
Cons of Digital Printing
1. Cost does not reduce with quantity.
2. The range of colors is limited by the printer.
3. Cannot print white ink.
4. Print area limited by printer size.
5. Ink is expensive.