Characteristics of Printing: Screen VS Digital Printing


I was amazed to learn that soon Facebook will step out of virtual space and take up actual space on your brick and mortar walls! After imprinted promotional products like T-shirts, mugs, pens and bags, it is time now for imprinted Facebook, thanks to a new service called Printing Facebook which creates a poster collage by printing out your Facebook friends¡¯ profile pictures.

This latest piece of news has left me awe-struck about how often we tend to ignore seemingly minor processes like printing, that make up our brand¡¯s success recipe. So I decided that my next post will be dedicated to the characteristics of this process that has made marketing so vivid.

I know this sounds very clich¨¦d, but the simplest way to describe Screen and Digital Printing (the two types of printing in use today) would be to compare them to two sides of the same coin. To make the process of differentiation easier I am using simple parameters like the tools they each use, efforts involved, quality and the costs that both the types entail.

Screen Printing

A better way to understand this would be to Google ¡®Andy Warhol + Marilyn Monroe and see screen printing at its wondrous best! Warhol used the silk screening method (using the silk fabric to make screens) and created amazing pop art images of the diva.

Tools – The process involves making a stencil using a drawn/digitized image or a photograph, attaching it to a screen, placing it over the desired canvas and spreading the ink over the image.

Efforts – Takes a lot of time-consuming effort, because the screens need to be made and the process takes long.

Quality – Offers better quality imaging as the ink gets deeply absorbed and lasts longer. Screen printing also gives clearer edges to the image printed, because of the precision that carefully created stencils offer.

Cost – Costs escalate with the number of screens. If you want a more complex image with many colors, then individual slides for every color are created. Screen printing also requires trained labor which adds to the cost. However screen printing is apt if you want a large quantity. For example if you have a large order for promotional t-shirts or promotional calendars then go for screen printing.

Digital Printing

This is one of the boons that technology has given the marketing mankind. You only have to feed the image into the computer and it is printed directly without using any screens.

Tools – All you need is a computer and a printer with ink cartridges of every color.

Efforts ¨C As it is so easy to operate and gives results at the touch of a key, it is relatively quicker

Quality ¨C Choose this only if you want a fewer number of products imprinted. For example, a personalized T-shirt or a mug you want to gift for a special event. The ink doesn¡¯t spread because the image is directly printed on the fabric, but tends to fade quicker than the screen printed images. However, if you have a colorful image to imprint, then this is an apt option for you as all the colors are present in the single image, and you don¡¯t need separate screens for the same.

Cost ¨C The computer and printers are one time investments and digital printing is cheaper compared to screen printing as the charge is often for per imprinted image.

To view a large variety of imprinted promotional products for your advertising & business promotion, please visit our website at

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