Screen Printing vs. Digital Printing: Know the Difference

Car wrapping specialist putting vinyl film on a vehicle.

When it comes to fleet graphics, companies are faced with two options: screen printing or digital printing.

They both have their benefits and drawbacks, depending on your business, budget and mobile marketing goals.

At Signature Graphics, we are proud to offer both digital and screen printing options. Let’s take a look at some of the considerations to make with the decision:

Screen Printing

We often use this traditional printing method for larger fleet projects because of the higher degree of control it offers regarding professional color accuracy and contrast. It involves making a stencil-type design on a fabric, with several ink layers pressed through it onto the print material. The different inks are applied with a separate screen stencil for the final visual result.

Some of the benefits of screen printing include:

  • Versatile: Can be used on materials such as banners, glass, wood, signs, electronics and more
  • Quality: Higher output than offered by digital prints
  • Durable: Maintains its quality better on long-term prints
  • Convenience: Simple to print on specific parts of material

One thing to be aware of with screen printing is that the upfront costs are typically higher than with digital printing. Other potential drawbacks of screen printing include:

  • Doesn’t feature the same level of customization that digital printing offers
  • More limited in the scope of color choices

Digital Printing

Signature Graphics often utilizes digital printing for smaller companies who may only have a few vehicles in their fleet. The modern technique creates a digital image using computers, with that image being printed directly onto the selected material. Because it involves much less pre-press work, it is a more cost-effective choice for some projects.

Consider these benefits of digital printing:

  • Affordable: Has lower startup costs
  • Efficient: Features quicker turnaround times
  • Customizable: Can be individualized in a variety of ways; good choice for one-time print runs
  • Easy transfer: Photographic images transferred simply

There are some drawbacks to digital printing, however. They include:

  • Print is not as durable as screen prints
  • Fewer options of printable fabrics
  • Printing in bulk does not offer cost reductions because of fixed prices

Digital printing, while more limited than screen printing in some ways, is a fine choice for finely detailed images or designs that feature complex gradients.

Signature Graphics proudly uses 3MTM graphic films and overlaminates. To learn more about how Signature Graphics can take your company to the next level visually through screen printing or digital printing, email us or call 800-356-3235. 

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