Difference Between Screen Printing and Digital Printing

Printing reproducing text or images of anything on different materials, such as on paper, clothes, utensils, etc. this process is not new and is being practiced for many years.


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But there are some technical and innovative developments in the process for making it more easy and versatile. The two important methods of printing include screen printing and digital printing.

Both of these methods are most used and preferred due to their advantages. To choose between these methods, it is important to understand their pros and cons and differences too.

Screen Printing vs Digital Printing

The difference between screen printing and digital printing is in the techniques that are used for the process. In screen printing, manpower, along with stencils and inks, are used for printing on different materials includes including textiles, papers, clothes, vases, etc. whereas in digital printing stencils are not required, picture from the computer is directly printed on different materials, including clothes and papers mostly. They are used for different clothes and have different suitability. They also differ in terms of labor. For large printing, only screen printing is the best option; otherwise, expenses on labor and other things exceed.

Screen Printing vs Digital Printing

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Screen printing is an old method of printing, in which printing is done manually with the help of ink and stencils. It is best for dark-colored clothes as it makes the printing color shines brighter.

Different stencils or screens in required for each pattern and color. It is used mostly for balloons, clothes, wallpapers, etc. the prints and colors cannot be customized as per need.

When printing is done with computers and technology, it is called digital printing. In this printing, manual work is less and technical work with technologies is high.

This is best suited for light clothes where the color looks shiner. It can easily be customized. It is done at a faster speed.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonScreen Printing  Digital Printing
InvolvesCreating stencilsArtwork by computers.
Suitable forDark-colored clothesLight-colored clothes
For materialsIt is best for other materials than clothes too.Best for clothes or papers.
Used forTextiles, plastics, and latexPrinting of coupons and direct mail.
Labour  More laborLessor no labor

What is Screen Printing?

Screen printing is used for printing on different materials by using ink and stencils. It is a versatile method of printing. During the 1880s the screen printing took off as a commercial process for the first time. And after that, it is used worldwide.

Screen printing is preferred due to its benefits, as it is cost-effective, especially when the printing is done on a dark background object and a large quantity.

As done on a large production, the cost of materials required for the process is not expensive. It is a very versatile method, as prints, angles, and anything can be changed at any time as per the preferences, etc.

In screen printing, clothe or material input under the stencils of design you want to print, and then the ink is applied to it. The time is given to dry the ink. It is less expensive if you are getting printing something in bulk.

Along with all the advantages and benefits, it also comes with some drawbacks, such as, when you want to print the materials in different colors and designs, it is not a very cost-effective method, as this is suitable for bulk printing.

Therefore, a large investment is required for this process, etc.

Otherwise, also with all the latest trends and designs, it is proven to be not the best choice for printing. But at last, it depends on the needs and preferences of the customer.

screen printing

What is Digital Printing?

Digital printing is a method of printing where the main work is done by using a computer. It is best suited for less quantity as it cost less even if the material printing is not in large in quantity.

It is said to be the best option for printing nowadays; as it does not cost much and not many of the people want printing on large quantity most of them only required printing in small scale, under this prints and color can be customized, this is an option that is not available under screen printing, and that is why digital printing is emerging as a better option.

Other than these, it is a flexible method, the process of printing is faster, therefore best if the material is required urgently.

Like others it also has some drawbacks, such as if quantity is higher it may not be very much cost-effective, therefore only suitable for less quantity, the ink under this method is not absorbed fully can break anytime, last but not least the color may differ in the computer than in reality.

digital printing

Main Differences Between Screen Printing and Digital Printing

  1. Both of them are different methods of printing and therefore involve different equipment and techniques. For screen printing, stencils and inks are required, while for digital printing, the main artwork is not performed by stencils but by computers.
  2. When it comes to clothing printing, both of them are suitable for a different colors of clothing. For dark color, screen printing is an ideal option as it makes the ink look brighter even on a dark background, whereas for light-colored clothing, digital painting is best suitable.
  3. Screen printing can be done of most of the things, from bottles, plastics, tiles, etc. whereas digital paintings are not best for all the materials it comes best on hard and crisp materials that include clothes, paper, etc.
  4. The involvement of labor also differs in both types of paintings. For screen paintings, everything is done manually, and therefore more labor force is required for the process, whereas most of the work is not with the computer only in the case of digital printing. Therefore, less manpower or labor is required.
  5. Screen printing is mostly used for the printing of textiles, plastics, and latex, etc., whereas digital printing is preferred for printing coupons or direct mail (in general on papers and clothes), etc., digital printing is used mostly for making the print more detailed.
Difference Between Screen Printing and Digital Printing
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X15003052
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0038092X20301018
  3. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7027841/
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