Best T-shirt Printing Methods

Printed customized clothing and accessories are a popular choice for marketers and retail brands who are looking to communicate a message or identity.

With choices of garments and production methods dictated by material, quantity, number of colours, turn around and budget, it can be overwhelming. Take a look at the different t-shirt printing methods below:

Screen Printing

This is perhaps the most common technique. It’s simple, versatile, and fairly durable. It also offers scalability, so you can print high volumes of t-shirts and hoodies for a low unit price. It is, however, very limited in colour mixing, meaning you can’t get many intricate designs and the overall quality of images is not as effective compared to other methods.

Transfer Printing

Transfer printing involves permanently transferring an image from one surface to another. It was previously used to add fine details to things like glass and ceramics, but the method has been adapted to work on fabric as well. It typically requires heat to transfer an image from surface to surface. It’s simple and can produce complex designs, but it’s slow and has some limitations on what type of fabric can be used.

Cad Cut Vinyl

Despite being a printing technique, no actual printing is involved. A machine cuts high-quality vinyl into the shape of your desired design, then it is applied to a shirt using heat. Due to its complex nature, it’s not ideal for mass printing and bulky designs do not work very well. Transfers and Vinyl often separate from the garments in tumble dryers or after multiple washes.


Embroidery also doesn’t require any printing. Instead, a design is stitched into the fabric by a machine or by hand. This is one of the most popular methods for long-lasting garment branding due to how professional it looks. Sadly, the use of thread can sometimes reduce the quality of a logo design and it’s very difficult to do small and intricate designs.

Advantages of Direct to Garment T-shirt printing methods

Direct to garment offers a large number of advantages over other traditional printing methods.

  • Large range of colour options
  • Can be used for detailed and broad designs
  • Extremely fast process
  • Available for both mass production and short production runs
  • Low setup costs make it easy to access
  • Works on coloured garments as well
  • Accurate reproduction and high-quality results
  • Water-based, making it eco-friendly
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