What You Need To Know To Distinguish Digital From Traditional Printing

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There are many ways to differentiate digital printing from traditional print. To better understand their similarities and differences, let’s take a look at their product samples.

In this article, we will use as an example the printing of textiles using both digital and traditional printing to have a clear picture of both processes.


Over the years, printing textiles keep on evolving starting from block printing down to the use of machines with rotary screen and processes that employ heat transfer. The market in global arena on textile printing is much smaller compared to fashion in general.


Textile printing market involves 58 percent rotary screen printing, and there isn’t any digital distribution statistics. So we have to comprehend why digital distribution? And which of the two is much better?


It is a significant competition of conventional printing textile screen technologies, which utilizes analog technology platform.


Screen Printing


Screen printing is a traditional process that incorporates screen creation and uses it as a stencil to employ ink layers on the surface of a print material. A particular screen requires every color used in the design, one after the other or mixed up together to create a final output.


The best options for designs that need a higher category of vibrancy is printing on a screen. Screen printing is best for bulk orders.


The color of the dye has thicker application in screen printing than in digital printing where there are brighter colors even in dark shades. Further, it is much easier to mass produce and cost efficient to utilize screen printing than digital.


When you look at the perspectives of fashion, changing seasons are on a regular footing, and it is public knowledge that the significant factor for market domination is fashion. The offshoot for this, retailers are reluctant to make bulk orders, and they guarantee repeat orders. Printing manufacturers, therefore, have to think of new strategies to survive.


Printing on fabric with an engraved roller can be problematic due to the incapacity of the roller to accommodate 1200 mm as it will bend down under its weight.


Flatbed printing operates at a slower speed, which gravely affects production, and the display size can be up to nine meters wide for different fabric end-users. A major issue of the screen-printing system is the reliance of machines on the production design of a roller or screen.


Traditional screen printing of short duration entails higher cost because of a higher downtime, great fabric wastage and print pastes, as well as high labor and engraving costs.


Digital Printing


Digital printing is a brainchild that includes artwork going through the computer, and then directly printed on fabric. Digital printing does not undergo heat transfer as the ink can stick directly to the fabric surface.


Digital distribution is much easier in processing than traditional printing. A customer can make a request for multi-color designs without setting up a screen for each color.

Digital printing doesn’t use a filter to process photographic print in more details like that of traditional printing. It saves both money and time. Digital printing is usually for designs with lots of details, color, and higher resolution.


And since the ink is applied much thinner, digital printing is of better use on lighter ground color, which can make the hue glisten. In fact, designs printed digitally can have greater production as there are no physical or screen set ups.


What is the Difference of Conventional Printing and Digital Printing according to four categories?




Screen Printing – The process here is creating a stencil using an image drawn or digitized, attaching the photo to the screen and placing it on the canvas and then spreading out ink over the picture.


Digital Printing – All you need is a printer and a computer with ink cartridge of different colors.




Screen Printing – Takes much effort to prepare. It is time-consuming as filters need preparation before use.


Digital Printing – Easy to operate as you will just be clicking keys on a keyboard.




Screen Printing – More quality performance as the ink gets deeper into the fabric. It also absorbs and lasts longer. And it gives emphasis to the picture edge because of the precision the stencils create.


Digital Printing – The ink does not scatter because photos are directly transferred to the fabric. However, they tend to fade quicker as all the colors are in one image and do not require a screen for the same hues.




Screen Printing – Costs much higher as a person who requires complex colors will need individual screens for all these colors. The process will also need an expert laborer to perform this job which again adds up to operational expenses.


Digital Printing – You will only need a computer and a printer and color cartridge to print the images.




Digital printing is here to stay, and it offers added value based on some benefits and characteristics that are essential for the rapidly changing environment in printed media.


Traditional print is actually in use by larger companies where printing is a contributing factor to their businesses because it is much cheaper when done in bulk.


However, for small time business owners with not so many customers, digital printing is more suitable considering factors like capitalization and return on investment.

About Patrick P.

An entrepreneur has persevered, and eventually obtained commendable entrepreneurial track records. Experienced & results driven, he is the Founder & CEO of LinkVista Digital Inc. Patrick has years of experience in the world of SEO & Digital Marketing and has launched numerous campaigns working together with various companies both local & overseas. He loves nurturing young minds and mold them in becoming effective leaders in their chosen fields.
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