How to Know which Printing Technique is Right for You



At Garment Printing, we employ a variety of different printing techniques to ensure we always achieve the best possible results with the fabric and the design involved. This wealth of choice means there’s bound to be an option that’s perfect for your unique circumstances – but it can make the decision a more difficult one, especially to those who are not well-versed in the subject.

Printing Techniques

With that in mind, this handy guide should help to take you through the various different types of t shirt printing techniques used at Garment Printing, how they work, which items they’re best suited to and how the cost compares to the alternatives. Rest assured, among these six options, there’s bound to be one that’s ideal for your needs:

CAD cut vinyl printing

CAD cut vinyl involves using a plotter to mark and cut your design from the chosen fabric, then applying this to the garment via heat transfer. It’s best suited to designs consisting only of letters and numbers and just one or two colours, making it ideal for sports team kits, simple workwear designs and the suchlike. With no set-up costs, CAD cut vinyl is relatively fast and inexpensive.

Direct-to-garment (DTG) printing

As the name suggests, DTG prints the image directly onto the garment via the use of an inkjet printer that employs water-based inks which have been designed specifically for the purpose. This is most appropriate for complex designs which use many different colours, since it can achieve vivid results that resemble a high-definition photograph. It can also be used to print right to the edge of the fabric, but is most effective when printed onto white or other light materials, preferably comprised of cotton or a cotton blend. It also has minimal set-up fees, making it fast and cheap for quantities of any amount.

Dye sublimation

Dye sublimation is a process whereby the design is first printed onto a special kind of paper, then transferred onto the garment using heat and pressure. It’s not compatible with non-synthetic materials and shows best results with white 100% polyester, but it can achieve more vibrant colours than any other method of printing. It’s more expensive than some other techniques, such as DTG and CAD cut vinyl printing.


Embroidery involves stitching the design directly into the garment itself, thus creating a high-end look that exudes sophistication and professionalism. It’s also the most durable of all of the methods here, since it will generally endure for the entire lifespan of the garment, but it’s unsuitable for large or complicated designs. It does involve a set-up cost to calibrate the artwork for the garment, meaning it’s most economically viable for slightly larger orders, but it can be cost-effective when bought in bulk.

Screen printing

Screen printing uses a mesh screen to print the design onto the garment. Ink paste is squeezed through the screen onto the fabric, thus creating the design. It’s highly consistent and price-competitive when used on bulk orders, meaning it’s hands down the best option for when thousands of garments are required. There are also plenty of ink options to choose from, including glow-in-the-dark, eco-friendly and metallic inks.

Transfer printing

Very similar to CAD cut vinyl, transfer printing also involves printing the design onto a separate material, then transferring it onto the garment via heat and pressure. However, unlike CAD cut vinyl, transfer printing can be used to create a larger number of different colours and is suitable for garments of all colours. With no set-up costs, affordable production and a broad palette, it’s perfect for low-quantity orders where a range of colours are used.

Speak to the professionals

Still unsure about which printing method is right for your particular needs? Don’t worry. We have years of experience in all of the aforementioned techniques and can offer impartial advice about which is best suited to deliver the aesthetic you desire for the price you want to pay. With an extensive catalogue of clothing options available – all of them sourced from reputable suppliers and combining the ideal combination of fashion and functionality – we’re a one-stop shop for all your personalised garment needs.

Why delay any longer? Whether you have a question about a particular printing method or would just like to obtain a quote on an upcoming order, our friendly and knowledgeable team are on hand to help. Give us a ring on 0207 101 9315 or fill out our online contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can – normally within 15 minutes during working hours. We’re waiting to hear from you!

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