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Digital vs Screen Printing – What’s the Difference and Which One Is Better For Your Company?

As our company offers screen-printing and digital-printing for decals, we often hear our clients ask us: “What is the difference? Does it really make a huge difference on the end product?” The answer we give is yes and no. It really depends.

If a client is new to purchasing decals, the client probably won’t know how to spot the difference between a screen or digital printed decal. The reason for this is that both types of printing produce almost the same end product. Even so, if a client has been receiving screen-printed decals for many years and suddenly receives one digital-printed; they will often speak up and ask about the quality change.

What we typically see is that clients are more satisfied with the overall quality of the decal when it is produced through screen-print. The reason for this is that screen-printing decorates the decal using inks, which continue through a mesh screen. This gives a stronger color to the end product as well as the ability to use complex mixes to reach the desired color.

Screen-printing takes more manual labor than digital printing. With screen-printing, each color on the decal must be meshed on its own through the screens. For example, if your decal has four colors, the ink will be meshed four times onto the decal.

Digital print, on the other hand, prints from a digital-based image directly to the decal. This form of printing uses less manual labor but is slower than screen-printing for large quantities. This is because with digital printing, a machine is spurring out the decals one at a time. With screen-print, the decals are spread out on a sheet that allows multiple decals to be printed on at once. Therefore, producing 10,000 screen-printed decals would take less time than if the decals were to be digitally printed.

 

Well, which form of printing is best suited for your company?

The answer will be based on the type of product your decal will be going on. For example, if you are placing your decal on a refurbished computer for resell, you most likely will not be too concerned about the lifeline of your decal. Since the consumer will remove your decal upon purchase, a quick digitally printed decal would be best suited. On the other hand, if you are manufacturing a product that requires specific specs to be noted on the product for safety – you will most likely want to purchase a screen-printed decal to ensure the strength and visibility of the decal throughout many years.

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