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Heat Transfer vs. Screen Printing

So you have a corporate event coming up and you are getting T-shirts printed up to use as giveaways. There is always that nagging question in the back of your head when it comes to this part of the project, “Should I go with shirts that use heat transfer or should I opt for screen printed ones instead?”

T shirt printingBefore you decide on going with one versus the other, there are a couple of other things you should keep in mind.

 Things to Consider

Durability

Overall, screen printed shirts tend to last longer than shirts that were created with heat transfer. This is simply because of how the screen printing process works. Heat transfer designs are actually preprinted on a very specific paper and then transferred to the shirt via a heat press. Over time, the colors tend to fade and will wash out in the laundry.

The silkscreen process is completely different. This method applies different colors of ink directly to the material in layers. Each layer is screened onto the shirt. The ink sticks, or bonds, to the shirt fibers. This stands up to washing a lot better than shirts that are made utilizing heat transfers. It will still degrade over time, all shirts do, but you will certainly notice that you get longer use out of your screen printed t-shirt than you do from one that was made using a heat transfer press.

Yet in the end, the decision is totally up to you. If your event does not require a spectacularly formal presentation then heat transfer might be your best option. Your embroidery shop will be able to point you toward the best option. Consult with them, they are your best resource.

Shirt Color

This is something you might not have even considered, but shirt color is a factor, particularly when it comes to heat transfer designs. If you’re using a light-colored T-shirt, then your heat transferred design probably will not be too noticeable. Yet, if you are using a dark shirt then the edges of your heat transfer design may be more noticeable. This might not be a factor for you but is definitely information you need to be aware of. Your print shop can give you color suggestions if you decide to go the heat transfer route.

Quantity

Finally, you need to decide on a quantity before you make your purchase. Often times, companies will only do a run of screen printed shirts if you commit to order 25 or more. Just ask your printer what the requirements are before you place your order. Heat transfer shirts are able to be printed in limited quantities because each transfer is printed individually. With the screen printing process, the screens are set up with your design and your color choices for ink. Therefore, the printer wants to make sure that setting up a screen print will be worth their while before they commit to your order.

Those are just a few things to keep in mind before placing your order. Again, talk with your embroidery/print shop and they will guide you towards the product choices and processes that best suit your needs. In the end, they will be able to provide a product to you that is economical, efficient, and looks great.

Contact us today for questions on your next order and we’ll be happy to provide a free quote at no obligation.

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