5 Most Common Printing Techniques

Spend five minutes observing your surroundings, whether at the mall, grocery store, or sporting event, and you’re sure to notice several different printing techniques. Each technique has its own merits and drawbacks, so take a look at five of the most common printing techniques and decide which one is right for your next printing job.

Screen Printing

This printing technique has been one of the most reliable for quite a long time now, and is a favorite among veteran printers. Compared to other techniques, screen printing is relatively simple to do, and it’s also cost effective for large batches of garments, so it’s the go-to technique for bulk orders.

Screen printing provides a quick turnaround, as anywhere from 1,000 garments can be printed per hour, with those numbers sometimes rising quite substantially based on the print design and the skill and experience of the printer.

Although it’s a simple process, it does involve multiple steps of repetition in order to achieve the desired result. This can compromise the resolution and quality of the design, which is one of its primary drawbacks.

Transfer Printing

The transfer printing technique allows printers to produce high-quality color images, even when dealing with very intricate designs. That’s why it has been an industry favorite for full-color printing. For artists who are looking to bring their work to life on fabric, transfer printing is a fantastic technique to consider.

Transfer printing consists of putting an image onto a special piece of transfer paper, and then using a heat press to transfer it onto the garment. One of the limitations of transfer printing is the variety of fabrics the technique can be used on. Fabrics that are sensitive to high temperatures should be avoided, and this process should be used on higher quality, more durable fabrics.


Sublimation is similar in many ways to transfer printing; however, the science behind it is a bit more complicated. When heated, the special sublimation ink turns into a gas. This gas then embeds itself into the garment, thus creating a clean, professional appearance.

The disadvantage of sublimation printing is that it can only be done on 100% polyester garments, which limits the variety of garments it can be used on. Sublimation also has a generally higher start-up cost than transfer printing, as you’ll need a dedicated sublimation printer, specialty sublimation paper and ink, as well as sublimation-compatible blanks.

Direct-to-garment Printing (DTG)

DTG is a relatively newer printing technique that is like using a printer to directly print on the garment. Because it uses a printer, it can support very detailed designs and a multitude of colors at once.

This printing technique is better suited – and more cost effective – for smaller batches of garments, as it’s a much slower process than screen printing, with an average of 30 – 60 t shirts per hour as compared to screen printing’s 1000 prints per hour.


Embroidery isn’t technically printing, but it is becoming more popular with clients, especially corporations who desire a long-lasting, high-quality product. Indeed, embroidery does project a look of class, quality, expense, and professionalism.

The issue with embroidery is that because of the required technique of applying thread to the garment, the shading and intricate details of the original artwork can sometimes be lost. Often when this happens, the detail appears to be too thick because of all of the thread used. Still, for clients seeking a more professional look, embroidery is often the best choice.

Whichever garment printing techniques you prefer, look to Augusta Sportswear – which now conveniently combines all three of our brands: Augusta Sportswear, Holloway and High Five – for all of your garment needs.

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