Screen Printing vs. Digital Printing: What's the Difference?

Screen printing and digital printing are two of the most common techniques used when printing custom lanyards. They both use different methods of getting your design onto the fabric and each has its drawbacks and advantages such as speed, cost and color selection. Which one you choose will depend on your budget, the level of detail of your design and what type of fabric you’ll be printing on.

what is the difference between screen printing and digital printing

Screen Printed Lanyards: History and Advantages

Screen printing is one of the oldest forms of transferring images to fabric and other materials. It is documented as going as far back as the Sung Dynasty in Japan (AD 960 - 1280) and was also used for the mass production of playing cards in the middle ages.

Today, silk screen printing is one of the methods that we use to transfer your logo onto our custom lanyards. The process involves making a print of your logo on a mesh screen and forcing the ink through the mesh onto the lanyard fabric. We use screen printing as one of our printing techniques because it offers a number of advantages.

Cost Efficient. Screen printing is a cost efficient process that is ideal for use with large orders. Once, we have set up our presses for your run, it’s simply a matter of transferring your design from the screen onto your lanyards.

Versatile. If your design requires vivid colors and high detail, screen printing is the way to go. Because the ink is layered, we are able to achieve colors that are brighter than other printing methods and truer to the colors in your design. When it comes to custom lanyards, it’s definitely the details that make the difference.

Durable. Screen printing provides a high quality and durable end product, which is important if you’re planning on using your custom lanyards as promotional tools or keepsakes. The nature of screen printing allows us to print on lanyards of any thickness and results in an end product that can hold up under machine washing.

The Downside?  Because screen printing requires a setup fee per color before your run, it isn’t as cost effective for smaller orders as digital printing. With screen printing, bigger is better - the larger your order, the lower the cost to print your design per lanyard.

Dye-Sublimated Lanyards: History and Advantages

Dye-sublimation is a digital printing method that was first used commercially in the late 1980s. It offers high resolution full color printing capabilities that are ideal for highly saturated, highly detailed designs.  Our dye-sublimated lanyard printing services offer a number of advantages to clients looking for fast turn-around times with no minimum order.

A Natural Look. The digital printing process involves transferring ink onto a surface using heat and pressure. The colors are much more integrated in comparison to screen printing where the ink is actually layered onto the fabric. The result is a design that looks almost as if it is woven into the lanyard instead of sitting on top of it. This technique is ideal for use on lanyards with a glossy finish.

Fast Turn-Around Times. One of the main advantages of dye-sublimated printing is that it is fast and the potential color spectrum is unlimited. Set up time is minimal which allows us to keep costs down and offer fast turn-around times on custom lanyards without any minimum order.

The Downside? Unlike screen printing, the types of surfaces that can be printed on digitally with outstanding results is much more limited. Smooth surfaces offer a better canvas for digital printing and yield higher quality results.

Have more questions about our process or want to know more about how you can get your own custom lanyards printed? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions section or contact us directly.

Posted on November 12, 2014 and filed under Printed Lanyards.