What is the Difference Between Screen Printing and Heat Transfer?

What is the Difference Between Screen Printing and Heat Transfer?

Promotional products are an essential aspect to your company’s marketing. Think about it: how many pens with business names or hats with logos do you own? The fact is, promotional products make their way into our lives, and making sure your company is ahead of the competition is by having your very own products ready to hand out to clients. When it comes to designs on shirts, however, you may have questions. There are two main options when having your design placed on shirts: screen printing and heat transfer. But what is the difference?

Screen Printing

Screen printing is a process that involves pushing ink through a screen which has a chemical ‘stencil’ of sorts over it. The ink is then pressed through the screen and onto the shirt. When using multiple colors, multiple screens must be used as only one color can be printed using this method at a time. While the process takes longer than heat-transfer, the results of screen printing are much more long-lasting.

Heat Transfer

Heat transfer refers to either a vinyl or digital print being transferred onto a shirt using a combination of heat and pressure. Heat-transferred vinyl involves cutting out the design from pieces of colored vinyl which are then pressed into the shirt. Digital prints are created by printing a design onto a shirt using a special, high-quality paper infused with solvent ink.

When to Use Each

Both screen printing and heat transfer are excellent promo options, there are a variety of factors that may determine which option is better for you. For example, screen printing is best for more simple designs with less colors, while heat transfer is better for detailed designs that have more colors. Other instances which determine which option is better includes the following:

Choose Screen Printing When:

  • Target audience values product that is durable & lasts longer
  • You want your design to withstand the wash better
  • Printing simple designs on darker shirts
  • You have a simple, but large order to fill
  • All shirts will be the same design

Choose Heat Transfer When:

  • Your target audience values environmentally-friendly materials
  • Your design is more intricate with many colors
  • Each design is different/individualized
  • You don’t mind your design being used for short-term use
  • You are planning to use lighter shirts

Overall, both screen printing and heat transfer are great options for promotional products. Whatever you decide to go with, your audience is sure to remember you. If you are looking to have shirts made, give Pelican Promos a call today at 251-517-9425! We are here to fill all your promo product needs.