The first promotional t-shirt was printed in 1939 for The Wizard of Oz, and the rest is history. Printed shirts have been a staple of branding and marketing ever since.

Of course, printing methods have evolved in the last 80 years or so. You have more choices than ever when it comes to types of shirt printing.

Not sure which method is best for your bulk order? This quick guide will help you make the best choice.

Screen Printing Is One of the Most Popular Types of Shirt Printing

You might be convinced that screen printing is the best t-shirt printing method, that’s how much the pros love it.

It’s easy to see why. Screen printing usually turns in good results, even though it’s one of the oldest methods. Consider it tried-and-true, especially for vibrant and long-last designs.

The downside is that multi-colored designs can be a bit time-consuming. A separate screen is used for each color.

Go Direct With DTG

DTG is short for direct to garment, which is another of the popular t-shirt printing techniques today.

DTG designs are created digitally, then fed through a printer. The key difference here is that the design is printed directly onto the fabric of the garment.

DTG has a significant advantage over screen printing when it comes to intricate designs. If you have a multi-layered design with lots of colors, DTG is your best bet.

Heat Press Printing Is Great for Small Batches

If you only need a few shirts, you might wonder what different types of shirt printing are available. After all, screen printing and DTG methods are more suited to large orders.

Heat press printing is a great option. Simply put your designs on specialized transfer paper. Add heat, and watch as your design transfers to the shirt.

This method is sometimes known as vinyl printing or vinyl cutting. The transfer paper is often made out of vinyl, hence the name.

There are a couple of drawbacks. It’s less flexible, so printing large areas of the shirt isn’t a good idea. It’s also unsuitable for heat-sensitive garments, and it takes more time.

Dye Sublimation Is Perfect for Large Designs

If you want to print a large design on your shirt, you’re not going to use vinyl cutting. You might want to consider a technique called dye sublimation.

In this process, a special liquid dye prints the designs. When the dye comes into contact with the fabric, it solidifies.

There are a few reasons dye sublimation isn’t as popular as other types of t-shirts printing. First, it only works with certain fabrics, like polyester. Next, it can be expensive.

If you’re using a dye sub-friendly material and have the budget, though, the end result is a stunning, high-quality design that will stand the test of time.

Stunning Custom Apparel at Your Fingertips

Now that you know a little about the different types of shirt printing, it should be easier to pick the right method for your next order.

If you need a hand at any stage of the process, from design to printing, we’re here to help. Our expert team makes getting fantastic custom apparel a breeze.