Shirt Printing Methods

Shirt Printing Methods: Which is Best For You?

Do you need t-shirts printed but aren’t sure where to start? We have several different types of shirt printing methods to choose from. Figuring out which one works best for you doesn’t have to be confusing; we are here to help. 

What is Shirt Printing?

different printing

Shirt printing is the process in which designs are transferred onto shirts. Most companies that print shirts also print on other garments such as hats, bags, hoodies, etc. 

What design you want on your shirt is entirely up to you. It can range from simple lettering and numbers to more intricate or custom designs. You can bring in your own logo and design, or we can create one here for you. 

How Many Types of Shirt Printing Are in The Garment Industry?

get your shirt printed

Several different options are available for printing your design. The best choice for your project will depend on the following:

  • Number of shirts
  • Design complexity
  • Budget 

The primary printing options you will find at a local t-shirt shop or online are:

  • Computer-aided Design (CAD) Cut 
  • Direct to Garments (DTG)
  • Dye Sublimation
  • Heat Press Printing
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl
  • Plastisol Transfer
  • Screen printing
  • Sublimination

Most local t-shirt printing companies provide screen printing, but other options vary from shop to shop. 

The Types of Shirt Printing Offered at Trekker Designs

Here at Trekker Designs, we provide a variety of shirt printing options for you to choose from. We can print one or hundreds of shirts depending on what you need. To decide which printing type is right for you, let’s look at the pros and cons of each type. 

Screen Printing

printed t shirt

Screen printing, also known as silk screening, is the most common form of shirt printing. With screen printing, designs are applied onto a shirt through a mesh ‘screen’ containing a negative-space stencil.  Because each color in the design requires the preparation of a screen, designs with only a few colors are best. This type of printing is best for large orders with simple designs.

Pros of Screen Printing

  • Design is durable and high quality
  • Large orders can be cost-effective
  • Colors are bright and long-lasting
  • Suitable for most fabric types

Cons of Screen Printing

  • Not ideal for complex designs with many colors
  • Less cost-effective than other printing types for small orders

Direct to Garments (DTG)

For direct to garments (DTG) printing, a special printer prints your custom design directly onto the 100% cotton garment of your choice. This form of printing is highly customizable. 

Pros of Direct to Garments

  • Perfect for complex designs
  • Design is soft to the touch
  • Fast process

Cons of Direct to Garments

  • Less durable long-term compared to other printing types
  • Not suitable for all fabric types

Computer-aided Design (CAD) Cut

Computer-aided design (CAD) cut printing uses a computer to cut a design out of vinyl. The vinyl is then heat pressed to the garment for a durable, high-quality design. CAD cut designs are best for projects with simple designs, such as adding numbers to sports uniforms. 

Pros of CAD Cut Printing

  • Durable
  • Perfect for small quantities of shirts
  • Great for simple designs, such as numbers or words

Cons of CAD Cut Printing

  • Not suitable for temperature-sensitive fabrics
  • Reduces flexibility of the garment

Other Shirt Customization Methods


Embroidery is another high-quality option for customizing your garments. It can be a little more expensive than printing your design, but it produces a unique classy product. 

You can find more information about all of our services here

Shirt Printing FAQ

What’s the Most Durable T-Shirt Printing Method?

The most durable printing method is screen printing. A screen-printed design will generally last the lifetime of the shirt. 

What is the Most Popular Shirt Printing Method?

The most popular printing method is screen printing, primarily because of the high-quality, long-lasting results. 

Which Printing Method is Best for a T-Shirt?

The best printing method will depend on the number of shirts, the complexity of the design, and your budget. 

Contact Trekker Designs to Print Your Shirts

No matter your project, we have options for you. To get more information on pricing, call us at (541) 884-5990 or email us at

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