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Screen Print vs Digital Print Custom Canopy Products


Screen Print Process
A method in which ink is applied directly to the surface to be printed. The logo, text or image to be printed is photographically transferred to a very fine fabric (the screen) such that the non-printed areas are blocked off and the fabric serves as a stencil. The ink is wiped across the screen to pass through the unblocked pores and reach the substrate. For each color to be printed a separate screen is prepared and the process is repeated.

Screen Print – The Upside
Less Is Sometimes More…
When a project calls for basic imaging – two color logos on generic backgrounds like red, black, blue, green, etc. -- screen-print is often the smarter, more cost-effective choice. But only with some products. Canopies yes, banners no. With banners, you need to be printing 250 units or more to make up for the cost of the screens. (See below)

And More Is Sometimes Less
• The major expense in screen printing is the up-front cost of producing the screen themselves. Each additional unit after the first one lowers the per/unit price. Economies of scale with screen print are far more dramatic than with digital.
• Screen print pricing is more flexible than digital. For clients working with tight budgets, we’ll offer advice on how to be as efficient as possible: reducing colors, for example, or cross-purposing screens for different project elements.

Screen Print – The Downside
Screen-print severely limits the complexity of the printed image. You are also limited to specific areas to which ink can be applied. Generally speaking, designs cannot flow from one surface to another.

Large Format Digital Print Process
Large format digital printing is a process by which very large “inkjet type” printers use special solvent inks to print on hundreds of different specially coated media to produce clean, crisp, full color graphics of virtually any size direct from digital files without the need for complex and costly color separations.

Digital Print – The Upside

Maximum Imaging Capacity
• Digital print allows us to handle complex designs, gradients, logos, photography and line illustrations. For all practical purposes, there are no imaging restrictions. You pay the same for one color as you do for a million colors.
• Since we start with white fabric and print over the entire surface, the base color of the printed goods can match corporate Pantone colors.
• When it comes to canopies, digital allows for designs to flow from one canopy peak to the other, or from the peak to the canopy valance. Or from the top of the table cover to the front or the sides.

Digital Print – The Downside
• Digital is usually more expensive than screen-print, and economies of scale for larger orders are minimal. You get more, but you also pay more, for digital print.

Which is Best?
Neither. They’re both great. Depends upon the situation.
For custom canopy products, look toward screen print for basic brand identity and for orders of five units or more. In all cases, for complex art and clients with ambitious branding needs, digital print is the way to go.


How do I determine the number of colors in my logo?
Before contacting us for pricing, you will need to determine the number of colors in your logo so we can correctly estimate your project. Be sure to refer to our Standard Fabric Color. If you are completely confused you may Email Us your logo to us so we can determine best and most cost effective print method.

Here are a couple of examples to help you determine.

Example 1.

In this example the logo is two colors – red and black. The material color is white. This screen printed logo will be reproduced as a two color logo because we can use the material color as logo color #3 (white).

Material Color: White


Example 2.

In this example the logo is two colors – red and white. The material color is black. This screen printed logo will be reproduced as a two color logo because we can use the material color as logo color #3 (black).

Material Color: Black


Example 3.

In this example the logo is three colors – red, white and black. The material color is gray. This screen printed logo will be reproduced as a three color logo.

Material Color: Gray



Example 4.

In this example the logo is four colors – red, white, black and light yellow. The material color is gold. This screen printed logo will be reproduced as a four color.

Material Color: Gold