Can I use direct-to-substrate (D2) printing to sample a screen print?

Answer

Yes, D2 prints can be used to create samples for a screen print job, but beware of the risks. If it’s a (four-color) process design, chances are that the D2 print will outshine the screen print. So, unless you’ve shown your customer some apples-to-apples examples of screen printing versus digital on the same design, you might have a very unhappy customer.

If it’s a spot-color design with lots of large blocky areas, you might get some "sawdusting" in the digital print, where fibers in the shirt that have white ink on them (especially in high-res 1,440 mode) push up through the CMYK layer of ink before/during the final curing process. There are ways to mitigate the sawdust effect, but an alternative is to explain to the customer that those effects will not appear on the screen printed production run. Finally, be clear that color matching between the two methods will not be exact.

Do you have more questions about D2 versus screen printing? Click here.

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