Choosing The Right Garment Printing Method For Your Project

Choosing The Right Garment Printing Method For Your Project

So, you’ve got a fantastic design in mind and a bunch of plain t-shirts begging for some personality. But wait!

How do you decide on the best printing method to bring your vision to life? Fear not, Superior Ink Printing in Denver, CO has your back. Let’s dive into the wild world of garment printing, where each method has its quirks and charms much like all of us here at the shop! But first...

Here are the key questions you need to ask when determining the right method for your project:

  1. Volume: What type of volume will you be printing?
  2. Garments: What type of garments will be used?
  3. Artwork Complexity: What is the complexity of the artwork?

Knowing these details of your project will take the guesswork out of choosing the right printing method. Let's dive into a few of the most common methods and how we execute the printing process to make sure that your custom merchandise comes out just right.

Choosing The Right Garment Printing Method For Your Project

Screen Printing: The Classic Choice

The Project: Screen printing shines when it comes to large orders. This is simply because custom screens need to be made for each layer of the design. Screen printing is our bread and butter, and we think that it makes an impact on both the producer and consumer simply because it can timelessly represent a brand. Think event merchandise, bulk company t-shirts, or team uniforms. It’s cost-effective for high-volume runs, making it perfect for projects where quantity and consistency are key.

The Fabric: Screen printing is versatile and works well on most fabrics, including cotton, polyester, and blends. It’s especially effective on fabrics where the ink can sit on top without soaking in too much, providing vibrant, durable prints. With screen printing, you can use various water-based and specialty inks like puff, suede, and shimmer.

Industry Applications:

  • Corporate Merchandise: Perfect for promotional products, employee uniforms, and corporate events. New hires will love the extra effort to make them look like a part of the team.
  • Sports Teams: Ideal for team jerseys, fan gear, and promotional giveaways. Easy to combine with embroidery and patches to make official, licensed merch.
  • Music and Entertainment: Great for band merchandise, festival gear, and concert tees. Primed to become a collector's item.
  • Restaurants and Breweries: Great for both patrons and staff, bringing everyone together. Great designs that include catchy sayings can make these fly off the shelves and keep them coming back for more.

A Note On Sustainability at Superior Ink Screen Printing, Denver CO: We know plastisol inks aren’t the most eco-friendly option due to their PVC content. That’s why we’ve committed to more sustainable screen printing practices. When we do screen printing at our shop in Denver, CO we use water-based inks, which are less harmful to the environment and provide a softer feel to the prints. Our water-based inks ensure that your designs not only look good but also feel good and are better for the planet. It's screen-printing you can feel good about.


  • Few fabric limitations
  • Premium quality printing
  • Cost-effective for large-volume runs
  • Many different ink options and special effects


  • Not great for low-quantities

The Match: If your project involves large quantities and you’re working with a variety of fabrics, screen printing with water-based inks is your go-to. Any project with a high volume is perfect for screen printing. Pair it with our fulfillment through Superior Pack, and high-volume printing never felt so easy!

Consiously Coastal

Direct-to-Garment (DTG): The Digital Dream

The Project: DTG is ideal for smaller orders and intricate designs. Whether you’re creating custom artwork, limited edition pieces, or samples, DTG provides high detail and unlimited color possibilities.

The Fabric: DTG loves cotton. This method works best on 100% cotton fabrics, providing a soft, smooth finish that blends seamlessly with the garment. Unfortunately, DTG can be a bit picky with other materials, especially polyester and blends. This can make it unreliable when it comes to consistency in printing on fabrics other than cotton.

Industry Applications:

  • Art and Fashion: Ideal for limited edition art pieces, boutique clothing lines, and custom designs.
  • Small Businesses: Perfect for small business branding, custom uniforms, and promotional items.
  • Personal Use: Great for personalized gifts, family reunions, and smaller runs of custom items.


  • Cost-effective for low-volume
  • Unlimited color options
  • Great for startups and sample printing


  • Slower process
  • Fabric limitations
  • Inconsistent print on blended fabrics
  • No special effect printing

The Match: For detailed, colorful designs on cotton fabrics, DTG is the way to go. Superior Ink uses eco-friendly water-based inks in our DTG process, ensuring your designs are both stunning and sustainable.

Choosing The Right Garment Printing Method For Your Project

Heat Transfers: The Flexible Friend

The Project: Heat transfers are fantastic for small to medium-sized orders and complex designs. They’re great for projects needing quick turnarounds or for printing on items like hats, bags, and jackets, where other methods might struggle.

The Fabric: Heat transfers work well on a variety of fabrics, including those with waterproof coatings or heavy seams. This flexibility makes them a good choice for tricky items that don’t lend themselves well to traditional printing methods.

Industry Applications:

  • Promotional Products: Excellent for customized promotional items like bags, hats, and accessories.
  • Corporate Gifts: Great for personalized corporate gifts and branded merchandise.
  • Custom Apparel: Perfect for small business merchandise, custom fashion pieces, and detailed designs.


  • No setup fees
  • Eco-friendly and water-based
  • Suitable for most fabrics
  • Durable with excellent stretch and rebound
  • No limit on colors
  • Usable on unconventional surfaces like ski bags, backpacks, etc.


  • Not efficient for large volumes
  • Can be expensive for larger graphics
  • Longer lead times

The Match: If your project involves detailed designs on challenging fabrics, or you need a quick turnaround, heat transfers are your best bet. At Superior Ink, our heat transfers use water-based designs and recycled transfer paper, aligning with our commitment to sustainability. Super popular option for a lot of custom merch makers that are interested in a high-quality print without a high-quantity commitment.

Winter Park T Shirt

Embroidery: The Timeless Touch

The Project: Embroidery is perfect for adding a touch of class and durability to your designs. It’s ideal for corporate apparel, hats, bags, and any garment that needs a professional, high-quality finish. Embroidery excels in smaller designs like logos and text.

The Fabric: Embroidery works well on a wide range of fabrics, including cotton, polyester, fleece, and even heavy materials like denim and canvas. However, very fine fabrics might not hold up as well under the needle.

Industry Applications:

  • Corporate Apparel: Ideal for high-quality uniforms, jackets, and branded hats.
  • Sports Teams: Perfect for team logos on caps, jackets, and gear bags.
  • Fashion and Retail: Great for custom fashion items, boutique branding, and luxury items.


  • High durability
  • Premium, professional look
  • Suitable for a variety of fabrics
  • Great for logos and small designs


  • More expensive than other methods for large designs
  • Not suitable for highly detailed or large artwork
  • Longer setup time

The Match: For projects that need a sophisticated look and feel, embroidery is the top choice. It’s durable and adds a premium touch to your garments. Plus, at Superior Ink, we use high-quality threads and meticulous techniques to ensure your designs stand out.

Root House Co Cap

Custom Patches: The Unique Flair

The Project: Custom patches are fantastic for adding a unique touch to various garments and accessories. They’re ideal for branding, uniforms, and promotional items, and can be attached by sewing or by heat-press.

The Fabric: Patches work well on sturdy fabrics like denim, canvas, and heavy cotton. They can also be applied to hats, bags, and outerwear, providing versatility across different products.

Industry Applications:

  • Military and Law Enforcement: Perfect for uniforms and tactical gear.
  • Corporate and Promotional: Great for employee uniforms, promotional giveaways, and brand identity.
  • Fashion and DIY: Ideal for custom jackets, bags, and other fashion items to give a personalized touch.


  • Highly durable
  • Versatile application methods
  • Great for branding and logos


  • Can be more expensive for complex designs
  • Longer production time
  • Not suitable for fine detail

The Match: If your project involves adding a standout, durable element to uniforms, promotional items, or fashion pieces, custom patches are the way to go. At Superior Ink, our custom patches are made with high-quality materials and precise detailing to ensure they make a lasting impression.

Making the Perfect Match For Your Printing Project

Choosing the right method isn’t just about the method itself—it’s about how well it marries with your fabric and project needs:

  • Volume: Large orders? Screen printing. Small batches? DTG or heat transfers.
  • Fabric Type: Cotton calls for DTG, while polyester and blends are great for screen printing and heat transfers.
  • Design Complexity: Detailed, multicolor designs thrive with DTG or heat transfers. Simple, bold designs work beautifully with screen printing.
  • Durability and Sophistication: If you need a durable and professional finish, embroidery or custom patchwork is the way to go.

Each method has its strengths, so consider what works best for your project’s needs. And remember, at Superior Ink Printing in Denver, CO, we’re here to help you make the best choice and bring your designs to life with top-notch quality and a touch of fun. Plus, you can feel good knowing that your prints are produced with sustainability in mind. Happy printing!

For more information about garment printing methods and our commitment to sustainability, Superior Ink Screen Printing, Denver CO is here for you! Get in touch or start an order and see how when fabric meets ink, brands are made.

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2650 W. 6TH AVE
DENVER, CO 80204
(303) 761-4106
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