Embroidery vs. Screen Printing

27 Feb Embroidery vs. Screen Printing

Embroidery threadIf you are thinking about getting company shirts, hats, beanies, etc. you have probably wondered if you should get them screen printed or embroidered.  Each branding type has its pros and cons, so which one you choose depends on what you are looking for and what you want the final product to look like.  We have compiled a quick FAQ about embroidery and screen printing to help you out.  

What are you trying to brand?

Embroidery is a stitching process that can only be used on fabric.  Screen printing is an ink based process that can be used on fabric, ceramic, plastic, etc.  However, screen printing does not work well on rough or fuzzy textures because the screen printing can easily peel off those surfaces.  Of course, you cannot embroider something that a needle cannot pierce like a mug or plastic.

How big is the surface you want to brand?

Screen printing is great for large surfaces, as it is less expensive than embroidery.  Embroidery is priced by number of stitches and number of hoopings (how many times you have to move the material to embroider the next piece).

What do you want it to look like?

Screen printing can allow for shading, distressing, and small details, while is very difficult to create shading and some fine details with embroidery.  Embroidery can look more professional and sharp than screen printing, and produces the best result on polos, business shirts and head wear.

What’s the cost?

Both methods are comparable in price for small quantities and small designs.  What really matters is the set up cost.  In order to embroider something, you have to digitize the logo or design.  You pay one flat fee regardless of colors.  In order to screen print, you have to create a screen for each color, increasing the cost per color.  If you wish to re-create the image down the road, there is no additional set-up fee for embroidery, as the design is already digitized, but you will have to start over with screen printing as you cannot “save” the physical screens.  However, for large designs, screen printing is less expensive, and it also is less expensive for large batches.

Where will the design be worn?

In a professional setting, embroidery is the best choice.  It is clean, professional, and sharp.  However, if you are wearing the shirts to a 5k or around town, and you want to produce a lot of one product, screen printing is probably better.  


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