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Embroidery or Screen Printing? Weighing Your Options For Your Next Commercial Clothing Design

When it comes to branding t-shirts, hats, or other garments for your company, how do you decide on the manufacturing technique you use to apply your design? It usually comes down to two main contenders. In one corner: embroidery. In the other: screen printing. We want to give you all the information so you can be satisfied with your choice between the two (though we are slightly biased!)

Embroidering vs. Screen Printing

embroidery or screen printing

Embroidery

Technology has made embroidery a widely used embellishment technique with the use of commercial embroidery machines. Think of a small batch of high quality items like caps or golf shirts. When it comes to branding, embroidery is…

  • The “Gold Standard”: embroidery gives manufacturers a precise, crisp, and professional-quality presentation.
  • Long lasting: embroidery doesn’t wash out or fade. It becomes part of the garment for life.
  • Colorful: the wide range of colors available in commercial embroidery thread offer a rainbow of color options.

Multiple Techniques: The embroidery process encompasses many interesting treatments, including applique, reverse applique, trapunto, and many more. From logos to high-fashion looks, embroidery can create just the right mood.

embroidery or screen printing

Screen Printing

Screen printing uses UV light, ink, and a screen to transfer a design onto fabric. Why does it seem like screen printing is more common than embroidery when we think of branded t-shirts? Branded apparel for events or promotional items are generally screen printed. This is generally because you can create a larger volume of products for less. When it comes to branding, screen printing is…

  • Cheaper in bulk: Larger orders are generally less expensive, though cost varies according to factors like the number of colors used.
  • Smooth: the material surface and design are entirely one-dimensional.
  • Consistency: Manual screen printing done using a hand-held squeegee sometimes results in slight variances of ink deposit from and image clarity.
  • Susceptible to wear: Regular wear and laundering methods may damage a screen printed design over time.

In the end, you need to weigh your priorities and decide which technique works better for your specific project. If you’re looking for multiple high quality garments with a more premium, long-lasting appearance, embroidery is usually the way to go. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative for a large volume of products, screen printing may be best.

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