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Screen Printing vs Embroidery

Decoration decisions—how to choose: Screen Printing vs Embroidery. What's the difference & how to choose?

Screen printing uses ink and is typically better for large and/or more detailed designs or logos. Embroidery uses thread and delivers beautiful texture.


ABOVE: In some instances, we have to simplify artwork in order to create a clean embroidered version. Some logos transfer perfectly between embroidery and screen printing with little or no adjustment to the artwork. 


When you are deciding which method to use for your custom gear there are several factors that can help determine whether Embroidery or Screen Printing will work best:

The complexity of your design. Screen Printing generally is a better choice for more detailed designs while Embroidery produces less fine detail but adds dimension and texture that can really have an impact. Any logo with gradients or shading would be more Screen Print friendly since those effects cannot be achieved with thread & needle, whereas Halftones are utilized to achieve those looks all of the time in the Print Department.  

Location and size of the design: Embroidery is better suited to smaller areas like a Hat, sleeve, or the pocket of a Sweatshirt or Polo Shirt. Large designs require many stitches and can get a little costly. On the flip side, there is also a threshold for how small & fine text can be with Embroidery. Screen Printing can be a better choice for full front or back designs with large image areas, as well as achieving that crispy clean small text.

How many colors are included: Screen Printing requires a unique screen for every color used in a design, so having a lot of colors can add cost. Embroidery offers up to 15 colors with little to no cost difference, but the size of the design will impact your bottom line.

Garment selection: The type of garment can have an impact on the decoration method choice. Some items are more conducive to Embroidery than Screen Printing. For example, Embroidery would be suggested for Jackets, Hats, Fleece, many types of Bags/Totes, or any Outerwear with a lining. Tee Shirts, Hoodies, Towels, Drawstring Backpacks & Bandanas are examples of commonly Screen Printed items.

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