Screen Printing vs. Embroidery – What’s the Best Option?

My clients routinely ask me if they should choose embroidery or screen printing for their logo’d clothing and promotional items.

Here’s my answer.

I recommend that for corporate clothing, companies should choose embroidery.  Why? It looks nicer and the color on the logo stands out and conveys a quality brand.

For shirts, hats and other items that are distributed at trade shows and events, screen printing works the best. Clients typically place large orders and it gets expensive to produce these items with embroidery.

Here’s how I would explain it:

Screen printing uses inks that are applied to a substrate – the most common are pens, mugs, tote bags, t-shirts. The process is called screen printing because a mesh screen with a stencil is created for each color on the logo and the ink is stenciled onto the product. What are the advantages of screen printing?  High end logos and designs can be created reasonably. So, if you’re trying to create a detailed logo or design screen, screen printing is your best option.

Embroidery is a process where thread is stitched onto your custom product. You’ve seen samples everywhere – on golf shirts, jackets, corporate wear and hats. With embroidery, you can create a custom look that will last much longer than screen printing. Two disadvantages are that it may be difficult to match your exact PMS colors of your brand and you may have to choose between two similar shades to find the right option. Embroidery is a little more expensive than screen printing but for corporate clothing, it’s definitely the way to go.

If you use these two rules of thumbs for your next clothing or staff wear order—and for promotional items, you shouldn’t go wrong.