19 Apr Embroidery vs. Screen Printing: Which Option Is Best?
Part of choosing a promotional product means having to make a decision on a printing method and there a lot of options to choose from. However, when it comes to most products, especially clothing, you are often reduced to just two common methods – namely embroidery and screen printing, which is also known as “silk screening”.
It is important that you know how each method works and what the results are before you make a decision. Embroidery uses a thread and an embroidery machine. Embroidered designs last longer and enforce a more heavier and professional look and feel. This method however, does not achieve every design goal. Detailed artwork, gradients and small texts for example are hard to accomplish.
Screen printing on the other hand, makes use of a mesh-based stencil to apply ink to an item. A design gets printed onto a screen and that screen is placed on top of the item that is being customized. Ink is then spread across it and oozes only through the parts of the screen left open. After the ink dries up, the fabric attains the bold design needed. Screen printing can achieve most design goals such as shading, gradients and complicated artwork. A detailed design or logo would work well with screen printing as a choice.
Now that you know what the difference is, let’s explore the factors to consider when deciding which method to go with.
Pricing on embroidery depends on three different features and those are:
- The total stitch count
- The number of items getting the same design
- The types of garments and where the embroidery will be done on the garment
Large designs often need large stitch counts and that means that the price of embroidery will cost even more. Having a large artwork or logo may need you to lean towards screen printing.
Pricing on screen printing meanwhile, depends on these following features:
- The number of items being printed with the same design at the same time
- How many different places on the garment are being printed
- How many ink colours will be used in each of those places
Here’s an example – 100 shirts with 5 colour designs being printed on the front and back will be much more expensive compared to 100 shirts with 2 colour designs being printed on just the front only. The trick here however, would be to purchase in bulk. Purchasing a large quantity of items will cost less.
Embroidery is favourable when it comes to colour. This method allows you to choose from an array of colours when it comes to threads. You can also make use of several colours usually for no additional charges. It’s even easy to switch from one colour thread to another because the embroidered imprints get programmed into a machine. Metallic and matte threads are available too as options on top of the satin thread, which is the default thread for most projects. Screen printing offers a lot of colour options too but that immediately raises cost because pricing is based on the number of colours in the design.
With embroidery, it depends what type of machines are being used to create the designs. Embroidery companies who don’t have the latest machines usually take about 2-3 weeks to process orders. Companies that have invested in machines that can digitize a logo or design, usually finish in just a day or two. What happens is that a logo file is taken and digitized into a file that embroidery machines can read, which makes the digital process fast and simple.
Screen printing on the other hand, is a bit more complicated than embroidery because its set-up times are longer. There has to be an actual screen of the image for each imprint order, which takes up a bit of time as opposed uploading a file onto a computer. An ink imprint for example can typically take 10-14 business days to create.
Business shirts and polo shirts that are at times referred to as golf shirts, would work best with embroidery. This method on such items is perceived as more professional and stylish as opposed to screen printing which looks “cheap”. Embroidery generally does well on headwear too. A lot of caps have a seam which runs vertically down your forehead, where you have the logo placed. Screen printing with this is not advised as it may fail to print properly.
Screen printing is definitely the perfect choice for cotton t-shirts and hoodies. Embroidery gets too bulky for t-shirts and creates an unappealing crumpled or wrinkled look around an embroidered logo. With screen printing, you can print much larger designs or logos as it has a much softer feel than embroidery – An option better suited for t-shirts and hoodies as they tend to have larger decoration areas.
The decision between embroidery and screen printing purely depends on your project, goals and budget. With the above pointers to consider along with your priorities, making a choice will be a walk in the park!
Now that you have an idea on how to go about choosing between embroidery and screen printing, allow us to help you select apparel from our different range of quality Corporate Clothing and Headwear Range!