Screen Print vs Embroidery: What Design is Right for You?

When adding logos to t-shirts, hoodies, and other apparel, the two main methods you will rely upon to involve embroidery and screen printing.

To decide which one is a better option for your design needs, you need to educate yourself a bit on embroidery and screen print design techniques.


Embroidery involves a process of stitching a design or logo onto a piece of fabric. This sewing technique has traditionally been used to decorate garment and household textiles such as table linens, towels, bedding, wall-hangings, tapestries, and other furnishings or works of textile art. However, you can use embroidery on any type of fabric today.

The art of hand embroidery is a beautiful but difficult process. So, modern clothes are usually decorated with machine embroidery instead.

The machine embroidery term usually describes two things. The first involves using a standard sewing machine to create a design manually on a piece of fabric. The second action includes using a specially designed embroidery machine to automatically create a design. These machines have a pre-made pattern that is used to create embroidery designs on fabric. The designs are punched on paper tape that goes through an embroidery machine.

However, with the expansion of the technology, computerized machine embroidery took over the process, so manual embroidery machines are more and more falling out of service and are mostly used in quilting projects today.

With computerized machine embroidery, the stitching process is fully automatic and very effective. Most digitalized embroidery machines allow you to embroider 12 or more items simultaneously because they have at least 12 sewing heads with up to 15 needles per head. This also means that you can use up to 15 thread colors to embroider your logo or design, which makes the embroidery process much faster and effective.

When using computerized machine embroidery, you first need to create a program for your design or logo that can be uploaded to the embroidery machine.

Screen Printing

With screen printing, ink is squeezed through a mesh screen directly onto a piece of fabric. The main advantage of screen printing compared to embroidery is that screen printing can print on a great selection of garments and other items.

However, a separate screen is required for each color in design because only one color is printed at the time. This can make this technique a bit pricy if you’re going to print a logo or design with many colors. The most common use of screen printing is the logo design of t-shirts and sweatshirts because the surface of these attires is smooth and even.

The similarity between embroidery and screen printing is in their automated process. However, when considering which of these two methods to use for printing logos on your garments, bear in mind their cost and efficiency.

Which Method is More Affordable?

If you go with embroidery, the cost will usually depend on the number of stitches or the size of the design. The larger the logo, the more stitches will be needed, and this determines the price. However, the good thing about embroidery is that the number of colors in the logo does not affect the price. So, if you are going for smaller, multicolored designs, embroidery is the most likely better choice.

When it comes to screen printing, the cost usually depends on the number of colors in a design. As mentioned before, each color in the design is corresponding to one mesh screen, so the more colors you use, the more screens it will require, which raises the cost. In addition, if you’re going to use colored shirts, these usually require a base print or underlay to clearly display the color of your design, which also adds up to the cost.

Which Method is More Effective?

Another question to ask when choosing between embroidery and screen printing is which method will give you the desired result? The answer to this question lies in the fabrics and garments you are going to decorate.

For lightweight garments such as t-shirts, shirts, hoodies, dresses and similar, screen printing would be the best choice as embroidery may be heavy on these materials and cause creasing around the design.

Also, screen printing is better for larger designs, which goes well with t-shirts and hoodies.

On the other hand, for smaller clothing items such as caps or hats. Also, for polo shirts, especially if they are used as business uniforms, embroidery is the best choice as it adds a prestigious note to these garments.

About Shahbaz Ahmed

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