When it comes to creating outstanding custom apparel, one of the most essential aspects to consider is the placement of your unique message, logo, brand, or image. The question is: how to portray your message on the garment most effectively? Leading promotional products and custom apparel companies offer a variety of different ways to transfer your message to the apparel. Two of the most popular methds are embroidery and screen printing. Here we look at which option you should choose for your custom apparel.
How Do They Work?
With custom embroidery, your logo or brand is stitched onto a piece of promotional clothing with different colored threads by a machine that digitizes the pattern and transforms it into an embroidered pattern. This isn’t your grandmother’s embroidery, though; these machines can operate at speeds of 900 stitches per minute. In general, machine-embroidered text needs to be ¼” tall if solid and ½” tall if outlined, and logo designs on the chest of a shirt should be no larger than 4” wide by 2” tall.
With screen printing, different colored inks are passed through screen stencils to create shapes and patterns on your fabric. Each different color requires its own stencil, with traditional machines processing 4 colors and state-of-the-art machines processing as many as 10! Screen-printing produces great results for large sized patterns and bigger batches. Additionally, the color and ink choices for screen-printing are virtually endless, with options including CMYK, Process and Spot Color, Metallic, Foil, and Glitter printer. And at BYOG, the inks used are eco-friendly, non-petroleum based, and pose no health or environmental risks, giving you peace of mind whether you’re printing shirts or wearing them
Screen Printing vs. Embroidery: Which Looks Better?
Screen printing and embroidery can both give excellent results, but what looks best depends on the intended context and the item being customized. For custom corporate uniforms, business shirts, polo shirts, and even caps, embroidery is usually the best choice. Embroidered logos are often small and neat and look more stylish and professional than screen printing. Embroidery can create fine details in small designs, such as logos on the left chest of shirts and uniforms. Embroidery also adds depth and dimension to a design, giving a more attractive look and feel.
Screen-printing is the ideal solution for larger designs on t-shirts and cotton sweaters. Embroidery on these thinner materials can often pucker and rip the material, completely spoiling the embroidery design. Screen printing creates a much better result on the smooth surface of a t-shirt or sweatshirt for lasting results.
Which Option Is Cheaper?
It’s difficult to pinpoint which option is less expensive as this depends on the garment and the design chosen. The price of embroidery is often based on stitch count, so the larger your design means more stitches and greater cost.
The pricing structure for screen printing is different and is based on the design size, colors used, the number of prints and the location of printing (i.e. on the front, on the back, or both). More colors will add cost, as will printing on both the front and the back. However, the more t-shirts you have printed, the lower the cost per shirt.
Some promotional clothing and custom apparel companies will work out a set rate with discounts, particularly for bulk orders, so it\’s important to discuss your options with your embroidery or screen printing provider.
The Choice That’s Right For You
Deciding between screen printing and embroidery for your custom apparel project should be based on a discussion with an expert custom apparel designer. In the Bay Area, BYOG will help you by looking at your design, your needs, and the nature of your order to help you choose the best decorative option for you!
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