When it comes to the question of embroidery vs printing, technically, you can do either on any garment. However, both processes have respective characteristics that lend themselves to particular applications through suitability, cost, or both.
If you’re looking for personalised clothing for your company or organisation, there are a number of things you’ll need to determine before placing the order. The most obvious is what type of garments you’re looking for – such as robust workwear, polo shirts or t-shirts for one-off events. This will normally also determine the required lifespan of the garment and longevity of the image. Where will the logo, message or other imagery be placed? How large should it be? How many will you need, and in what sizes?
What’s the difference?
Embroidery involves reproducing an image by stitching threads directly into fabric using highly automated machinery. This enables multiple garments to be personalised in up to 15 colours in one process.
For printing, the traditional screen method is still widely used, but gradually being replaced by a DTG (Direct-to-Garment) process by an increasing number of suppliers, including ourselves. As the name suggests, this prints the image directly on to the garment from a computer image, enabling considerably more flexibility and creativity than the traditional screen printing process.
Which works better?
Embroidery simply looks more prestigious on a branded business or polo shirt which will be worn in front of customers. It will also produce a longer-lasting image on items such as overalls, work trousers and lab coats which can encounter harsh conditions including very frequent washing. Embroidery is also recommended for caps.
For t-shirts and other lightweight garments, printing is the best choice as it’s unobtrusive and won’t affect the feel or wearability of the garment, or ‘pucker’ the material. T-shirts often feature a larger image too, as mentioned previously.
What about the costs?
The key setting up process for embroidery involves digitising your logo or design in order to create a file to instruct the machines. This involves a set-up cost which increases with finished image size. The actual embroidery is cheaper for smaller images (such as pocket-sized logos), particularly for smaller quantities (less than 100). Previously, embroidery was also considered more economical for images with several colours, but DTG printing has changed all that. So cost-wise, for a business shirt, polo or lab coat with your logo on the breast – embroidery is ideal. Embroidering a large logo across the entire back of the garment can become very costly. Printing should be considered for this kind of application.
The best way to determine which method to use is to have chat with a member of our sales team, who can also advise on all other aspects of portraying your image at its very best on the garments worn by your workforce. Please contact our sales team on firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call on 0118 9120 420.