Screen Printing Vs Custom Embroidery: How to Choose

The time has come to get some custom printed apparel made for your team, company, charity event or just for your personal needs. When it comes to printing, you have a few options to choose from, but before that can happen the fun starts to begin. There are many decisions be made that range from colors and placement to size and materials. Each choice you make can have a big impact on your overall image and message you convey. Before we dig into the colors and sizes, let us start with the essentials steps. Which is the best method for your design to be created? Thanks to the technology there are many ways to add an image to apparel, each comes with pros and cons.

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Lasting, Customizable Options

If you’re thinking of putting a custom image or design on clothing one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is which way are you going to get that image on the apparel? One option is to have your design printed on iron-on contacted paper, the downside that just a couple times through the washer will have iron on designs fading and peeling off. These are good for short term use but be warned, they do not hold up through long-term use.


Screen printing allows for a wide range of colors and precision in a design and is made to stand up to frequent use. Or, for even more longevity, custom embroidered clothing could be the way to go. Since embroidered designs are literally sewn into the garment, this technique offers even better durability than screen printing. And, with modern embroidery machines, you can get almost the same level of precision as screen printing.



Part of the decision for how to create your design should be based on the intended usage. If you’re looking to create team shirts for your peewee kickball team, you’ll want an option that will breathe well and not chafe as your team plays hard. In that instance, a screen-printed shirt would probably be better than embroidery. On the other hand, if you need something to hold up to heavier use—say, work shirts for the staff of your auto shop—custom embroidered shirts will better stand up to the wear.


Another consideration is how formal or informal you need the finished product to be. If you’re looking for a way to help volunteers stand out for your charity walk/run, formality isn’t really a huge need, so you could easily design a custom screen print shirt for everyone. However, if you’re sending a group to represent your business or group at a conference, a bit more formality may be called for.  In that instance, matching embroidered polos will create a more professional image and show off your brand.


Who are the custom branded items for? If you’re planning on giving those branded apparel items to your team to market and represent your organization, it will likely make sense to go more professional and choose embroidery. If you’ll be giving away your custom shirts or hats, however, the balance between cost and durability may mean you choose to go with screen printing.

Type of Apparel

Shirts can easily be both screen printed and embroidered. If you want to extend your custom branded apparel beyond a shirt, the decision can affect your options for logo creation. Most other clothing items (sweatshirts, pants, and so on) can be screen printed or embroidered easily. However, hats and headbands are a bit trickier. Knit materials like beanies don’t necessarily take well to screen printing, so custom embroidery will give you a better-quality result.

That’s not all that goes into the decision between screen printed and custom embroidered clothing. Get guidance from the pros; contact the team at Impress Ink to learn more about our options and get help finding the right custom branded apparel option for you. Give us a call today!



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