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Difference between custom embroidery and printing

Printing and embroidery essentially do the same thing: decorate a piece of clothing. The right kind of printing or embroidery can take a simple plain piece of cloth to the next level. So, people's confusion when they have to choose between the two options is understandable. However, if you are looking for a straight answer - there is none.

It is a common notion that printing and embroidery do the same. Not true, of course, but an understandable confusion. If you want a straight answer to the question: which is better, custom embroidery or printing, then, there is none. Now hold on, no need to click off just to find another who either says the same thing or straight up lies to you. The reason for no one answer here is because circumstances matter. It is more like typing v/s writing than lose v/s win. So, essentially, we have a lot of grey area to cover. And here we begin.

The four questions which can make the selection process easier are listed below:

  • What garment needs personalizing?
  • What is the use of these customized clothing?
  • What type of design needs printing?
  • Lastly, what is your preference, custom embroidery or printing?

The reason I say that these four factors will make it easy for you to choose is that for the most part, they will eliminate the option of one or the other. The last question will only arise when the other three answers permit the use of both methods.

What type of garment?

Embroidered Polo shirts have prevalence with embroidered while t-shirts have printed designs. Now, this is not a rule of thumb but, it is what happens for the most part.

Printed t-shirts:

  • T-shirts have big designs to promote brands. For bigger designs, printing is preferred over embroidery.
  • Printing accommodates intricate designs that will be difficult with embroidery. If design precision is a cause of concern, printing is better.
  • Embroidery adds weight to the garment. In the case of larger designs, which require a higher stitch count, the fabric of the shirt will suffer. So, for light material, printing is better.
  • Custom embroidery is more expensive when compared to print. Making an investment on a t-shirt made from frail material that will probably not last that long, is pointless.

Embroidered shirts:

  • Granted that the design permits it, that is, it covers a small area, you can get your t-shirt embroidered.
  • Embroidery is more professional looking and has more life. It will stay looking great for the lifetime.

Embroidered polo shirts:

  • The traditional and the chic statement that this look provides to the wearer are two reasons to choose embroidered polo shirt.
  • Embroidery has more shelf life when compared with print. So, if you want your design to last, choose embroidery.

Printed polo shirts:

  • Do not want to spend too much on the design? Choose embroidery in this case. It is cheap and efficient.
  • Polo shirts and Jerseys have small branding so designers choose embroidery for them. However, numbers assigned to the player and their names are huge. There, you will need to use the printing method for sure.

Other personalized items like hoodies, caps, and socks.

Anything with heavy material will allow for both printing and embroidery. Hoodies are no different. For fleece material garments, embroidery is encouraged whereas, for waterproof garments, printing is the better choice.

The use of the garment

  • Uniforms generally have a small design that embroiders stitch on the garment with the help of needlework.
  • Promotional clothing requires huge prints so businesses recommend the use of printing.
  • Jerseys are a hybrid of print and embroidery. While bigger designs are printed, smaller designs are embroidered on the jerseys.

The type of design

  • Smaller designs: You can opt to get the smaller designs printed or embroidered. It is your choice. It the garment is lacking some weight and texture, opt for embroidery. If not, then, the print will do.
  • Intricate designs: Even in the case of small designs, embroidery sometimes is not feasible. This happens in situations where the design is too intricate. If there is color gradient in the design, embroider will find it difficult to embroider the cloth. It is not impossible but, it is difficult. A custom clothing business will either ask you to change the design or method of implementation if the design proves to be difficult for embroiders.
  • Other limitations: In the case of text, it needs to be at least a length to make it visible.

Your choice

The last thing to consider is your own choice and circumstances.

  • If you sincerely do not have a choice when it comes to embroidery or printing, that is, it is officially compulsory to have the shirt or t-shirt embroidered, try to change the material of the cloth so that it is compatible with embroidery.
  • Waterproof embroidered t-shirts are impractical. Embroidery can compromise the cloth and make it lose its waterproof characteristics.
  • If you have already bought the garment that you wish to decorate with embroidery but, the option is not feasible for the garment, choose to print instead.

The life and quality of end-product should be your main concern at the end of the day.

Hopefully, this information provides you enough clarity to figure out what will work best for you. You can always call an expert to get credible guidance. Businesses near and far will be happy to assist you with your endeavors.


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