The difference between screen printing and embroidery may seem like common knowledge to people in the embellishment industry, but when we started out in this business ages ago many of our customers did not know the difference. So this article will break it all down for you.
Screen printing is a process that uses inks that are applied to a substrate. Some of the most common substrates used are t-shirts, team uniforms, pens, mugs, tote bags and yard signs. The list really could go on forever and examples of screen printing are seen everywhere. The process is called screen printing because a mesh screen with a stencil is created for each color in a design in which ink is pushed through onto your t-shirt, creating a finished logo once combined. Some advantages of screen printing over embroidery are that you can create high end designs with shading and gradients and if you print a lot of the same item it is fairly inexpensive. Screen printing is the best solution if you are trying to recreate a very detailed logo. You can also incorporate many different effects in your logo including distressed effects, which are popular in band t-shirts by using screen printing. These effects would not be possible with embroidery. Screen printing pricing is usually determined by the number of colors being used and the number of items being printed with the same custom design.
Embroidery is a process where thread is stitched into your custom product. Some of the more popular items that embroidery is used for are: golf shirts, jackets, hats and corporate wear. With embroidery you can create a more professional look which will last longer than the inks used in screen printing. Some logos may have to be altered a little if embroidery is the preferred method though, because it is very difficult to recreate shading using threads. It is also difficult sometimes to get very small text to sew out well using embroidery due to the limitations of needle and threads. Embroidery is a little more expensive than screen printing, but like screen printing, the price decreases with the more pieces you do. Embroidery machines have been developed with multiple heads that will allow you to embroider 2, 4, 6 or even 10 pieces at a time saving on costs to set up each logo which is passed along to the customer! Embroidery pricing is usually determined by the number of stitches in the customer's logo and the number of pieces being embroidered.