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HomeFree GuidesPrint or Embroidery - which should I choose?

Print or Embroidery - which should I choose?

We love print. We love embroidery. But which is better for a given job will vary depending on your requirements. As with so many things in life it's not a simple case of one is better, one is worse.

So what are the considerations when deciding between printed and embroidered clothing?

  • What type of garments do you want personalised?
  • What is your personalised clothing going to be used for?
  • What is the nature of the design you want printed or embroidered?

What type of garments do you want personalised?

When people talk about personalised clothing they'll generally think: Printed T Shirts, Embroidered Polo Shirts.

As an incredibly broad guideline this can be a useful first consideration, but read on as it may not be the correct decision for you.

So why typically think printed t shirts?
  • Printed t shirts are often used for promotional or advertising purposes, so the designs should be large, bright and visually striking - which tends to suit printing rather than embroidery
  • Alternatively, printed t shirts are often used by designers to showcase their artwork. For intricate designs and certainly hand drawings, you'll certainly want to go with t shirt printing.
  • T Shirts tend to be a lighter weight material to Polo Shirts so a large embroidered logo with a high stitch count could potentially pull at the fabric. A large logo on a t shirt might therefore look smarter printed.
  • Basic T Shirts may not last as long as a garment like a high quality polo shirt, so you may wish to choose print which is a lower cost process than embroidery.

So when might you choose embroidered t shirts?

  • If you know you prefer the look of embroidery, there is no reason why you shouldn't select it on a t shirt. As long as the design isn't huge (say less than 15cm wide) it won't pull the fabric. If we thought it would, our experts would contact you to advise how to proceed.
  • If you are ordering a simple logo, especially for a uniform, embroidery can look superb regardless of the garment, and may be considered more professional. It is also incredibly durable, so the embroidery will look great for the lifetime of the garment.

Why do people traditionally choose embroidery for polo shirts?
  • A Polo Shirt with an embroidered logo on the left chest is a classic. It works fantastically as a uniform, looking smart and professional. Embroidery works really well for most business logos, so if you are looking for a polo shirt for uniform embroidery could be the way to go.
  • Traditionally embroidery has been more durable than print. Your embroidered logo should last the lifetime of the garment. With modern print techniques this is less of an issue as a printed polo will also look great and last.

So when might you go for a printed polo shirt?

  • Print is cheaper than embroidery, so if cost is a significant factor then there's no reason not to go for printing.
  • If you want a large design, get it printed. Embroidery doesn't work well for really big designs or text you want to stand out from a distance. We recommend any design over 15cm wide be printed. Customisations like names on the back of a Polo, or big bold text such as STAFF or SECURITY will also work far better using vinyl printing.

What about personalised hoodies, jackets and other items?

  • Hoodies work fantastically with print or embroidery. It will really come down to your design. Groups and teams will often have an embroidered crest, but large prints such as sponsors details, or individual names and numbers will usually look best printed.
  • Jackets will usually look best with embroidery, but modern print techniques mean a printed logo can look great on most materials. Waterproof jackets will only be suitable for print as embroidery can compromise the waterproofing.
  • Fleece jackets due to the nature of fleece material we would always recommend embroidered fleece jackets

What is the personalised clothing going to be used for?

Again, only very broad rules apply and your design and the garments you choose will be more significant factors.

As a broad rule though, Uniforms tend to be more likely to utilise embroidery, promotional clothing is frequently printed and team wear will vary often an embroidered crest, with printed club details or names and numbers printed on the back.

What is your design like?

The nature of your design is probably the most important factor when selecting print of embroidery:
  • Designs over 15cm in width should only ever be printed. Embroidery simply doesn't look as good as print for really big designs
  • How complex is your design? A design with very intricate, small detail and pronounced gradients should be printed in most cases. That said, we are experts in embroidery and can get the most out of your designs.
  • Are you having a simple logo without gradients? We would generally say that for a standard logo, embroidery looks slightly more professional than print, particularly for a uniform. If you have a more intricate logo and want embroidery don't be put off though we can embroider complex designs and would always let you know if we didn't think something would look right.

We hope this information helps you decide, but in the end it's up to you. Perhaps have a browse through our design gallery to see some examples to help you choose.