Printing vs Embroidery – Which should I choose?

Prints can be great, but so can embroidery. The question we often get from our clients is “Which one is better for me?” Well, this depends on your requirements – it’s not a simple case of one is better, one is worse.

Here at Logo we don’t just pride ourselves on designing/producing great promotional merchandise we also aim to share as much of our knowledge as possible in order to help our clients make the best decisions for their promotional business needs. So, let’s take a look at some of the main points to consider when deciding between printed and embroidered clothing. 

What type of garments are you personalising?

Let’s talk t-shirts and polo’s.

Printed T-shirts – We know that t-shirts are generally made up of a lighter weight fabric than polo’s, which in turn can make them considerably cheaper when it comes to cost price. Therefore, depending on the items purpose, people tend to go for personalised t-shirts when choosing to apply print. Another reason to use printed t-shirts is for promotional or advertising purposes, which means designs are generally large, bright and visually striking. This style of branding tends to suit printing rather than embroidery, as this allows for maximum brand exposure so that the print covers a larger area. Embroidery tends to get expensive if you need to cover a large area – the stitch count climbs and so does the price!

Printing on to a t-shirt may be beneficial if you plan to distribute as giveaway goodies, or for one-time events such as festivals or promo events as printing is usually a lower cost process than embroidery.

Embroidered t-shirts – There is no reason why you shouldn’t decide to embroider a t-shirt if you feel certain that you prefer this look. As long as the design isn’t covering a vast area it shouldn’t pull or affect the shape of the fabric. So you’ve sent through a request for a big embroidery job on a t-shirt and now you’re concerned they’ll be ruined in production? Not to worry, one of the team here at Logo will pick up on this and contact you to discuss the best way to proceed with your order.

Let’s say you have a simple logo, and you’d like this to be embroidered on to the left chest of a t-shirt for a uniform. Will this still look professional? Yes. Yes, yes, yes! A lot of pubs and bars use embroidery for their uniform items as embroidery can look superb regardless of the garment and is sometimes even considered more professional. Embroidery is also incredibly durable, so the embroidery will keep look great for he lifetime of the garment!

Whilst it is 100% possible to embroider t-shirts, it’s useful keep in mind that larger logo’s with a high stitch count could potentially pull the fabric – therefore the general idea is that if the logo or design is expected to cover a large area, printing onto a t-shirt would probably look more sleek.

Personalised polo shirts

Printed polo shirts – Printing is generally cheaper than embroidery, so if cost is a significant factor in your decision making, then printing may be a more cost-effective option. If you’re planning on going for a large design on a tight budget, our advice would be to get it printed. Printing is great for big, bold designs or text that you want to stand out from a distance.

So if you have an event coming up for your business this weekend and need some staff t-shirts made? our advice would be to go for printing – Why? Because customisation like names on the back of a polo shirt or big bold text such as STAFF or SECURITY will work better using vinyl printing.

Embroidered polo shirts – A polo shirt with an embroidered logo on the left chest is a classic choice for most pubs and restaurants. Why? Because it works exceptionally well as a uniform – smart and professional! Embroidery works really well for most business logos so if you’re looking for a polo shirt for uniform, embroidery could be the perfect choice for you.

Traditionally, embroidery has been more durable than print – but that’s not to say embroidery is necessarily ‘better’ than print. It all just depends on your needs and the purpose of the branded garment.

What is the personalised clothing purpose?

Again, your design and the garments you choose will be significant factors, but you do need to think about what you’re using the garment to promote. Uniforms tend to be more likely to utilise embroidery – promotional clothing is often printed and team wear will vary.

Taking budget into consideration, and how you plan to use the garment, will help massively as this gives you the chance to weigh up your options and figure out what branding is best. Festivals, promotional events, giveaway competitions or one-time-wear are generally better printed as this is more cost effective for your business and helps to promote whatever it is you require out there in a bold and effective way. For things such as uniform, where you would expect to get more wear out of the garment, embroidery would be beneficial as this type of branding lasts longer and is more durable.

What is your design like?

The nature of your design is probably the most important factor when deciding between print and embroidery. Remember, embroidery is will be considerably more expensive to cover larger areas. So if you’re looking for a big, vibrant design that stands out – whether it be to promote something or simply to stand out – printing will probably serve the purpose well, at a lesser cost to you than embroidery.

Complex designs – A design with very sophisticated, small detail and pronounced gradients can look better in most cases. Don’t forget, there are many different printing techniques that can add depth and texture, and show off a mixture of vibrant colours really well.

 Simple Logos – For a standard Logo, to use on something that may be used for uniform for example, embroidery would look slightly more professional than print – it can also last through more washes and is extremely durable. Still aren’t sold on print? Do you have an elaborate design that you’d like us to embroider to cover a large area? Don’t be put off – we can embroider complex designs – we are not only here to provide you with great quality branding, we are always on hand to provide you with the best advice that we can. So if there is something we couldn’t do, or didn’t think would be suitable, we would always contact you to discuss your options and help you make the best decision for your promotional items!

We hope that this information has answered some of your questions regarding print and embroidery, but this is just a general guide. If you do have any questions or queries, please feel free to email us at or call us on 0115 940 2464, where one of the team will be happy to assist you!


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