Embroidery Versus Screen Printing: Which One is Better for Custom Logo Company Apparel?

You open a new tab on your browser and type “company apparel” into the search bar. Instantly thousands of results appear from service providers promising the easiest way to order custom logo apparel. You quickly come to the realization that this seemingly mundane task of ordering logoed company apparel for your team is going to take a bit more time and effort than you originally thought.

This experience is all too familiar for our team at St. CroiX10, which is why we serve as your partners and a go-to resource—both locally in Minneapolis and nationwide—in your search for branded apparel.

One of the many decisions throughout this process is whether to choose custom embroidered or screen-printed apparel. At St. CroiX10 we offer both services, so we’ve answered common questions below using our unique insider perspective to help guide you through this decision.

Take a look at our Q&A below or get started by browsing our online shop for custom company logo apparel.

What will the company apparel be used for?

Custom logo apparel serves a variety of purposes, whether it’s for a physically challenging sporting event, or a day-long trade show. The use of custom logo apparel and accessories greatly influences the decision between embroidered or screen printed company apparel.

Advantages of custom embroidered apparel include that it tends to be a higher quality, conveys a more professional authority and boasts durability to last for years to come. Embroidered apparel is ideal for custom logo company attire at conferences, in harsh environmental conditions and for long-term use. Apparel such as Eddie Bauer jackets, Carhartt thermal jackets and Patagonia fleece pullovers make excellent choices for high-quality custom embroidery.

On the other hand, screen printing has the advantage of being lightweight and more casual, making it a good choice for fairs, sporting events and company outings. Think of T-shirts and drawstring backpacks for these types of activities.

What style of custom logo apparel or accessories does the team want?

Certain styles of clothing and types of accessories are better for custom embroidery than others. The same concept goes for screen printing. Custom embroidered apparel requires the use of a backing—a durable piece of material that secures the stitching and enhances the canvas for custom embroidery. Because of this, embroidery has the unique advantage of working well on thicker materials such as Patagonia vests, Nike polos, high-quality messenger bags or formal dress shirts.

On the contrary, when you consider a common 100% cotton T-shirt, screen printing is often the best choice because of its ability to adhere to lightweight materials. Screen printing works well for apparel such as athletic shirts, ¾ sleeve baseball tees or bandanas.

How complex is the custom logo or design?

The technology to replicate any logo in threaded custom embroidery has come a long way in 35+ years. We carry hundreds of thread colors and can embroider designs as large as 3.5” by 2.5” and as small as 1/16” by 1/4″. This versatility in thread colors and design sizes helps us mimic designs and text as closely as possible. Custom embroidery is typically best when designs are minimal and include few graphical elements such as a logo and tagline.

When considering more complex designs, screen printing is often preferred for its ability to add as much detail as desired. Think of T-shirts for an annual family reunion, a company 5K or a concert tour schedule. These are all examples of more detailed designs that would be better suited for screen printing.

Where do you want the designs placed on apparel or accessories?

When deciding which types of apparel and accessories to order, it’s helpful to know the setup process and its associated costs. Custom embroidered apparel has the advantage of a single setup process for each distinct design. Once the design is set up, our team can embroider the logo and text in as many places as needed. For example, if a team wants a polo with a matching backpack, the two orders only require one setup process.

Screen printing can be more complex because each new color and new placement of designs requires a new setup process, which incurs an additional cost. While complex designs are ideal for screen printing, increasingly intricate artwork will require multiple setup processes.

On a similar note, screen printing requires vector file types to separate layers of the design and accurately create a screen print. Sometimes additional costs can be associated with projects if art teams need to create a vector version of the design. (Pro tip: Ask your designer to create a vector version of your logo to have on hand.)

Contrary to screen printing, custom embroidery can use raster file types because separating layers of the design is not required to embroider materials.

Our team of St. CroiX10 TRUSTEES knows this process inside and out, so lean on us when you start your search for custom logoed company apparel. Get started on your search by browsing our inventory.