Embroidery vs. Screen Printing: What’s Right For Your Design?

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Embroidery and screen printing are the most popular options when it comes to customizing apparel, but which one should you choose? That comes down to many factors including size, garment type and personal preference. At GetBold, we are experts in both, making us uniquely qualified to compare and contrast both options. Though one is not better than the other, they both have strengths and weaknesses that may impact the quality or price of your design.

All About Embroidery

Embroidery is the process of sewing your design onto the garment of your choice. It is an age-old art that has been around since 30,000 BC. Nowadays, embroidery is done using computerized machines which allow us to embroider dozens of pieces at the same time. These machines which are run by skilled operators, deliver a classic and eye-catching look. We offer
several styles of embroidery such as standard stitch, vintage thick thread embroidery, puff embroidery, and applique. These all provide a unique style for your garment. You can read more about all these styles and their pros and cons on our website.

All About Screen Printing

Screen printing, also known as silk screening is printing on a garment using a mesh screen. Your artwork is printed onto the screen, and ink is placed on top of it. When the screen printing press pushes the ink through the screen, only some holes in the mesh are left open for the ink to pass through. This means the ink only touches your garment where your design is. This process is repeated for each colour in your design until your entire design is printed. Finally, the ink is cured using high heat to ensure the colours stay vibrant and don’t bleed together. Here are some of the pros and cons of each style. This should help you decide which one is right for your design.


The price of screen printing or embroidery is largely dependent on your design. This means that one option is not consistently less expensive than the other. With some designs, it is more cost-effective to embroider instead of print and vice versa. For example, when screen printing your garment, you are charged based on how many colours are in your design, as a new
screen must be printed for every colour used. In embroidery, there is no charge associated with additional colours, In fact, we have hundreds of thread colours to choose from and you may select up to 15 for your design. However, the price of embroidery is calculated based on the number of stitches. This basically equates to the size of your design. So if you have a larger design with only a few colours, screen printing will be the more cost-effective option. On the other hand, if your design is more intricate or covers a smaller area, such as a left chest monogram, embroidery might be the right choice for you.


With proper care, both screen printing and embroidery can usually last on any garment. However, embroidery does tend to offer more longevity. With screen printing, the ink sits on top of your garments, as opposed to embroidery where the stitches virtually become a part of the garment. Due to this, cracking and fading can occur on printed designs as time goes on. Proper embroidery can last a very long time, although when not done well, the stitches can snag or run. If durability is a big concern for you, embroidery may be the better option. Screen printing designs will last but have the potential to crack or lose some of their vibrancy over time.

Garment Choice

Some garments are more suited to embroidery or screen printing. For example, embroidery is best on thicker fabrics. If the fabric is too thin, the thread can pull on the garment leading to unwanted puckering. However, some garments are not able to be screen printed such as baseball hats, toques and jackets. If you have your heart set on putting your design onto a
jacket or hat, perhaps embroidery would be a better option for you. On the other hand, if you plan on putting a larger design onto a thin fabric, screen printing may be the better option.


At GetBold, we are big fans of both embroidery and screen printing. While both options are great for customizing garments, they each have unique benefits and weaknesses. Depending on your design and personal preference, one may be better suited for your design needs. Hopefully, this has offered you insight into which option is best for your design. If you still need help deciding on the right customization option for you, contact our team of experts via phone, email or the live chat feature on our website.