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Resource Center » When to Go with Embroidery Instead of Silk Screening

The differences between embroidery and silk screening and deciding which process to choose.

When advertising with promotional products, there are a few important details to consider. Many items do not correctly display either embroidery or silk-screen imprints. The printing company or product distributor should be able to offer suggestions regarding the use of embroidery instead of silk screening (also known as screen printing), or vice versa.

All About Embroidery and When to Use It
Generally, embroidery is more expensive than silk screening, but it will last longer than a screened image. The ability to convert a logo into a digitized image has shortened the length of time necessary to have items embroidered, so the turnaround time can be very fast. The cost of embroidery is based on the number of stitches used; larger images mean more stitches, and more stitches raise the cost. However, any number of colors can be used at no additional charge, and this is usually a one-time cost that covers the custom setup of the embroidery machine. This one-time charge is for digitizing the image so that the embroidery machine’s computer can read the file. Keep in mind that using more stitches will increase the detail of the image, so it may be worth the extra money! Plus, the digital image will be saved on a disk for later use; most of the time you'll only have to pay one set up charge.

When a logo needs to be imprinted upon a rough surface or on a thick or fuzzy material (like fleece), embroidery is a better choice than screen printing. Specialty embroidery like 3-D, appliqué, and chenille can also be done by some companies. Embroidery is considered to be the most beautiful of all imprint methods; although satin thread is the default thread used for projects, other types like metallic and matte threads are available.

Because embroidery costs more than screen printing, it is a good choice for advertising on a small quantity of promotional items rather than on thousands of items. Embroidery (or an embroidered patch) is the preferred choice for a logo on a shirt pocket, a ball cap, or a uniform. Do you have a prestigious reputation to uphold? Historically, embroidered items have been perceived as classier than other imprint methods like screen printing. Although both screen printing and embroidery produce beautiful color imprinting, embroidery has precise and near perfect quality.

All About Screen Printing and When to Use It

Screen printing your promotional items can be an excellent way to advertise. Various materials like cotton, polyester, plastics, leather, glass, and metals can receive screen printing. However, unlike embroidery, choosing screen printing on rough, fuzzy, or thick materials is not suggested because the screen print may peel off such surfaces. Larger items can also be screen printed, which allows a company logo to be more visible!
Unlike embroidery, screens are not saved. That means that another set-up fee would be required for every re-printing. The screen printing process is more complicated than embroidery because there are longer set-up times and artwork preparation. The quality of the artwork is more important with screen printing than with embroidery.
Because of its lower cost, screen printing is the ideal imprinting method for large quantities of promotional items. The cost is determined by the number of colors to be printed. The higher expense of using several colors can be lowered by using solid ink colors and half-tones. Remember that when you customize your next batch of giveaway items!

Article By Jill Tooley
Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. She’s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. In addition to managing the QLP blog, Jill also manages the content development team, assists with the company’s social media accounts, and writes like a fiend whenever given the chance. You can connect with Jill on Google+.

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