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What's the best for you? Embroidered vs Printed

Embroidered vs Printed

It's a common question which we hear time and time again, "Should I go with embroidered or printed?" Well, here are the key workwear differences when it comes to embroidered vs printed. This should help you decide which method is right for your company workwear.

The Workwear Clothing's Type, Purpose & Use

Before we go any further, to decide between whether you want embroidered or printed branding features on your workwear, it's important to note that certain types of clothing lend themselves more to one process or the other. For example, anything which is waterproof or filled and lined (such as something like a poly-down filled hi vis coat) should be printed to avoid undermining the garment's primary aim of keeping you dry or warm.

On the other hand, a smart button down Oxford shirt or classy blouse would not look anywhere near as formal and professional with a loud printed logo. A subtle piece of embroidery is what we would suggest here.

Another rule of thumb is that embroidery is (generally speaking) longer lasting than most printed logos, as it is designed to last the lifetime of the garment. But this comes with a slightly higher cost, normally. Therefore, if your branded workwear product is a scaffolders crew neck t-shirt, it's more sensible to use a cheap printing method of branding as the lifespan of the garment will be shorter than, say, an office shirt or smart fleece jacket to be worn when visiting clients.

Remember to consider how heavy the use of the garment will be when deciding between embroidery or printed workwear.


The next thing to consider is colours. If you are using CAD vinyl transfers for printing and you have strict branding colour guidelines, you might not be able to get an exact colour match. If this is the case, definitely speak to your supplier to find the best possible solution.

The main issue with colours is to consider how the colours of your logo (or other branding features) will look, when embroidered with cotton stitching or printed via heat transfer, onto your well chosen garment.

Both processes catch the light and the viewer's eye slightly differently.

Embroidery is more akin to being part of the garment itself, as it will usually be of a similar material and reflect/absorb the light in a similar way. Whereas printing techniques can be flatter and more reflective - this can be great for a dynamic look, but sometimes detracts from a high-class image if used with the wrong type of logo.

If you are in any doubt, double check before ordering, but an intelligent logo design should suit either technique and still showcase your brand and company values in the best possible light (no pun intended).

Details & Size

The level of details within your logo or design is an important consideration. If you have lots of small intricate details in your company logo, or bold, striking colour schemes; a printed option is the one to choose.

If your design is more basic, classical or simple - a nice piece of typography, for example - then using an embroider is probably more favourable (depending on the type of garment, as mentioned earlier).

Size is another factor. If a logo is over 150mm in width and/or length, it would be best to use a printed technique. Otherwise, an embroider of this size can stretch, pull or weaken the rest of the garment and also distort the logo's appearance. This won't show your company in the best possible light and therefore undermine one of the main benefits of branded workwear and uniforms.


What is a deciding factor for many customers of branded workwear or promotional clothing is the cost.

If your budget is small and the lifespan of the garments is going to be short - for example, a charity event or company golf day - then simple screen printed, budget friendly polo shirts or t-shirts would be a sensible choice. On the contrary, if you have a limited budget but need the branded garments to last, it would be worth making an investment in more heavy duty items with embroidered features.

Be sure to look for special offers and promotions which can become available if you buy in wholesale numbers or agree to open an account (though not all suppliers do this) and factor in all delivery and branding costs into your calculations.


The other thing to take into consideration is the time of production and delivery.

The items you want to have branded with your company logo may or may not be stock items. Check whether your supplier has them in stock or will have to order them from the manufacturer before beginning the printing or embroidery process.

The second and more pressing issue in relation to time is how quick your supplier's turnaround is for the respective methods or printing and embroidering of your workwear. At Xamax, our general commitment is 7-10 days for a delivery to be made following the order confirmation and approval of artwork.

In terms of which is quicker embroidery or printing? The general rule is that embroidery is quicker than screen and vinyl printing. This is purely due to set up and completion time, it's not that companies prefer one more than the other.

Brand And Logo Style

As alluded to earlier, choosing whether to use and embroidered or printed logo should also heavily focus on what style of logo and company image you are trying to portray.

To explain via an example, imagine two types of restaurant that you may have been to. One is a burger bar with DJs and beer pitchers and another aspires to earn a Michelin star. One set of server uniforms may well be grey t-shirts with a bold, contrasting screen printed logo, whilst the other is likely to be a heavy cotton shirt with subtle, complementary embroidered lettering.

Both logos do the same thing - show that the staff are wearing a uniform and are serving food and drinks of said restaurant - but they each have a different aesthetic and portray a very different image. But both are correct and fitting for their respective business.

When it comes to deciding between embroidery or printing for your workwear, these are all important things to consider.