When it comes to putting your logo on apparel, you have several options depending upon the particular material and fabric. Below is an explanation of these methods so you have a better understanding of how each method works.

 Screen Printing

Screen printing uses a stencil method (also known as a “screen”) to apply layers of ink on the printing surface. Each color is applied using a different screen one at a time to achieve the final result. It is possible with screen printing to create designs or certain looks that could not be recreated in thread and embroidery.

Screen printing is predominantly used for t-shirts but can be used on other apparel depending upon the fabric. On some materials (such as polyester or Dri-FIT style polos), we can use Poly-White inks. However, in doing this, some garments may end up being damaged in the print run due to dye-migration or heat.  Therefore, we recommend only natural fabrics be used for screen printing as they tend to absorb the ink more readily than man-made fabrics do. Cotton and cotton blends are the most popular choice for screen printing.

Conclusion: Very cost-effective, recommended on t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and other natural fabrics. The printing is precise. The amount of imprint colors will affect the price.


Embroidery is basically defined as decorating fabric using a needle and thread. In general, embroidery is considered a nicer and classier way to present a design. An embroidered logo typically goes on the left chest area of the shirt or jacket.

On embroidery, logo reproduction isn’t always going to be as accurate, especially when dealing with small details such as a period, thin lines, a trademark, etc. Unlike screen printing, embroidery involves punching tiny holes into the fabric in order to decorate the fabric. Therefore, sometimes the logo may need to be “filled in”, edited or manipulated during the digitizing process.

Conclusion: Pricier than screen printing, but still cost effective. Recommended for uniforms, Dri-FIT polos, polyester polos, jackets, etc. The amount of thread colors will not affect the price (unless we have to match a specific color that is not a standard color). The printing is not always precise and the logo can’t be 100% reproduced.


Vinyl printing is a heat transfer. A machine is used to cut out letters and designs from colored vinyl and then heat-pressed onto the apparel to transfer the color to it. Vinyl printing relies on a combination of pressure and heat.

Typically, vinyl is going to be utilized on ball uniforms or safety uniforms (where screen printing and embroidery may be impossible).

Conclusion: Not very cost effective. Due to the nature of vinyl, it is going to be much more expensive than screen printing and embroidery. Vinyl should only be used in special occasions and circumstances when screen printing and embroidery is not a good option. The amount of colors does not affect the price. Vinyl is very precise.  

Which method best fits your need?

Hopefully we have been able to provide some basic information about the differences between screen printing, embroidery and vinyl. All of these decoration methods have their advantages and disadvantages. We also have a few other options as well for special circumstances. If you have any additional questions, please contact us for more information: 256.975.8962;


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