by Arun Nair

Embroidery vs Screen Printing. The battle continues

One of the most common things we hear from customers is - Please don’t print this, I’m certain it will wash away. Have it “Stitched instead” (Stitched being the unofficial name for embroidery).

Our typical answer to these concerns is: Really ? Where the hell have you been getting your products printed at ? The idea behind this blog is to clear some misconceptions about screen printing and give users a guide on what media should be used on what merchandise. Like most things, both screen printing and embroidery have their advantages and are absolutely delightful when combined with the correct Products.

Let’s start by understanding what’s what. We won’t get into the technicalities of both media (Because if you want to know more about that, then there’s always Screen Printing and Machine embroidery). 

Embroidery vs Screen Printing. The battle continues

So, in a nutshell:

Screen Printing

Printing is done using ink + a screen. The finished product will vary in look depending on factors like the mesh count of the screen, exposure and the type on ink used (Plastisol and Water based being the most popular)


We of course don’t mean hand embroidery. Here products are put on beds/frames and put into heads which use needles + threads to draw an image/logo etc.

Embroidery vs Screen Printing. The battle continues

Now that we understand each media, let’s first work on cleaning up misconceptions and baseless theories which a lot of people seem to dwell on.

Embroidery vs Screen Printing. The battle continues


1. Screen printing will wash away

This only happens if you print the product with a printer who’s using low quality ink or who otherwise just isn’t doing the job properly. Screen printing is great but be sure that your printer understands both design and technique. We have seen far too many customers who come to Your Design Store | Customise your merchandise in 360 degree only because someone else messed up.

2. I can’t afford embroidery it’s too expensive

If you can afford to pay for screen printing then believe me, embroidery is not too far away from your economic means. While embroidery is marginally more expensive, it’s not by much. In fact, I have seen some factories where the cost of embroidery is quite cheap. Obviously, you’d have to sacrifice on quality in these places.

Embroidery vs Screen Printing. The battle continues

Let’s consider a sample order.

Product: Collar T-Shirt

Quantity: 30 Nos

Design to be printed / embroidered: Single colour logo that’s 3 inches in width (proportional height). Let’s use the Nike logo in this example.

Screen Printing


Difference in cost: Rs. 60 per piece

3. Embroidery will last forever

Like most things in life, No ! Embroidery will not last forever. Yes, if we compare the longevity to screen printing then it is safe to say that the life expectancy is slightly higher. From personal experience I’d say that an embroidered logo is less prone to wear and tear.

Embroidery vs Screen Printing. The battle continues

4. Screen printing makes the T-Shirt heavy

This wholly depends on the type of design and the colour of the T-Shirt. It’s actually quite an interesting concept. A lighter colour product (Care White Hoodie) will require only one layer of print while a darker colour (Mr. Mitten's Hoodie) will need about 2 to 3 layers which will automatically increase the weight. Then there’s the design explained below:

A patch design is always heavier                   Designs with gaps in between use less ink


Embroidery vs Screen Printing. The battle continues

5. Screen printing is possible only for very large quantities

This too is false. Even though this might vary between printers, the fact is that screen printing can also be done for a single piece. This however (From a customer and printers point of view) is ludicrous as it just doesn’t justify the cost. For screen printing to make sense from an economical angle a quantity of 10 pieces or more will make sense.

6.Screen Printer = Rubber Printing:

Well this isn’t entirely wrong. People use the term “Rubber” because of the rubberised effect it gives. However, this is only the case when the type of ink used is Plastisol. There are other types of inks which will not cause this finish.

Embroidery vs Screen Printing. The battle continues

Now that we truly understand both concepts and what we shouldn’t believe, let’s take a look at how to use each of this media on desired products.

Where does embroidery make sense ?

Where does printing make sense ?

Screen printing is a more product friendly media. Apart from Caps, we would recommend this on any product which needs to be customized.