Choosing the Best Method to Brand Your Uniforms: Embroidery or Screen Printing?

There are many factors to consider when deciding between embroidery and screen printing for your uniforms. These two methods are the primary options for adding logos to your uniforms and you might wonder which one is the most suitable for your logo.

Embroidery involves replicating your logo by stitching threads directly into the fabric. This process utilises computerised embroidery machines and the logo can incorporate up to 15 different thread colors. The initial step involves digitizing your logo to create a program that guides the embroidery machine which is what the set-up fee is for.

Screen printing, on the other hand, reproduces your logo by pushing ink through mesh screens directly onto the garments. Each color in your logo requires a separate mesh screen, so designs with multiple colours tend to be more expensive than simpler single-colour designs. While some aspects of screen printing have been automated, garments still need to be individually loaded and unloaded by an operator. After printing, each garment passes through a tunnel dryer to set or cure the print.

When determining which method to use for your garments, you’ll likely consider two main factors:

  1. Cost
  2. Suitability

Cost Considerations:

Embroidery: Ideal for business shirts, polos, caps, and jackets.

The cost comparison between embroidery and screen printing hinges on the complexity of your logo and the quantity of garments needed. Generally, embroidery tends to be more cost-effective for smaller logos, especially for lower quantities (less than 20 garments) and smaller logos with multiple colours.

The setup cost for embroidered logos is a fixed fee of $77, irrespective of the number of colours in your logo. In contrast, screen printing setup costs are colour-dependent, requiring a new mesh screen for each colour. When screen printing on coloured t-shirts, an additional “base print” is necessary, adding to the cost. For instance, a white print on a black t-shirt would require two screens. Embroidery usually offers a more economical setup cost compared to screen printing. Hoodies also incur an additional “fleece fee” as the screens have to be cleaned constantly between garments and cost more to print on.

Exceptions arise with large logos that demand extensive stitching. Such logos consume more machine time and thread, resulting in higher costs. In such cases, screen printing becomes the more affordable option.

For large quantities, screen printing setup costs become negligible, making it a cost-effective choice. Additionally, if you anticipate repeat orders for the same garments, the setup fees are only a one -off fee, making the repeat orders much more affordable.


Screen Printing: Ideal for t-shirts, singlets, and hoodies.

Setting cost aside, the choice between embroidery and screen printing depends on the type of garments you want to use as your uniforms.

  • For chef jackets, business shirts, polo shirts, caps, hats, aprons, beanies and jackets, embroidery is generally the preferred choice. Embroidery is perceived as more prestigious for these items. It’s also well-suited for outerwear.
  • However, if you require a large logo on the back of polo shirts, particularly for trade purposes, screen printing can be a better solution.
  • For t-shirts and lightweight garments, screen printing is the superior choice. Embroidery may be too “heavy” for these materials and could lead to puckering around the logo due to the tension created by the stitching. Screen printing offers a “softer handle” and is better suited for large logos and designs, which is ideal for t-shirts with ample decoration space on both the front and back.

In Summary:

  • Embroidery is the optimal choice for business shirts, polo shirts, caps, and jackets.
  • Screen printing is the preferred option for t-shirts, hoodies, and large logos.