Print vs Embroidery

  • Jul 23, 2019


Let’s say you want to order promotional apparel. This can include t-shirts, Polo shirts, vests, button-up shirts, hats, performance wear or outer wear. Once you have made a decision on the kind of apparel, you have another decision to make. Do you decorate using a print technique or an embroidery technique? What is the difference anyway? Technology has come so far there are many different ways to apply print methods or embroidery to promotional apparel.

Print Technology

Screen printing, also known as silkscreen printing, is a tried and true way to get your image on clothing and is used by most professionals. Screen printing is perfect for creating high quality t-shirt designs. If you have a large order, this is the preferred method. However it can only accommodate one color per screen, so limited colors per design is required.


Direct to Garments (DTG) is excellent for printing out a multi-colored, complex design. It works almost like a paper printer in the sense that the ink goes on the fabric and not on paper. Designs are created digitally, then uploaded to the computer. Be aware that the design may fade quicker and is considered least durable.

Dye Sublimation is next on the list of print technologies. This tech works better on light shirts or fabrics like polyester, not cotton. The dye is liquid, dries when applied to the polyester and then heated. This is a durable method for printing on a shirt.

Transfer Paper is perfect for small orders. It’s a special paper with the design and it  is applied to fabric through heat transfer.

The Vinyl Cut printing method is also applied by heat. A machine cuts the design. Vinyl cut is used for one-off designs or for large quantities. 


Embroidery technology has come a long way too. Traditionally, embroidery has been done by hand, and still is by hobbyists. Now, it’s done by machine. Machine applied embroidery is done directly on the fabric. Embroidery can also be applied to a patch in 3D form. These 3D forms create unique designs, look amazing and are definitely eye catching!



When JQ Designs is custom embroidering a garment, we carefully consider which embroidery method is best, depending on the garment type and fabric chosen by the client. Rely on our professionalism and experience to help you find the best apparel to make your logo look good!






  • Category: Custom Apparel, Product Information
  • Tags: Commercial embroidery, embroidery, promotional products, screen printing, DTG, direct to garment, 3D embroidery, jq designs, janet aldred,