Screen Printing vs. Embroidery vs. Direct-to-Garment; Which Should You Choose?

Screen Printing Screen and Squeegee


If you want to add custom logos and designs to clothing and or other textiles, screen printing, embroidery, or direct-to-garment are your best options. Each option produces high quality work, but each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Screen printing and direct-to-garment can sometimes be the more cost-effective way for placing your designs on textiles and is often the better choice for producing larger designs/logos. Embroidery is often viewed as the more long-lasting choice and can deliver professional results for corporate attire and more.

Embroidery creates a design with a nice amount of weight that looks sophisticated and should last for a long time. The design is in 3D, as opposed to the flat design of a printed logo.

Before you decide which is the right option for, look at what each one can offer for whatever purpose you need it for. If you have any questions please reach out to us for help.

Comparing Costs

Cost is likely to be the biggest concern for anyone who wants to have garments or other textiles customized.

Some things to keep in mind when deciding which option to choose is that neither option will always be cheaper than the others. Figuring out which process is more cost-effective will depend on several factors. Those factors include the complexity and size of the design(s), along with the quality and quantity of the garments you choose.

If you choose embroidery, your price will be based on the number of stitches in the design. A typical left chest logo, 3-4 inches wide, is typically between 5,000-8,000 stitches resulting in $5-$10 for the design cost.

However, with screen printing the size of the design doesn’t matter as much as the number of colors in the design. Each new color requires a new mesh screen to be used, which raises the costs.

Direct-to-garment is a great option for smaller runs of garments or for designs that have many colors. Direct-to-garment also offers the ability to have photographs printed on textiles for a fraction of the coat it would be to have that photograph screen printed.

Each process requires a specific file for the artwork and if the artwork isn’t provided in the right file, there is typically a one-time $30-$50 artwork fee depending on the complexity of the design. However, direct-to-garment offers the easiest file type with just a PNG or JPEG which can easily be converted by anyone.

Another thing to remember when comparing costs between the different processes is the quality and quantity of the textile you choose. Printavo provides us with a great resource to refer to when deciding which garments to choose. 

Longevity and Durability 

In terms of longevity, embroidery is the more favorable option. Stitching is embedded within the garment, while a printed logo is placed on the top of the garment. Because of this, the logo acts as if it is a part of the shirt, and it will stay as safe as the shirt does.

Screen printing and direct-to-garment designs look good — initially —but time does it no favors. After multiple wears and washes, a screen-printed and direct-to-garment designs can begin to fade; however, screen print and direct-to-garment designs tend to last anywhere from 30-50 washes which is typically the lifetime of a shirt.

Screen printed and direct-to-garment designs are fine to be washed and dried as normal. For embroidery, each textile can be washed as normal but after washed, the design should be flattened with the palm of the hand and then hung to dry. The longevity of each process will depend on how the garment or textile is washed and cared for.

Embroidered design

Applications for Screen Printing, Embroidery, and Direct-to-Garment

Each process is suited for different types and qualities of garments. For example, embroidery is more suitable for heavier and nicer garments whereas screen printing and direct-to-garment is great for both thin and thick shirts as well as other textiles.

Thinner and lower quality garments aren’t necessarily the best choice for embroidery because thin material tends to pucker when embroidered if not cared for properly.

Screen printing can be the better option for T-shirts and other thin or stretchy garments. The screen print doesn’t create the tension that embroidery does so it doesn’t cause the material to pucker.

When considering direct-to-garment, one thing to note is that direct-to-garment is best suited for garments or textiles that the fabric content is mainly cotton based.


Screen printing, embroidery, and direct-to-garment each have their advantages, but you need to consider a few factors before deciding which one is best.

Consider the size of your logo design, complexity of the design, your budget, the items you want to customize, and the quantity of items you want to have in your order.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to us for any questions concerning each of our processes and help with your order. We are here to help and want to help you have a good and positive experience when ordering with Wasatch Threads.

Contact us now for to get started on your order.