Textile Printing Versus Embroidery for Uniforms

by Wendy Croxford

in Permaset Blog

5 Oct 2016  | 0 Comments

Deciding whether to use textile printing or embroidery to add logos or other branding to uniforms means considering a number of factors, such as the type of fabric and the design. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of both methods.

Considerations for using embroidery

With embroidery, thread is stitched into the uniform to display a logo, company or school name. It’s most commonly used for jackets, hats, corporate items and classic polo shirts for a smart and professional appearance.

Logos are digitised before being stitched. This means that the person doing the embroidery determines the type of stitches, and the density and sequence of each segment, and these digital settings drive the embroidery machine.

Embroidery works best with dense fabrics, such as nylon. Though embroidery is incredibly durable, there are some pitfalls in using it, depending on the desired result. It can be difficult to produce very small text, and distortion might occur when using stretchy material, resulting in puckering. It’s also more expensive than screen printing and less conducive to large designs.

Screen printing a bonus for large orders and complex designs

Screen printing is good for uniforms requiring clear, easy-to-read logos or other branding with recognisable prints. It’s often used for t-shirts, hats, caps, jackets and singlets, to name a few.

Screen printing is a technique using a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil, resulting in the desired image.

It’s very well suited to large, complicated designs and detailed logos on almost any material. Screen printing is a good application for designs with shading and gradients, while being an inexpensive option for large orders. You can combine special effects and detailed imagery that’s not possible with embroidery, and reproduce the exact effect as many times as you need to.


Traditionally, the inks used for screen printing were not necessarily durable, or environmentally friendly, however this has changed. It’s now possible to do fabric printing with water-based inks
that don’t contain harmful chemicals and are hard-wearing. Using water-based inks is a safe option for all uniforms (including school uniforms) and even underwear, swimwear and baby clothes.

Which to choose?

Ultimately, the choice comes down to the image you want to present with your uniforms. You might particularly desire the crisp, professional “look” of embroidery. Or, you might want to add a large design to a uniform t-shirt, which is better suited to screen printing. When screen printing, it’s a good idea to consider using eco-friendly inks, which deliver a nice soft print, are non-toxic and don’t harm the environment.

Permaprint does not contain ozone depleting chemicals such as CFCS or HCFCS. It is also formulated free of aromatic hydrocarbons. Permaprint premium is free of volatile organic solvent and does not contain PVC resin or Phthalate plasticiser