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Is It Cheaper To Embroider Or Print?


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Are you struggling with the decision to embroider or print your design on apparel? You’re not alone! It can be difficult to weigh all the elements of cost, quality, and time when making decisions for anything related to customizing clothing. Here, we’ll explore both sides of the debate: is it better (and cheaper) to go with printing or embroidery? We’ll compare and contrast each method in terms of cost, quality, speed, and other industry considerations – so that you have a full picture and make an informed decision. 

The Cost of Embroidery

The cost of embroidery is typically higher than printing due to the labor and time required. On average, customizing a single item with embroidery costs around $6-8 more than printing. The price can vary depending on the design’s complexity and the number of items you’re ordering – as well as additional fees for set up and digitizing.

The Cost of Printing

Printing offers fewer costs than embroidery: the labor is much less time-consuming, and the setup fee for custom designs is often waived. On average, printing a single item with your design would be about $4-6 cheaper than embroidery – but keep in mind that the quality of printing is often less durable and may fade over time.

The Difference Between the Two Methods

When branding your business or organization, there are two popular methods for displaying designs: embroidery and printing (screen printing). Embroidery is the process of stitching a design onto a fabric using thread, while printing involves creating an image on the material using inks and dyes. While both offer effective ways to showcase logos and designs, a few key differences can help you determine which method is best for your business or organization. Here are ten differences between the two:

  • Because of the time and expertise required to complete an embroidered design, embroidery tends to be more expensive than printing. The complexity and detail of the design also affect the price since more thread and time are needed
  • Printing can create vibrant images with more clarity, while embroidery has a more muted but textured look.
  • The material used for the printing needs to be flat and smooth, or it will not take the ink well, whereas fabric for embroidery does not need to be as flat since the threads can fit into textured surfaces better.
  • Printing is a faster process than embroidery, so it may be the better option if you’re in a rush to get your design out there.
  • Embroidery is generally more durable than printing since it involves stitching the design onto the material. It also makes it less likely to fade over time.
  • Printing works best for large designs, whereas embroidery can work better for smaller areas and details.
  • Embroidery is more difficult to replicate than printing, so it’s often the preferred choice when authenticity matters.
  • The colors of an embroidered design tend to be more subtle, while printing can provide brighter colors.
  • Printing is generally less expensive than embroidery and works best for simple designs that don’t require intricate detail.
  • Embroidery lends itself better to clothing and other fabric products, whereas printing is typically used on paper and other flat surfaces. 

Screen Printing

Cost of Materials and Technical Equipment: Embroidery Vs. Printing

The cost of materials and technical equipment is one of the main considerations when deciding whether to embroider or print. Regarding embroidery, there’s the initial cost of buying a good quality machine plus thread, stabilizers, needles, and other materials used for each job. The price will also vary depending on the number of stitches, type of thread, and design complexity.

Printing costs will vary depending on the type of printer you buy, the size and quality of paper or fabric used for printing, and other materials needed for each job. 

Which is the Better Option for Your Business: Embroidery Vs. Printing

  • The type of business; embroidery may be the better choice if you are in the fashion industry. Embroidery produces a more luxurious look that is associated with high-end fashion items. It also adds a 3D effect to your garments, whereas printing typically remains flat on the fabric.
  • The size of your order; The larger the quantity you order, the more cost-effective it may become to choose embroidery over printing. It is because of the setup fees associated with both methods, which can be quite high for printing but substantially lower for embroidery.
  • The type of logo; If your design includes a lot of detail or small elements that need to look crisp, printing may be the better choice. Embroidery can have limitations regarding the level of detail that can be accurately achieved, so for intricate logos or designs; printing is often the preferred option.
  • The type of fabric; Embroidery is ideal for thicker fabrics like denim and fleece due to its durability. But for thinner fabrics that are prone to snagging and tearing, printing is usually the better choice.
  • The budget; Ultimately, the cost of choosing one method over another will depend on your budget. Because of setup fees, embroidery may cost more up front than printing.

Which is More Affordable Over Time?

Embroidery is often more costly than printing because of setup fees and labor costs. However, depending on the number of garments being decorated, embroidery can be a more economical option in the long run. 

Tips for Reducing the Cost of Both Methods

Here are tips to reduce the cost of printing:

  • Choose the appropriate technique and material for your project: Not all printing techniques are equally suitable for every project. Doing a little research can help you save money by using the most cost-effective method for your specific needs.
  • Focus on quantity discounts: Most printers offer bulk discounts, so if you’re purchasing large quantities of printed items, it’s worth asking for a discount.
  • Renegotiate prices with your existing suppliers: If you have been using the same printer for some time and are satisfied with their service, don’t be afraid to ask for lower prices.
  • Consider digital printing: Digital printing is typically cheaper than conventional printing methods for shorter runs.
  • Compare prices between different printers: Shop around and compare prices between different printers to get the best deal.
  • Use a local printer: If you’re printing locally, a nearby printer can save you money on shipping costs.
  • Check for online discounts and special offers: Check regularly for discounts and special offers from different printers.

When it comes to embroidery, here are ways you can reduce costs:

  • Look for reduced pricing on high-volume orders: Many embroiderers offer reduced prices when ordering in bulk.
  • Use fewer colors/threads: Using fewer colors or threads can significantly reduce the cost of embroidery.
  • Choose a simpler design: Complex designs with lots of detail take longer to stitch, so opting for a simpler design will help you save money.
  • Consider different types of thread: Different types of thread have different prices. For example, rayon thread is typically cheaper than polyester.
  • Buy materials in bulk: Embroidery threads, backings, and other materials can be bought at a reduced price.
  • Talk to multiple embroiderers before deciding which one to go with: Prices and services vary greatly between suppliers, so it pays to shop around. 

Screen Printing

About Shop Strange

Look no further than Shop Strange if you’re looking for quality screen printing, embroidery in Boise, and digital printing services. We offer competitive prices and unmatched customer service. With years of experience in the industry, our skilled staff can help you design t-shirts, hats, bags, and more quickly and efficiently. Other services we offer include:

  • Graphic display printing
  • Logo creation
  • Promotional items
  • Variable data printing

When it comes to embroidery and printing, both methods have their pros and cons. A choice between the two will depend on your specific needs and budget. You can make long-term financial savings by knowing which approach is the most cost-effective for you. Shop Strange can help reduce costs while still delivering quality results. Reach out to us today for all your embroidery needs.






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