With so many different options out there for decorating your custom apparel or promotional products, how do you know when to use each method? Each decoration option comes with certain pros and cons as well as some limitations.

To make things easy, most of our products have a recommended or default decoration method and our dedicated team of Merchologists is always here to assist you if you have any questions. To make things even easier, the custom logo experts at Merchology have broken down the major decoration techniques below. Jump to the decoration type you want to learn more about using the links below and click into each section for more information on our custom capabilities for each decoration type!



A printing style in which ink is forced through a mesh screen and directly onto a T-shirt or other type of substrate. The result is the transfer of the screen’s image to the print surface. This creates a vibrant and long-lasting imprint that can be used on a wide variety of products.

When to Pick Screen-Printing

Screen printing, is cheaper when ordering in large quantity. Screen-Printing works well with items like t-shirts and tank tops. A complex design with many different colors will incur higher costs and longer production times.

Pros of Screen-Printing

  • Durability
  • Great for Simple Designs
  • Cost Effective for Large Orders
  • Screen-Print can be Ironed

Cons of screen-printing

  • Set Up Time
  • Limited Colors
  • Cost Gets Higher with Multiple Colors

Examples of Screen-Printing


Your custom logo is digitized and sent to our computerized sewing machines that then stitch the imprint into various items such as: hats, jackets, polos, bags, and more.

When to Pick Embroidery

Embroidery typically look best on polos, jackets, woven shirts, caps, and bags. It allows for pin point color choices and works well with large designs.

Pros of Embroidery

  • High-Quality Finish
  • Very Durable
  • Works Well on Heavy Material such as Jackets

Cons of Embroidery

  • Cant Make Small Designs
  • Price is Based on Number of Stitches
  • Does not Allow for Small Text

Examples of Embroidery


Pieces of fabric are cut, pressed onto the garments, and then sewn for a classic look.

When to Pick Applique

Applique makes a design while saving on stitch's. Works best with patches and logos, and with bright color stitch's.

Pros of Applique

  • Allows for Different Textures and Effects On Large Areas
  • Avoids Adding Bulk to Thick Garments

Cons of Applique

  • Process Takes Longer Then Other Methods
  • Cost More Then Similar Methods
  • Can Make the Garment Feel Thick

Examples of Applique

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  • Link to product

Laser Engraving

Your logo is etched into the surface of an object with one of our CO2 universal laser machines. This method creates sharp, clear logos that are unable to be removed. Engraving is available on items such as: wood, metal, and leather.

When to Pick Laser Engraving

This decoration method creates sharp logos that are unable to be removed. Great for promotional pens, custom drinkware, and personalized assisories.

Pros of Laser Engraving

  • Permanent Marks
  • Logos/Text are Given Depth and Texture
  • No Dyes or Ink needed

Cons of Laser Engraving

  • No Color on the Logo
  • Takes Long to Create

Examples of Laser Engraving


If you have ever used an iron to press a decal onto a shirt then you know the basis of heat transfer, but our method is exceptionally more advanced. The digital heat seal decoration method utilizes regulated heat and pressure to thermally bond graphics onto a material’s surface. You can read our complete step by step guide to custom heat transfer printing here!

When to Pick Sublimation

Sublimation works best when looking to add designs on light color shirts to make them stand out. This durable method will allow you to create custom Polyester shirts.

Pros of Sublimation

  • Long Lasting Colors
  • Large Option of Colors
  • Ability to Print Intricate Designs

Cons of Sublimation

  • Only Works on Polyester
  • Requires Specialty Inks and Printers
  • Must be on a Light Color Shirt

Examples of Sublimation

CAD / Vinyl Press

Like other processes, this one uses heat to activate and attach a sort of vinyl sticker onto a fabric. The final product not only looks great, but is also durable and works well with sportswear.

When to Pick CAD / Vinyl Press

CAD/Vinyl printing is used for simple designs to create basic shapes or text. Used mostly for jerseys for name and numbers. Not recommended when trying to show a great deal of detail on a shirt.

Pros of CAD / Vinyl Press

  • Low Chance of an Error
  • Short Run Times
  • Inexpensive ink

Cons of CAD / Vinyl Press

  • Can not be Dry Cleaned, Needs to be Washed in Warm Water
  • Colors are limited

Examples of CAD / Vinyl Press

DTG (Direct To Garment) Printing

One of the newest and most fun. This process uses a jumbo-sized printer (almost like the one you have at home) to print directly onto the garment of your choice. It is great for printing small-run, full-color prints.

When to Pick DTG (Direct To Garment) Printing

This printing method has a very quick turnaround time and produces a high resolution image on garments. DTG is one of the most commonly used printing methods for its quality, durability, and price.

Pros of DTG (Direct To Garment) Printing

  • Quick Turnaround Time
  • Great for Multiple Color Designs
  • Good Option for Low Cost Items

Cons of DTG (Direct To Garment) Printing

  • Prints on Dark Color Garments Can Appear Grainy
  • Cannot be Used on Sports Shirts

Examples of DTG (Direct To Garment) Printing

Digital Printing

Your custom design or logo is printed onto different types of materials depending on the final product. This process works for creating: promotional stickers, vinyl banners, full-color T-shirt designs, and more.

When to Pick Digital Printing

This method works will when your logo/design is very high in detail. This allows for the finer details of your design to be shown. Most commonly done with small orders for quicker turnaround time.

Pros of Digital Printing

  • Quick Turnaround Time
  • Wide Range of Application
  • Can Use Unlimited Colors
  • Great for Showing the Fine Details

Cons of Digital Printing

  • More Expensive Process
  • Large Orders Have a Long Run Time

Examples of Digital Printing

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