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Branded Apparel Decoration Methods

So, you’ve decided it’s time to get some branded apparel for your team. But then, your rep at Specialized starts asking all these questions about what kind of decoration you would like on the apparel. He mentions the two you’re familiar with: embroidery and screen printing. But what are heat transfers, dye sublimation, laser etch (on clothes??) and laser appliques? Well, you’re in luck because we’re about to break it down for you.

Embroidery: it’s your typical, sewn in logo. This looks great for a traditional and more formal apparel piece. Your executives will look really professional and put together with an embroidered button up.

Screen print: Ink is printed onto the shirt through a screen leaving your design. This imprint style will make for a fun, casual t-shirt that your team can wear around the office or out and about on the weekends.

Now for the tricky ones…


Heat transfer: A heat transfer is a great option when you’re putting a highly detailed photo with lots of colors onto a shirt. The image is printed on heat transfer paper and then pressed onto the piece of apparel. This decoration method is also great for anytime you want really clean lines and soft-to-the-touch image.

Dye sublimation: This process transfers dye to the fabric making the image dyed into the shirt. You will not be able to feel the imprint because the individual fibers are dyed creating the image. This decoration method is great for a custom look.

Laser etch: Yes, sounds strange on clothing but has a really modern, clean look to the imprint. You can also achieve great levels of detail and imprint across seams unlike the more traditional decoration types. The laser cuts into the fabric removing a layer, so you end up with a tone on tone imprint. This works best on smooth, medium shade garments.

Laser applique: This is a really bold and graphic imprint that adds dimension to your logo. Laser applique is a layering process where the fabric is first sewn onto your apparel piece and then the laser trims around the edges leaving just your logo. Once you’ve layered this, it leaves an impactful design. This decoration technique is great for university apparel and sweatshirts for your company.

Let us help you pick the best decoration method for your next apparel piece!