Customised polo shirts are a staple workwear item. From printed bar staff polo shirts, to hotel cleaning staff, to electricians who've used polo shirt embroidery to show off their company logo - they're one of the most versatile workwear items.
Picking the right customised polo shirts for your business depends on two factors:
- The Polo Shirt Itself: The right polo shirt is one which your staff love wearing, which is on budget and which creates the right impression of your brand.
- The Customisation Technique: The technique you use needs to create the right look - but which technique you use also influences the type of polo shirt you use.
The rest of this post will go into more depth and use some industry terms that might need explaining, before going any further:
Embroidery is the technique of customising clothing and adding artwork (logos, designs, info) to a garment with needle and thread. Performed by machines, this is highly intricate and ultra durable.
Printing is loosely divided up into screen printing (creating screen presses for printing using inks mixed to perfection), vinyl printing (digitally cutting pieces of pre-made vinyl to miniscule perfection and applying it to the garment) and digital or transfer printing (where images are printed digitally and applied onto a garment).
These all have their pros, cons and limitations. Hence, it can get a little complicated. Here's how to keep it simple...
How To Choose Your Customised Polo Shirt
Browse the range of polo shirts available from your supplier and make sure you check against the following criteria:
- Colour: Choose a polo shirt that is available in colours which match your branding. You can then decide whether to go down the route of using neutral, safe colours (black, white, navy) or incorporating your brand colours into the colour of the garment itself (like easyJet used to with their orange uniforms, for example).
- Style: Make sure the polo shirts you want to customise are available in styles which will please all your members of staff, as much as possible at least. Women's cuts and fits, men's slim fit options, two or three button collar, different sleeve length... all of these features affect how the polo shirt looks but also how it feels when worn. If your staff don't like the workwear items you purchase, it will be bad for morale and staff retention.
- Cost: And, of course, the fact of the matter is that cost is probably going to have the power to override the other two factors. If it's over budget, it's over budget. Make sure the cost is in line with what you're allocated to spend.
Once you've found the right polo shirt for your brand and budget, and your team is happy to wear it, you're ready to decide between print and embroidering branding methods and then place your order.
If you want a free guide to help make sure you get everything right in your order and how to convince bosses and staff that company clothing is a good idea, head here. Keep reading this blog post to work out how to decide between Print and Embroidery on a polo shirt.
How To Decide Between Print And Embroidery On Your Customised Polo Shirt
Once you have picked a polo shirt that meets your brand guidelines and will create the look you need, and staff are happy with your choice, you then need to consider which customisation technique to use.
Screen printing, transfer printing and embroidery all create different looks. And they can't all be used for all types of logos on all types of garments.
The look you want to achieve influences which customisation technique you should use, but also which polo shirt to use it on. And at the same time, the customisation technique you want to use affects which polo shirt you can actually use.
Generally speaking, most pique cotton customised polo shirts use embroidery. This is because the work setting and industries where polo shirts are typically worn tend to suit the more timeless look and/or durability offered by embroidering.
But that's a generalisation. It might be best for your business and brand to use print techniques.
Deciding between polo shirt embroidery or print branding also needs to consider the fabric used to make the garment.
Polo shirts come in various weaves and materials. Pique cotton is probably the most recognised and common polo shirt, but they're available in breathable fabric mixes and 100% polyester options (designed for more active or heated environments) and other cotton weaves like ringspun combed cotton.
The material of your polo shirt and the amount of detail and colours in your design alters which technique you should use.
Two types of polo shirt means two types of customisation.
Here's some general tips to decide on whether to use print or embroidery on a polo shirt:
- Single colour and simple detail artwork - can screen print, transfer or embroider on various types of polo shirt. Setting, brand style and personal preference all rule here.
- Multi colour and simple detail artwork - embroidery is best on pique cotton, screen print and transfers best on other types (though people do use embroidery).
- Single colour and detailed artwork - choose a screen print-friendly polo shirt (non-pique) for the best visual appearance. Pique makes catching the fine details tricky and embroidery won't be as crisp either.
- Multi colour and detailed artwork - embroidery can capture good levels of detail, but for super detailed artwork use screen, digital or transfer printing on non-pique polo shirts.
And that is everything you need to consider when deciding on the right polo shirt for your business and the right technique to customise it.
If you're ready to see what your customised polo shirts will look like, then take advantage of this free visualisation offer. Browse our range of polo shirts and simply submit your artwork.
But if you'd like some further reading to help you know when to use print and when to use embroidery on polo shirts, read this short guide: