Printing or embroidery onto polo shirts advice

There are some things to consider when you are planning your printed or embroidered polo shirt order.

Not everything will work and some things that will work, can work better if you know the pitfalls.

The first thing to consider is the weave or knit of the polo shirt.

Polo shirts more often than not have a weave known as ‘PIQUE’ (pee-kay). This is a knitted weave which produces a texture that appears raised and patterned.

If you were to examine it closely, you would see the peaks and troughs that exist at the warp and weft junctions.


pique knit



close up of jersey knit fabric used for polo shirts


This is a flatter and smoother weave, which is more common in T-shirts and sweatshirts.

The difference in the weaves is obvious and this will often influence the decision on whether to go for screen-printing, digital printing, vinyl (usually for names and numbers on the back) or embroidery.

Generally speaking, we prefer to embroider pique polo shirts and then recommend jersey knit polo shirts if the design needs to be printed due to a high number of colours or detail.

This is due to the difficulty in getting clean straight edges with screen-printing when attempting to lay a liquid ink onto the rough surface of a pique. It is possible, and screen-printing will always have its place for single colour work or large back prints, but generally, we feel embroidery works better.

The second thing to consider is your artwork.

There is such a wide variety of artwork, designs and logos out there and they can be roughly categorised in the following way.

· Single colour, no detail artwork.

· Single colour, high detail artwork.

· Multi-colour, no detail artwork.

· Multi-colour, high detail artwork.

· Photo-realistic artwork.

Single colour, no detail artwork

Single colour logos, or artwork that does not contain too much detail, are fine for pique and can be screen-printed or embroidered.

Single colour, high detail artwork

Consider going over to Jersey and screenprinting.

Multi-colour, no detail artwork

In many cases, this is fine for pique but you will get a better print on jersey if you go with screen-print but many multi-coloured designs can work excellently as embroidery.

Multi-colour, high detail artwork

Jersey only, either screen-printed or digitally printed.

Photorealistic artwork

Jersey only and can either be screen-printed, if you are ok losing some resolution and you are on large order quantities over 100 pcs, or could be digitally printed if high resolution is important to you or you are ordering low numbers.

So… always, your friendly Shirtworks account manager is on-hand to help you with any questions.

Here are some cool pique knit polos for you to consider.

Here are some cool jersey knit polos for you to consider.

Here is the polo shirts section overall.

Author: Arron Harnden

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *