How To Prepare Artwork For Custom Embroidery

How To Prepare Artwork For High Quality Custom Embroidery

This article covers artwork requirements for getting great results for your custom embroidery.  We love to produce high quality products.  High quality product designs start with high quality artwork and artwork that is well suited for embroidery.

Embroidery Size

For custom t-shirts and custom hoodies, the maximum embroidery size is 4" X 4". Please note, not every placement area can fit that size.

For custom hats and beanies, the size of the embroidery is limited to approximately 4" X 2", because hats require special hooping which limits embroidery size.

File Resolution

  1. Recommend: 300 dpi
  2. Acceptable: 150 dpi
  3. Not acceptable: less than 150 dpi

File Types

We recommend using .png files to submit your artwork via the website design experience; however, the website also accepts .jpg files. We are happy to accept vector and other artwork file formats as well which can be accomplished by adding high res artwork to your saved designs.

Files Size

Files must be provided at the size you need embroidered. If you need 2" x 2" embroidery, your artwork should also be set to 2" x 2". If you are unsure what size to embroider your artwork, we recommend measuring a real t shirt to see how different sizes look.

Files Size & Resolution Examples

  1. A 1" X 1" embroidery @ 300 dpi is a 300 X 300 pixel image
  2. A 2" X 2" embroidery @ 300 dpi is a 600 X 600 pixel image
  3. A 3" X 3" embroidery @ 300 dpi is a 900 X 900 pixel image

Level Of Detail Within Artwork

Embroidery can be used to create detailed shapes, text, and artwork. However, because custom embroidery creates your artwork by stitching threads, there are physical limits to how intricate details can be within your artwork. The smallest a single stitch can be is 2mm or ~.07". This means that the smallest level of detail within your artwork must be at least 2mm. If your artwork contains details smaller than 2mm our artist will update your file to ensure your artwork can be created as embroidery, this may alter the look of your embroidery.

We will not remake or refund embroideries that do not "run cleanly."  These issues are caused by improper use of fonts, text, or level of detail within your artwork.  To produce high quality embroidery consistently, less is more, and simpler is better.

Guidance For Fonts & Text

Remember, your text and fonts will be created out of thread so you want to take precautions to ensure your text is legible.  In general, it is recommend to avoid any fonts that are decorated, contain serifs, or are highly stylized.  These fonts will not run as cleanly as well spaced out, large, sans-serif fonts.

Font Height

In order for text to be legible it must have a minimum height:
  1. Recommended Minimum Height: 1/2"
  2. Acceptable Minimum Height: 1/4"
  3. Not Acceptable Height: Less than 1/4"
Please note that different fonts may have different height requirements.   We do not guarantee that the font you provide will run cleanly.  In certain cases, our artist team will propose a different font or text, or recommend removing text altogether, while these recommendations are intended to improve the quality of the embroidery, they are not a guarantee of a high quality production result. 

Letter Spacing & Ideal Fonts

You should also give additional thought and care to letter spacing, or tracking, to ensure your text is legible. Generally speaking, the best fonts for embroidery are cursive letters where each letter is connected in script. The thread will continue between each letter and be more legible.

The next best fonts are san-serif fonts because there are less pieces to each letter and are more easily legible. Serif fonts are not recommended at small scales, but if you intend to use one, we recommend adding additional space between each letter for visibility and clarity around each letter.

Embroidery Colors

We offer a variety of thread colors to achieve the most accurate color representation for embroidery. When you upload your artwork and select embroidery, the website will automatically detect and display colors in your artwork that match our available thread colors. The Custom Embroidery Thread Colors guide shows our available thread colors. If your art requires specific thread colors, please send an email them to cs@apliiq.com to request a quote for custom embroidery colors.

Disclaimer: When images are embroidered the colors may not match exactly what you see on your screen. Unfortunately, there are differences between how colors are rendered on a computer or phone screen.

Maximum number of colors

Orders placed online can contain up to 5 thread colors. If your artwork requires more than 5 colors you can request an estimate by emailing cs@apliiq.com.

How To Minimize Pulling & Puckering

Since embroidery is made from thread & stitching your artwork into a garment, it is possible that your artwork may have some minimal puckering or pulling. Puckering or pulling are small distortions in the garment around your artwork due to the stitches pulling the garment. Our embroidery team will apply stabilizer or backing to your design to minimize puckering and get you the best embroidery possible. However, there are steps you can take to reduce puckering and pulling for your design.

What to do if your file is too small

Sometimes you may need to use existing design element to create your artwork. If your file is too small you still have options to make amazing happen:
  1. Try locating a larger version of your file.
  2. Our artists can vectorize your artwork for you so it can be properly scaled up. We are happy to do this free of charge, in most cases the artwork will be altered slightly.
Please Note: In most cases you cannot simply "resize" an existing small file to increase it's size. You need to find the original larger file or recreate the artwork at the appropriate size.

For more information on different embroidery stitch types and when to use them, we recommend reviewing this article, Understanding Different Embroidery Stitch Types.

Garment Selection

Embroidery works best with heavy weight garments like fleece products (hoodies/joggers), which provide adequate support for the embroidery to be sewn into the garment.

With that being said, we also provide embroidery services on some lighter weight garments like t shirts.  Special care with regards to artwork and design selection must be used when embroidering on t shirts and light weight garments.  Since these garments are thin, it is easy for embroidery to create small holes, especially around the sharp edges of artwork. 

We recommend designs with limited stitch counts, and no sharp edges for t shirts and other lightweight garments.

We will not remake or refund products where embroidery creates small holes in lightweight garments. 


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