Artwork Guidelines

These guidelines have been written to assist you in designing, producing and formatting artwork that you wish us to use with your order.

Firstly, artwork is any illustration of a graphic that you want to have embroidered on the garments you order.

Before reading further, It is useful to have a high level understanding of the embroidery process and how we transfer a digitised image from a computer screen onto a garment. In its basic form, embroidery produces text and/or an image onto fabric using different coloured threads. Our embroidery machines are computer controlled, however traditional textile design and material handling skills are also utilised in the production process.

From the point of receiving a piece of artwork, we digitise the image (that is convert the image to a stitch file) This is done on a computer using specialist software. We then transfer the results to one of our embroidery machines, which eventually produces the embroidered finished product.

There are a number of additional manual processes and fabric constraints that need to be considered in adjusting the hundreds of parameters that affect the quality of the result, however these have been omitted from the above description for simplicity.

1. garment & material

Each different item of clothing presents different challenges when it comes to embroidering a design onto it.

  • Caps/hats and sleeves require special frames and this dictates the positions available to embroider.
  • Pockets, linings  and seems (e.g. on caps) can interfere with designs and limit what can be achieved.
  • The weight of the garment fabric could mean that a concentration of stitches could distort and pucker the garment, making it look miss-shaped when worn

With the above said, we can overcome/workaround some of these constraints using our skills, experience and equipment.

Take a look at the products on our online shop and be aware that if you can't find something suitable, we can help to source what you need.

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We are always happy to help, contact us for advice.

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2. Position on Garment

The location of the embroidery on a garment is often key to how the finished product will turn out.

We can place the embroidery in many locations and a single garment could have embroidery in several locations.

Remember that if the embroidery is there to promote your brand, it needs to be seen and read. You may therefore want your logo big and bold across the front with perhaps a web address or contact number on the back.

3. Design Size

The embroidery process uses needs and thread to reproduce you design on the garment material. The material and the process set the constraints on what is possible with any specific design.

Large graphic designs can have low levels of detail but can take hours to sew and demand intervention (thread breaks, etc). Also, small designs can't have too much going on in too small a space or they turn into concentrated tangled nest of threads. The smallest lettering possible in most fonts is 5mm.

You are welcome to state the size you want your design to be produced in or you can simply ask us to size as we see fit according to the garment, fabric and position of the logo.

As a general rule the larger the size of the design or logo the more detail can be captured within it. We often have customers who send through a complex and detailed design and want it embroidering onto the left sleeve of a polo shirt. You have to imagine each drawn line or shape within the design needs to be re-produced using thread and therefore the same sharpness is not always possible. If the design is larger in size then those lines can be drawn as a block of thread with a much crisper end visual appearance once embroidered onto the fabric. As a guide the minimum we can embroider text at is 5mm


Suitable computer file types

Most image files fit into one of three categories, Vector, Raster and hybrid (a combination of the other two). See the table below for a description of the common formats that we can work with. If you have artwork in a format other than those listed below then please contact us to discuss as we are usually able to alter into a workable file.

Contact us at Thinksew if you need help with image file types...

Vector Image file types (Prefered)

Vector format image files store the artwork using mathematical techniques. These techniques allow the image information to be scaled to any size without the loss of quality seen with Raster format. Whenever possible, use one of these file types for your design.

Raster Image file typres

Raster format image files contain a grid of individual dots called pixels with each assigned a colour. Images in files of this type have their pixels stretched and can become blurry which make the digitising task more difficult.

Contact us at Thinksew if you need help with image file types. When you are ready email the artwork to us at Thinksew and we will be in touch with the next steps...


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5. Digitising The Design

Now it's over to us..

Digitising is a set up charge that is only payable once, so any future orders for embroidered clothing with the same design or logo on will not need to incur this charge.

Having received your artwork we will then digitise it and transfer it into the format that can be read by our embroidery machines. This is a complicated process and takes an experienced digitiser to adapt and take an image and produce it in a stitched format. Consideration is given to stitch start and finish points, stitch direction, underlay, stitch types, stitch direction, push & pul compensations, thread tensions amongst many other variables. The end digitised result will then be the best structured method for the machine to successfully embroiderer your design onto the fabric of the garment.

The pattern will be sewn out to produce a 'swatch' sample and the pattern tweaked by the embroiderer to ensure the best quality. This process will then be repeated until perfect. The swatch is an actual embroidered design of your artwork onto a piece of fabric similar to the one which will be used in the garments you have selected.

The Design & Proof step is more of an art than a science as the embroiderer has potentially thousands of parameters that can be tuned to provide the very best results.

It is worth pointing out at this stage that there are costs involved in both digitising artwork and producing a swatch sample. We therefore charge for this service which will be included in your fully itemised quote.