Saturday, December 26, 2009

Embroidered Polos: Get an Accurate Quote!

What information should you include when requesting a quote for your next embroidered polo shirts order?

1. Attach your logo - You're likely to receive a better price if you include a high resolution artwork file. Many people are reluctant to send a high quality file because they are afraid their artwork will be stolen but the chance that you contact a dishonest decorator who finds your artwork so unique and usable that they are willing to risk losing their entire business for your logo are pretty much nil especially when you consider that most decorators receive hundreds of artwork files each year. Instead of adding to your cost, email your highest resolution file.

2. Number of embroidery locations including names - Include the general size of each embroidery location. For example is it a left chest design, medium-sized center front or full back? You don't have to give exact dimensions unless that is important (for example, you are trying to match existing shirts) but give enough information so the embroiderer knows the approximate design size.

3. Style number - If you don't have a particular style picked out that's fine - just give a general description such as 100% cotton polo shirt in light blue for men and women. But, if you know the style number include it so the decorator can reference pricing easily.

4. Quantity - If you're not sure of the exact amount give a range such as 20- 25 or 50 - 300 shirts but remember, the more specific your quantity, the better the price will be. If you only need 1 - 10 shirts say so rather than requesting pricing for much larger numbers.

5. Extended Sizes - If you need 2X, 5X or 3XLT say so. That will effect your pricing and the style chosen. Don't worry about including the exact number, just inquire about additional pricing.

6. Shipping destination(s)

7. Turnaround Time - Do you have a specific deadline? You may not consider your order to be a "rush job" but the decorator might (especially if shipping across the county is necessary) and that may effect the cost.

Don't forget to include other details such as the fact that need need PMS matching or any other information that may effect the pricing and you'll receive an accurate quote for your next custom embroidered polo shirts order.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Embroidery Questions: Logo Placement On Pocket Shirt

You're having button down shirts embroidered with your logo. The style you've chosen has a pocket on the left side. Should your logo be embroidered above the pocket or on the right side?

Most people choose the left chest location but depends somewhat on the orientation of the logo and the pocket placement. With a horizontally orientated logo and lower pocket (pocket placed lower on the shirt) the logo looks fine. Some people prefer right chest placement because they feel the logo balances with the pocket although the pocket and logo aren't necessarily across from each other.

If your logo is vertically orientated I suggest checking the pocket placement before embroidering. Depending on the location of the pocket on a particular style, your logo may work in that location.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Embroidery Questions Answered: Design Placement

Occasionally during the process of obtaining an order a customer will email a mock-up showing the correct placement for an embroidered design. That's useful for illustrating unusual placements such as the lower front of a polo but isn't necessary for standard locations such as left chest. Although some design programs include a shirt template that can be used to show design location, it serves as a general guide that doesn't account for the variances in different styles, sizes and whether the shirt is for a man or woman. To accommodate for these variables embroiderers use a hooping station that provides consistent placement for different sizes and styles.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Embroidery Questions: Choosing Stock Designs

Need to find a stock embroidered design? Its easy to locate many types of designs but how do you know if the design's size is suited for a left chest shirt location?

The optimum left chest embroidered design is 2.5" to 3.5" wide. It can be up to 4 inches if its narrow or has small detail. Stock designs range from less than one inch to full jacket back size. If the design is for the front of a polo or button down shirt its best choose something that is 2" to 4" wide/high. If text is to be added you'll need to leave room for it. Also keep in mind who will wear the shirts. If the design is for children or young adults a large design may be overwhelming.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Embroidery Questions Answered:

Can My Logo Be Embroidered On a Visor?

Most embroidered logos can’t fit on a visor because of the 1” height limitation. If your logo is more than one inch high then its best to embroider your business name and possibly a short tag line. The important thing to remember is to keep the text simple. If you want to use a fancy font then you may need more space so that will mean eliminating your tag line. 

What Are Women’s Plus Sizes?

Women’s Plus sized shirts are designed with more room in the bust area. This gives larger women additional room without adding unwanted length in the sleeves and torso.

Is It Possible to Find an Embroidered Polo That Won’t Shrink or Fade?

If you’re looking for a basic polo that won’t shrink or fade then a polo in a blend fabric is your best choice. If you prefer 100% cotton then you can choose a style that has been treated to resist fading and shrinkage but expect to pay more for this. 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Embroidered Polos: Can Women Wear a Men's Polo?

I am sometimes asked, "Can women wear men's shirts?  I've been told that I can order a men's polo and use the smaller sizes for the women.  Will this work?"

Sometimes men's shirts are ordered for women but most people order the ladies companion polo because most women prefer a shirt that is contoured for them with a shorter hemline and sleeves and feminine styled plackets.  If you aren't certain whether employees will be men or women you can order men's shirts for everyone but since many shirts have a ladies companion style, most women prefer to wear an embroidered  polo that's cut for them. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Embroidered Polo Shirts: Match an Existing Design

Your team wants to order custom embroidered polo shirts that match shirts owned by another team but you can't order from their embroiderer. How can you get embroidery that matches the existing design?

If you lend your embroiderer a sample shirt that will help you get the closest match to the original embroidered design. The artwork you provide will serve as a template for your embroidery set-up but it can't be used to identify some stitch types, give precise sizing of embroidered elements and show thread colors.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Embroidered Hats: Get the Right Design!

You've decided to order custom embroidered hats for a friend. You want to have an image of his boat embroidered on the hats. You don't have a picture but you know what it looks like. How do you proceed? Will using a clip art image work? How can you locate that?

You might find a usable image online but if you can't provide artwork your embroider might have something that will work. When you speak with your embroiderer, give them a basic visual description of the type of boat. One important thing to remember is that embroidered designs can run the gamut from detailed logos to less stitch-intensive, minimal representations. If cost is a factor, a simplified design will be less expensive. But, if your friend loves detail you'd better spring for an accurate image!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Screen Printing: Correct File Type?

One question I often receive is, "What type of file is suitable for screen printing"? The answer is, " A vector file, or a file with an ai, cdr or eps extension". What if that type isn't available? A high resolution bit map will work but a low quality image will need to be vectorized.

What is "vectorized? Vectorization is the process of converting a bitmap into sizable line art. Vector art consists of points and lines rather than the bits or "boxes" that form bitmap files. Vector art is clear, crisp art that prints cleanly. Why is a vector or high resolution file needed? High resolution files contain the information needed to produce a clean print. Without that the resulting print will be fuzzy.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Embroidery: Artwork with Gradient Colors?

Does all artwork translate well into embroidery or screen printing? Not necessarily. Variables such as the number of colors, size of detail, desired quantity and purpose factor into the decision of what decoration process will work best.

With the current popularity of Photoshop we receive a number of logos that don't adapt well to embroidery or screen printing. For example, we recently received a logo titled "Eclipse Landscaping". This design uses subtle color gradients to create the look of an eclipse. Although this logo has a cool, unique look it doesn't work well for embroidery or screen printing because of the gradients.

For embroidery, the colors would be simplified to a three to four color logo. This would embroider well but the logo would loose it uniqueness and it wouldn't support the business name quite as strongly. If you want printing then this logo wouldn't work for standard screen printing because the gradients would be printed as solid colors so the effect of the design would be lost. To preserve the look of the logo the design must be printed using either four color process (cost prohibitive for a small run), heat transfers or direct garment printing. Which process is best for you? Heat transfers have been available a while and should be effective if applied correctly. Direct garment printing is most like traditional screen printing without the screen set-up fees and works well on ligh-colored garments. How do you choose your process? Contact your decorator and after they've seen your logo they will explain what process will work best for you.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Embroidery: Finalize Your Order

Once you have a good idea of how your embroidered shirts will look its time to find an embroiderer. Look for someone who will answer your questions, has reasonable pricing and will provide quality work. If you need your shirts for an upcoming event, ask upfront if your deadline can be met.

After you've chosen an embroiderer, verify that they will supply you with an embroidery set-up proof before your shirts are embroidered. Although many embroiderers prefer to email the embroidery set-up, if you have any questions about the quality of the embroidery, readability of the design or the thread colors request an embroidered sample before your order is embroidered.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Embroidered Polos: Make Them Look Good!

Another important consideration is your required sizes and shirt color. If you need extended sizes that usually isn't a problem because many new styles are available up to 6X but if you need tall sizes that will eliminate most styles. As for color, if you want a basic color then you'll have many choices but if you need a particular shade of green for example, your choices are limited.

An often overlooked detail in the design process is choosing a shirt color that works well with your logo. Many people choose a shirt color that is the same color as a major element in their logo. If the logo element doesn't border the shirt then this can reinforce the impact of your logo but if the shirt is the same color as text or another element in your logo and that element isn't against a background then the text won't be readable.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Order Custom Embroidery

You've decided to purchase custom embroidered shirts. You've never bought shirts before so you're uncertain about ordering. How can you make sure your shirts look good?

Start by using a graphic designer to design your logo. Tell them you plan to have your logo embroidered so they will design a logo that works well for embroidery. After you've approved your new logo you're ready to choose a shirt.

Choosing the right shirt is largely based on who will wear the shirts and where the shirts will be worn. While most groups prefer a polo, button down shirts are also popular. In addition to picking a basic style, also consider different features such as moisture management, wrinkle and fade-free shirts.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Embroidery Questions Answered:

More questions and answers:

Q: Can T-shirts be embroidered?

A: T-shirts can be embroidered as long as the design isn't too stitch intensive. If your design has a large area of solid thread then it probably isn't suitable for embroidery.

Q: How much room is there on a visor for an embroidered design?

A: The embroidered area on a visor is limited to 4" wide by 1 1/4" high. Usually a business or event name works best for custom embroidered visors.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Embroidery Questions Answered:

The following are embroidery questions that we often receive:

Q: What is a sandwich bill hat?

A: A sandwich bill hat is a style that has a contrasting color on the edge of the brim. A popular use is to choose a hat with a sandwich brim color that is the same as a color in your logo. For example, if your business name is in white thread, if you pick a hat style with a white sandwich color then this will reinforce your business name and give you unique-looking custom embroidered hats.

Q: Can the embroidered logo I used for my polo shirts be used for hats?

A: Possibly. Generally speaking, designs for hats must be set-up differently then polo shirt designs although some shirt logos will sew well on hats. Also, hat designs have a 2" height restriction whereas logos designed for polo shirts may be "taller". In addition, due to the curved surface of hats, very small text won't embroider as well on hats.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Embroidered Polos: Add Your Web Address!

You need to order custom embroidered polo shirts. You'd like to add your web address because your site is fairly new and it could use more exposure. Locating the address on the front of the shirts would be great but there isn't enough room underneath your logo. What about embroidering it on the back of the polo?

A back design will work if its placed in the shoulder blade area. Unlike sweatshirts or jackets, polo shirt fabric doesn't have enough weight to support a large embroidered logo so you'll have to use a smaller design. It won't have the same effect as a full back logo but it will be readable when you are waiting in line during your daily travels. If the design is located four to five inches below the collar then the collar will help "frame" your embroidery so it doesn't look lost on the shirt. If that doesn't work for you, consider embroidering your web address on the back of hats.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Embroidery: Advertise Wherever You Go

Do you wear your embroidered logo wherever you go - the grocery store, the train, the bank? Any place where you'll be seen by a lot of people provides a great opportunity to spread the word about your business by wearing custom embroidered hats and jackets. As I write I'm standing in a grocery line (#70 is up and I'm #9) so I have plenty of time to see what everyone is wearing. Someone has a Harley Davidson jacket on and another man is advertising a local construction business. Me? -My cart is filled with reusable grocery bags embroidered with my logo. But what about everyone else? In this resort community where everyone either owns a business or knows someone who does why would anyone miss this chance to advertise? So you're off to Home Depot. Are you wearing your logo or will you miss an excellent opportunity to advertise your business?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Embroidery Set-Up - Correct Size?

You've ordered custom embroidered organic polo shirts. Your embroiderer emailed your embroidery set-up for your approval. You're looking at your set-up and wondering about the size. Why does your embroidery look so big? If you are viewing a file that doesn't include a size reference scale then you don't know the actual size of the embroidery. You need to ask for your logo's measurements. Once you have the dimensions, transfer these to a piece of paper and use that to judge the size. Keep in mind that embroidered logos should be readable from a three foot distance. If you're still not sure of the size, ask you embroiderer to send an embroidered sample. This may delay your order but you'll be confident that your logo is the correct size.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Embroidered Jackets: What Type?

Need to order custom embroidered jackets for your group? Don't know what style to pick? Here are some questions that will help you choose the best jacket:

1. Who? Who will wear the jackets; salesmen, truck drivers? Should your jackets be sharp-looking, fitted or heavy-duty?

2. Sizes? Do you need men's and ladies sizes? Extended or tall sizes?

3. Heaviness? How heavy should they be? Winter-weight (are we talking Maine or Virginia?) or would you prefer a light jacket or rain slicker?

4. Color? Need an unusual color? Most jackets are available in black and navy but if you need medium green, red or something less common speak up.

5. Special Features? Need extra pockets, 3-in-1 characteristics, a hood, contrasting trim? This will narrow your options but you may find the perfect match!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Custom Embroidered Hats: Design On The Brim?

You want your custom embroidered hats to have an embroidered design on the brim. Can that be done? Yes, if you meet minimum custom order requirements of at least 75 hats. Embroidery on the brim or visor must be embroidered before the hat is assembled. Some hat manufacturers will do this if you meet minimum requirements. Before placing your final order inquire about approving a sample hat before your order is run. You'll have to pay a sample fee of approximately $25.00 but the cost is worth it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Embroidered Hats: Get the Look You Want

You've placed an order for custom embroidered hats. You want to keep the cost down so you've decided to use just embroidered text rather than a full design. Your embroiderer can do that but you are limited to stock embroidery fonts unless you pay a set-up fee. That sounds fine but when you receive your embroidery set-up you're unhappy with the results. What should you do? Have your embroiderer do an artwork set-up using true type fonts. Using TT fonts will allow you a much wider range of font styles. You'll have to pay a small digitizing fee but you'll achieve the look you want.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Embroidery: Design Your Own Logo?

Just purchased Photoshop so you can create your own logo? Before being tempted to use cool-looking effects think about what elements make up a logo that is unique, memorable and appropriate for a business. The best logos have a simple design that is easily modified to work in a variety of mediums such as print, a web page or embroidered apparel. The largescale, detailed picture you created won't translate well into embroidery if you use complex gradients, shadows, small text and other fine details. Make sure your logo is designed at the correct scale, 3.5"-4", for most left chest embroidered logos. Print your logo and tape to a shirt. Can every element be easily read from a three foot distance? If any detail is borderline in print it will be unreadable when embroidered so it must be enlarged or eliminated. Remember, when it comes to logos, simple works best.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Embroidery Questions: Uneven Text?

You've ordered custom embroidered polo shirts. You've been emailed your embroidery set-up, a screen shot from the embroidery software. You view the file. Everything looks good except the text is very uneven! You've seen actual embroidered samples from this embroider and the text always looked fine. What's wrong?

Most likely the uneven text is due to a condition known as the"push and pull of embroidery". Depending on the shape of a element, some elements "push in" (shorten) while other elements "push out" (lengthen). For example, when a circle is digitized (translated into stitch format) it must be an egg shape to embroider as a circle. To compensate for this condition some letters must be created at a bigger size in the embroidery set-up so they will embroider at the correct size. If there's any question ask your embroider if they can email a scan of an actual sew-out of your logo.

Friday, January 23, 2009

PMS Embroidery Matching

How is PMS (Pantone Matching System) matching accomplished when you need exact color matching for custom embroidered polo shirts? If your logo was designed with PMS colors then your embroiderer can see if there are matching PMS thread colors. Although many PMS colors have matching embroidery thread, not all PMS colors have equilivant thread colors. If that is the case, your embroiderer will choose the next closest colors so you can pick the thread colors you prefer. In that situation your embroider should show you different samples that illustrate the various thread color possibilities so you can choose the closest match.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Embroidery Questions Answered

Question: Does the number of thread colors in an embroidered logo effect the cost?

Answer: Generally speaking, unless your logo has more than fifteen colors the cost won't be effected. An exception is when you have a large quantity (a hundred plus) items to be embroidered. Then you may be charged more for designs with multiple thread colors because each color change increases the running time for the embroidered design.

Question: How Can I Choose a Fitted Polo?

Answer: Choose a slim fit style for teens and young adults. These polo shirts have a trimmer cut and often contain some spandex in the fabric. For adults, pick a style that contains some spandex. Some women get a better fit by choosing a ladies plus size rather than ordering up a size or purchasing a man's shirt. Taller men may prefer a tall-sized polo that is designed with more length in the chest and sleeves.