Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ordering Embroidery: Fast. Fast. Fast!

Its 2010. We want everything fast, fast, FAST! Ordering products online has never been easier. But wait, what about customized items such as embroidered shirts and screen printed T's? Can we expect those products as quickly? It depends...

While production time is partially dependant on the current workload, staff and equipment in the shop the particular job requirements play a large role in determining how long it will take to finish a custom job. Unlike ordering blank clothes from an online vendor, customized items such as embroidered polo shirts and screen printed T's can't just be pulled, boxed and shipped. Questions such as determining the correct size, colors and decorating process come into play and delay the procedure. Yes, there are exceptions. Its fairly easy to "design" a customized item with software such as an online designer tool but these simplified systems are only capable of allowing users to construct basic images rather than create logo quality designs.

What are some of the additional steps involved when customizing something? Deciding the appropriate colors and size; proofing artwork and production time are some of the elements in the process. Can you "streamline" your order to facilitate production? Yes. These steps can be taken to decrease production time:

1. Finalize your artwork. That includes all text. If you don't have the capability to add your own text have an idea of the color, type of font, size and placement of the text. Many people will say "Just put the text below the image". But is that what you really want? Will that text stand out and help create a unique design?

2. Provide the highest resolution artwork you have. Some people hesitate to do this because they feel their artwork many be stolen but the chance of someone finding your artwork so unique that they would steal it is extremely unlikely. Instead, your poor grade artwork may cost you a higher set-up charge.

3. Finalize your colors ahead of time. This includes considering the background or color of the item being decorated. This is one of the most common mistakes. Customers associate the color of their business name with their business so they pick shirts that are the same or a very close to the color of the text in their logo. Instead of choosing the same color, choose a contrasting col0r that works with the colors in your logo.

4. Know how many designs will be included on the items. This includes text in all locations such as the back and sleeves.

5. Carefully proof your set-up. You should receive some type of proof before your items are customized. Take time to check spelling and ask questions if you are uncertain about an element such as the size.

Finally, leave extra time for possible set-up edits, production problems and shipping. Artwork changes and production mistakes can slow down the process so its good to have an extra day or two to handle these issues. Shipping across the county will add a week so leave additional time for that unless you want to pay for expedited shipping. The bottom line - purchasing custom logo clothing isn't the same as "off the rack" buying. If you want the best job that meets your expectations leave extra time when ordering custom embroidered or screen printed clothing.

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