Embroidery Design Guide
A guide covering best practices, requirements, and specifications for creating the perfect bespoke embroidery for hats.
Embroidery brings your design or logo to life
Custom embroidered hats have a look and a feel that cannot be matched by direct-to-garment or screen printing techniques—embroidery makes your designs “pop”, and shows the world that you care about quality. Here are just a few reasons to choose an embroidered product:
Craftsmanship you can touch
A better product for prices that are on par with other techniques
Embroidered designs will never fade or peel
Printify’s embroidery techniques
Flat embroidery is a technique where stitches are embroidered flat on the hat. It is great for simple, bold designs.
Flat embroidery specifications
- Minimum thickness for shapes: 0.05” (1.3 mm)
- Maximum thickness for shapes: 0.5” (12.5 mm)
- Lowercase letter height from: 0.25” (6.4 mm)
- Uppercase letter height from: 0.3” (7.6 mm)
Note: for any text smaller than 0.18” (4.57 mm) size will be increased or the text will be omitted from the graphic altogether during digitalisation phase.
Must follow guidelines
1. Simplify the design
The best designs catch your eye right away, and stick in your mind long after they are out of view. To create a design that jumps out and grabs people’s attention, think BIG—big clear fonts, simple elements, and clean, sharp lines. The more straightforward your design, the better it’ll look when stitched.
How to simplify your embroidery design
- Avoid small details—the minimum thickness for shapes is 0.05” (1.3 mm).
- Use big letters—lowercase letter height starts from 0.25” (6.4 mm), and uppercase letter height starts from 0.3” (7.6 mm).
- Avoid gradients—instead, use our 16 thread colors with clear lines between the different elements.
- Avoid small areas of negative space—keep an eye out for small gaps in the design, and fill them in with a background color instead. Any small areas that remain will be automatically filled in as part of the digitization process.
- Use our 16 thread colors—any colors outside of the palette will be altered to the closest fit. See below for more information.
- Don’t use photographs—these won’t work well with the digitization process.
- Avoid backgrounds—backgrounds will be removed as part of the digitization process unless specifically requested.
2. Use solid shapes and colors (avoid gradients, photos, blend effects, etc.)
Remember that the clearest designs are usually the simplest. A design with a few strong, basic elements can be much more powerful than one with a thousand small details, color gradients and other effects. Photographs, in particular, can become unclear once they are converted to embroidery. Use the 16 available thread colors to be sure that the final design stays true to your colors.
Converted for Embroidery
3. Choose from a range of vibrant thread colors
We offer 16 rich thread colors to choose from while creating your design. See the chart below for a full list of our available colors, with the RGB values and HEX code for each one.
4. Use high-resolution images
A high-quality end product is best achieved with a high-quality starting image.
Printify hats feature an embroidery area of 4 x 2.4 inches. At 300 dpi, this comes out to 1200×720 pixels. To be sure that the final embroidered product is true to your original vision, please upload a PNG (with transparent background) or JPEG file with a resolution of at least 1200×720 pixels.
5. Check the design placement and cropping
The front, center area of the hat is the ideal place for embroidered design placement—when you upload your design, this is where image will be placed.
It is important to keep in mind that transparent areas around the outside of the image are automatically cropped during digitization process, and the image expands to cover all the available space (see the first set of examples below). This is a necessary part of the digitization process that happens after an order is placed, so the mockups you create through the Printify product generator will not reflect that cropping.
Rest assured that the design itself will never be affected by this: all design will keep their original aspect ratio (see the second set of examples below).
Use the full available space in your uploaded file to ensure that any design elements in the corners are placed exactly where you want them.
Images with a ring of transparency around the outside of the image will be cropped and expanded, resulting in a potential mismatch between the final product and your original vision.
Each aspect of the design is merged and delivered as one file.
The product generator will not accept designs that contain two elements in two separate files.
6. Placing the order and reviewing the digitization process
Congratulations on your new design! Once you have a design you are happy with, it is time to place an order.
The digitization process starts when an order is placed. The process takes up to 48 hours.
- The digitization process takes place during production, and is done by Printify’s fulfillment partners. So you don’t have to do anything. Our production partners will do everything they can to prepare your design and make it work for embroidery.
- It’s free of charge until Thanksgiving (November 22), so take this opportunity to set up your store now!
Digitization involves converting your artwork into a stitch file that an embroidery machine can sew on a garment, and needs to take place before any design can be embroidered. Digitizing is a complex process that often involves manual work from an artist who optimizes the design to fit embroidery specifications and best practices.
The process takes up to 48 hours. For most designs, during digitization small manual changes can be made so that the embroidery process goes smoothly. For example, if the wrong colors have been used we can alter the design to find the best match from the colors available in our palette.
Some designs are impossible to digitize, such as photos with lots of small details (see the guidelines, above, for more details). If your design includes photographs or otherwise does not fit our guidelines, we’ll have to send it back for more tweaking.
To ensure that you are happy with the results of the digitization process, it is always advised that you order a sample for review before placing the full product order.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact our customer support team.
Do’s & Dont’s
We suggest using a simplified design with no more than a 2 color gradients (which will come out as solid colors rather than a true gradient).
Do not use designs with lots of small details.
Stick to fonts that are larger than 0.18” (4.57 mm) in height, and use a solid font (no distressed fonts if smaller than 1”).
Distressed fonts may be simplified. Avoid drop shadows or outlines.
Remember that simpler is better (simple and solid designs will look better than complex ones).
Do not use colors that are not in the palette provided above. Colors will be adapted to the closest match, and this could impact your final design.
Use our Ai or Psd templates (but don’t forget to use PNG or JPG when you upload).
Avoid designs that are overly intricate. If a design contains too many small details, it will not be possible to process them.
Follow all guidelines
Do not submit your design until you are sure it adheres to all of our embroidery guidelines.
Order a sample (embroidery is not printing, it’s a much more complex process; it’s always a good idea to have a physical test product before placing your full order).
Do not place your full order without double-checking that you are happy with the final product first.
Remove backgrounds, or incorporate background colors into the design itself (for example, by surrounding the logo with a circle or rectangle that uses a color chosen from the palette).
Do not leave small areas of negative space within the design (these will be filled in as part of the digitization process).
Ai & Psd templates
You can use our Photoshop and Illustrator templates. If you don’t have Adobe software, you can open these using open source tools such as Gimp.
The templates are prepared in the right size and resolution and contain all the embroidery thread color samples, so you can pick the appropriate colors easily while you create your design.
When you are done, export the artwork as PNG or JPEG for uploading to the product generator.
Start Designing Today
Quick quality checklist
Fill out this checklist to make sure your design fits all the criteria for embroidery. Once you’ve checked all criteria here, you’re good to go!