4imprint, LLC

| Updated: February 15, 2023

How to Create Remarkable Custom Embroidered Apparel

  • Tip #1: Use bold, simple graphics
  • Tip #2: Select fonts that make your embroidered apparel pop
  • Tip #3: Choose your thread colors
  • Tip #4: Select your custom embroidered apparel design size


Picture your team wearing company logo embroidered shirts and hats at a tradeshow. Imagine your new hires receiving branded backpacks welcoming them to your team. Creating custom embroidered apparel can lead to a polished, professional and attention-getting look. Here are a few tips to make your logo pop.


Tip #1: Use bold, simple graphics

For the overall best-looking embroidered apparel products, your logo design should use bold graphics and lettering. Gradient graphics, drop shadows and metallic highlights can be challenging.

As a general rule, keep your image and text clean and relatively simple so it’s easy to read and understand. You want people to know exactly what the image is when they glance at the embroidered logo.

High Sierra® Swerve Laptop Backpack


For example, look at this High Sierra® Swerve Laptop Backpack. The embroidered logo is easy to read and understand because of the strong, bold text.


Tip #2: Select fonts that make your embroidered apparel pop

When it comes to embroidery, fonts matter. Choosing the right font for personalized embroidery can make your logo easier to read.

Wave Cap


The best logos for embroidered promotional products like the Wave Cap use a big and bold font. Bold fonts are easiest to work with, but if the type size is large enough, you can use just about any font. This may mean the font for your embroidered logo is slightly different from your standard brand font in size or style.

For best results, embroidery text should be bold, block letters at least 1/4″ tall. If you use a script or thin font, make sure letters are at least 3/8″ tall. If you need an embroidered logo or text in outlined fonts or with drop shadows, make sure they’re at least 1/2″ tall.


Tip #3: Choose your thread colors

Most designs on custom embroidered apparel have three colors or less, but if you have a highly detailed embroidered logo or other vibrant design, you can go with as many as 15 colors.

While considering the number of colors in your logo, also look at how embroidery appears on different materials. Experienced digitizers take into account the characteristics of the thread being used and the material being decorated. For example, white and light-colored thread is more transparent than darker colors, so some of the color of the material behind it passes through. This can change the look of the thread, making it seem like a different color. Digitizers will compensate for this, using a slightly different thread color or stitch value to make a light-colored logo look spectacular on a dark-colored fabric.

Wrinkle Resistant Stretch Poplin Shirt – White 

Wrinkle Resistant Stretch Poplin Shirt – Maroon


For example, an experienced digitizer might use one set of colors or stitch values on a white Silk Touch Performance Sport Polo and a slightly different set of colors or stitch values on the same shirt in maroon. Yet, the finished products will look virtually identical.

Digitizers can also make color-changing gradients in designs pop. If the original artwork has a red-to-yellow blend, the actual threads used may include red, orange and yellow to achieve the desired look.


Tip #4: Select your custom embroidered apparel design size

Most designs are embroidered within a four-inch area, though the final embroidered apparel product may have embroidery areas of varying sizes.

Polar Fleece Gloves


Thermal Stretch Soft Shell Jacket – Ladies’


For example, the back of a Polar Fleece Glove has a 1-inch embroidery area, while the Thermal Stretch Soft Shell Jacket has a full back imprint area.


Choosing custom embroidered apparel

Custom embroidered apparel is durable: It retains its color and easily stands up to repeated washings. It also adds the professional touch of a high-quality, textured design element. That’s what makes it a good value for organizations looking for employee uniforms, tradeshow apparel or business gifts. By giving a little extra thought to embroidery fonts, colors and sizes, you can be sure your embroidered apparel products are exactly what you envisioned.