Artwork – was a serious hassleA few years ago artwork was a serious hassle for businesses decorating garments – businesses such as the Leavers Hoodies Company. Few people seemed to understand the requirements for a graphics file and even fewer had easy access to the appropriate files for their order. Today, most people have a much better understanding of the requirements, and nearly every school, college, university and business has a readily available library for the most used graphic files. There are still occasions when people don’t know what is required or are struggling to get hold of a usable image. It is for those people who are struggling that we write this article.
What is printed or embroidered onto hoodiesThere are generally 3 things which the majority of leavers hoodies have printed or embroidered on.
- One or more pieces of text.
- A logo, emblem or motif representing the organisation / institution.
- A picture, outline or symbol of some variety – often used to make the purpose of the garment apparent, at least to the wearers.
TextFirst, the easiest one to deal with. The text element(s) that are going to be printed or embroidered. Although the text is not a graphic in the true sense, it is part of the ‘artwork’ being added to the hoodies. The choices which the hoodies buyer will need to make include:
- Font size
- Colour of the type
- Placement of each piece of text
What are the standard areas of text printed or embroidered onto Hoodies?
- Front Chest – left, centre, right
- Back Chest – usually centred but nape of neck is also common
- Either shoulder / sleeve
Standard areas for text work because…The generally accepted standard placements work in several ways.
- They are generally viewed as ‘looking good’.
- The flexibility these positions provide allows for reasonably sized fonts to be used for regular-sized words or short phrases.
- The standard locations are more long-wearing than some of the ‘funnies’ which have been tried.
Standard Text Colours, Fonts and Font Sizes work because…By trial and error, over many years, the standard colours offered and font and font sizes have proven to be most popular and most effective. There is little point in getting something printed or embroidered onto a hoodie if it can’t be easily read. The standards we offer are:
- Text Colours:- we use are Black text on light coloured hoodies and White text on darker colours.
- Printed Fonts:- we use IMPACT font to print names as this is bold and stands out well. Other common fonts used include – VAG Rounded, Freshman, Cooper Black, American Type and Futura
- Embroidered Fonts:- we use Tahoma for embroidered names
Logo, emblem or motifSecond, we look at the artwork needed to allow print or embroidery of the organisation’s logo, emblem or motif. This used to be the biggest issue for many clients but has now become the easiest by far, in most cases. For most people, if you are working for a school, college or university and you are tasked with getting some hoodies decorated with the organisation’s logo just ask for the logo file. It should be that simple! It might take a couple of goes around the admin functions to find the person who knows where it is but someone has the necessary file(s). If you are getting desperate ask the people responsible for the website. It is highly likely they have a folder with all of the graphics they might need readily to hand. If you are the unfortunate person, now luckily quite rare, who is buying hoodies (or any other decorated promotional items) and the organisation doesn’t have the logo file to hand then you have only one option. Take the best version of anything with the logo on and take a high-quality image of it and send it through to the company you are buying your hoodies from and ask them if that will be sufficiently good to reproduce an embroidered logo from. The answer is, unfortunately, likely to be NO!
Image file quality
The image file necessary to produce a high quality logo or crest on a garment needs to be sufficiently detailed to allow the 5,000 – 15,000 stitches necessary to be planned and produced. To do this the digital image is digitised (converted) into a file which can be understood by the embroidery machines.
The higher the resolution of the image in the file the better. A resolution of 75 DPI (dots per inch) works fine for web pages. But, for converting to a embroidery file something of 300 DPI or higher is definitely better. The CMYK colour mode is generally used for garment printing.
The size and complexity of your logo will dictate the expected file size we would expect an input file to the digitisation process to be. A small, simple, two colour logo might need a 5MB input .PSD file to produce a high quality embroidered logo on your garments. While a complex 5 colour school crest would probably need 15,000 stitches to achieve a good result with an input file size of maybe 12MB.
We have a couple of examples below which we have the permission of the schools to use in this article to illustrate the point.
Preferred file types for high-quality logos / crests / emblems include:
- JPG format
- PNG format
- EPS format
- PDF format
- AI format
The resolution should be as high as possible with 300 DPI being the preferred minimum
Colour control should be using CMYK, #HEX or PANTONE
This is a fairly simple crest, single colour and not too much detail. The input file for this was a 4.8MB .psd file and the stitch count was 4,123.
This is a more complex, larger, multi-colour crest. The input file for this was a 8.8MB .psd file and the stitch count was 17,998.
Doing justice to your garments, crest / logo
Any size or quality of image file can be digitised and used to produce an embroidery but the result won’t do justice to the garments if the quality isn’t sufficiently high to start with.
Graphic designers understand this and, when your logo was produced, they will have created a high quality version of the image for use for this purpose as well as lower quality versions for use on such things as the school website or email signature files.
Picture / Graphic on the back of your hoodies
The image you want to get printed onto the back of your hoodies is the final design element.
The process to produce the finished print is different from the digitisation for embroidery. Depending on the type of printing which is to be used the actual method of getting the ink onto the garment varies. (See our hoodie decoration options page which discusses the different print options available & talks about embroidery too). The input to all of the printing processes is the same. An image file. The following shows the preferred input for the different garment printing processes.
Who does what with the files you provide?
Whatever type of artwork you want on your hoodie (or T-Shirt) the same thing happens when you send it through. It gets checked to ensure that it is good enough for the purpose intended. With decades of experience, the first check is always just a visual to identify if there are any immediate issues that might cause a production problem.
- Obviously poor quality images
- Colour issues that can’t be resolved on a garment
- Conflict of styles between the different elements provided
After the initial visual check, one of our team will open up the graphics files in the appropriate tool(s) and check that everything is as it needs to be.
Any problems with the artwork
If there are any problems identified then one of the specialists will get in touch with you and discuss the options. Ultimately, whether we proceed to the production stage if there are issues identified will be a joint decision – us and you. But, we will try very hard to ensure that the printing and embroidery we perform is capable of meeting our high standards. A poor School Crest on a Hoodie we have produced isn’t an advert we need. No one will know if it is caused by a low-quality image file or poor quality control.
Very occasionally when we receive poor quality graphics we will advise that the artwork needs to be redrawn in order to achieve the best result possible. We would not want to produce Hoodies with a poor quality image that we wouldn’t wear ourselves.
So you can be sure that we will let you know very quickly if there are any issues with the artwork you have provided to us.
It may be worth noting that the preferred file types and resolutions included above are only preferences. If you have your artwork saved to another format or at a lower resolution than recommended it is worth sending them through for review. We understand the world isn’t perfect, and the organisers of leavers hoodies are sometimes presented with less than ideal ‘materials’ to work with.
If you have serious concerns about the artwork / graphics elements of your upcoming leavers hoodies order it is worth contacting the specialists who can advise possible solutions or work arounds.