“I just want my logo embroidered on this jacket. How much will it be?” My answer to that is, “It depends.” Usually I hear a disheartened sigh on the other end of the line. Unlike ink imprinting, embroidery costs can be all over the map and it all depends on the stitch count and complexity of your design. In some cases, the embroidery decoration can cost more than the actual garment itself!
What is stitch count? It is the number stitches that an embroidery machine has to make to apply your logo design to a garment. I have found that most simple design logos fall within the 5,000 to 7,000 total stitch range for application on the left chest (typical location) on an embroidered shirt or jacket; about the same for hats. Your stitch count and cost could be higher or lower, depending on these factors:
- Size. Bigger Logos = More Stitches = Greater Cost. That’s logical for most people to grasp.
- Density. It’s not just the size of your logo, it’s the amount of stitches it takes to render the design. For example, let’s say that the area your logo artwork covers is 3 inches by 3 inches, or 9 square inches. If your design is a lot of thin lines and some text over that area, it will be minimal coverage and less stitches. But if every square inch of that 9 square inches is covered with stitches, it will be very expensive because it takes more thread and more machine time.
- Complexity. If you’ve got a tricky, intricate design, a decorator may assess additional handling fees.
- Number of Colors. Check with your promotional products distributor for limit of thread colors you can use for your design. The size of the embroidery machine being used dictates that number. Typically, machines for logo apparel can have 1 to 6 or more heads. Again, it varies widely depending on the machine being used. In general, I recommend keeping the number of colors to 4 or 6 maximum. You may need to have your graphic designer adjust your logo to accommodate the limited colors. And make sure there is NO SHADING or GRADIENTS in the final design. Each shade or level of gradient adds 1 color thread to your design.
- Digitizing. Even before your corporate apparel order gets started, your logo design must be digitized and fed into the embroidery machine. This is where the actual stitch count is calculated. Clean, vector artwork is required for best results. Click here to learn more about vector artwork.
MONEY & TIME SAVING TIP: Use the same promotional products distributor or embroiderer for all your corporate apparel and digitize your logo for a size that will work in a variety of applications. That way you save on digitizing fees for future projects (although an edit fee may be needed for some applications) and your logo is always ready to go. Maximum size of 3″ x 3″ is usually good for the left chest on embroidered polo shirts and jackets, as well as accessories such as hats, golf towels and bags. Check with your distributor for suggested artwork size.
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