Without a doubt, getting the design details from your customer is the single most important component in your order. First, you have to secure a usable art file that can be sent to us. You need ink or thread color information, design size and design placement specifics so we can produce your order to your customers satisfaction.
Here are the most important Design Details that you need to address with your customer before sending us the final art file.
Electronic File Format
Hours could be spent trying to explain all the differences between the various file formats – .eps, .ai, .jpg, .psd, .pdf, etc. A good rule of thumb is to try to send us a copy of the “original” file. In other words, send us the file from the program that was used to “create” the design. Typically, this will be an Adobe Illustrator file (for vector-based designs) or an Adobe Photoshop file (for raster-based designs).
Adobe Illustrator can save an original file in several file formats. Each format is editable so the choice is yours. An .eps file is the most commonly used format. Also acceptable are .ai and .pdf files. For consistency, we prefer .eps files. Be sure to convert fonts to Outlines.
CorelDraw can also save an original file in several file formats. An .eps file is the most commonly used format. Also acceptable are .cdr files. Be sure to convert fonts to Curves.
Adobe Photoshop is also a program that can save in many file formats. To make things simple, simply save in the native .psd file format.
File Naming Conventions
When sending us files, please use a common naming convention whenever possible so we can associate your design with your Purchase Order. The simplest convention is to include the PO Number at the beginning of the filename. For example:
12345 XYZ Industries Left Chest.eps
Following this type of file naming convention will insure we can locate and associate all files with their appropriate orders.
Adobe Creative Cloud Compatibility
Adobe Systems is constantly “improving” their software in an effort to get all of us to want and “need” to upgrade to the latest and greatest version. The reality is, for most of what we do, the older versions of their software are more than sufficient. So, while we do try to keep fairly current with the latest offerings from Adobe, we almost never upgrade to the current version of any software as soon as it is released.
We are currently using Adobe Creative Cloud. We also have older versions of Adobe software. Most any file sent can be used. If we have any issues we will inform you immediately.
Fonts Converted to Outlines
This is a critical step when working with digital artwork. The fonts on your computer aren’t necessarily identical to the fonts on our computers. All fonts must be converted to outlines before sending us the file. Be aware, this process turns text into shapes, and therefore, the lettering in the converted file can no longer be edited. So be sure to save a copy of the original art file in case you need to make any changes to the lettering. Then, save a copy, convert the fonts to outlines, and send us the converted file.
Ink or Thread Colors
When you send us an art file that we are to use for screen printing or embroidery, we ask that you also specify the exact PMS colors you want for your order.
For screen printing orders, we will custom mix a color, normally at no charge, if we don’t already have it in our extensive inventory, so you never have to be concerned about matching a clients color request.
For embroidery, we use the Robison-Anton line of threads. Robison-Anton makes a superior line of threads with nearly 450 thread colors available, all referenced by PMS numbers.
Today, the options for having embroidery designs digitized are numerous. Years ago, each decorator required that the digitizing be done in-house so they could control the quality of the finished product. Today, with the advent of cheap, overseas digitizing, many distributors prefer to outsource their digitizing and simply send us a file. Just like ordering garments places the burden for dealing with supplier errors on you, the distributor, outsourcing digitizing places the burden of dealing with poor digitizing on you.
If we receive a poorly digitized file, we cannot fix it. You will be responsible for dealing with the issues, your order may be dealyed, and you might incur additional fees if the process takes excessive time to resolve. We’ve seen too many different problems to list them all, but most often we encounter designs that have far too many trims, which slows down the machine considerably, causes thread breaks and can cost you more in running charges.
Also, we’ve seen problems when a design orginally created for one type ,of garment – say, a left chest embroidery – is then used on 6-panel caps. Sometimes we can get by; often, we can’t. Designs that are intended for caps should be digitized specifically for caps to address the unique problems we encounter when stitching these items.
Finally, when you send us a design, we must first stitch it out to insure it is usable. If changes have to be made to the design and re-sent, we will spend additional time to stitch out the design again, which will incur a fee.
You may be as detailed as you’d like when specifying the location for your garment decoration. Or you can use generic terms like Left Chest, Full Chest, Full Back, etc. However you convey this information, please keep in mind the following:
- If you make a generic design location designation – such as Left Chest – our production staff will use their best judgement when determining the final imprint location. We have standards used in our art department that vary based on many factors, such as design size (both height and width), design appearance (is the visual center of the design in a place other than actual center) and other such criteria. So if you make a generic designation, we will use our many years of experience to determine the best location for your design.
- If you would prefer to make a specific designation for your design, bear in mind that we will make every attempt to follow your instructions to the letter. This can have some unintended consequences. For example, if you want to determine the location for a left chest imprint on a t-shirt, we suggest that you print out the design at actual size, lay it on a shirt and take some measurements. Then, convey those measurements to us in writing – “the left edge of the design should be 2″ from the centerline of the shirt and the top of the design should be 8″ down from the bottom of the collar.” Those are very specific instructions and we will folllow them. But what if you only used a size XL or XXL shirt when determining the location. You may not have considered that the design will be under the armpit on a size Small shirt. Since we try to follow instructions exactly as given, we can’t fix that problem for you. So be very careful when giving specific design location instructions.
- For design locations like Left Chest, Full Chest, Full Back, etc., it is best to allow us to make the determination. However, with locations like the Back Yoke on a t-shirt, where the location is non-standard, we suggest using the process described above – print out the design and give us a specific location. And just so you know, if we have concerns over your instructions, we’ll do our best tolet you know.
We ask that you specify the design size in actual dimensions – for example – 10″ wide x 11″ tall. This is much more accurate than “full front” or “as big as possible” or our personal favorite “whatever looks good.” What “looks good” to us might not “look good” to you. More importantly, what counts is what will make your customer happy. So, before sending us your art file, please be sure to get an actual dimension for your design.
Some folks tell us the dimensions are included in the art file. Using that information as your source is suspect. Please verify with your customer the actual dimensions. And if they aren’t sure and are looking for a recommendation, here’s what we will suggest – especially if you call us and ask our advice. We suggest you print out the design and enlarge it or reduce it in size until you find what “looks good” to you and to your customer. Then send us that information.