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Blog / Beginner's handbook / How to Design a Logo for Embroidery: 7 Essential Things to Note

Beginner's handbook

How to Design a Logo for Embroidery: 7 Essential Things to Note

How to Design a Logo for Embroidery: 7 Essential Things to Note
Ilze Elizabete Strazda

By Ilze Elizabete Strazda

10 min read

Do you want to sell branded merch? Or maybe you’re just looking to create t-shirts for a company event? Either way, if you plan to stick a logo on apparel, custom embroidery will be your best friend.

But where do you even start? Don’t worry. In this article, we’ll talk about how to make custom embroidery designs. I’ll cover everything you need to know when working on a logo for embroidery—from logo size to thread colors and fonts. Let’s get into it!

How to design a logo for embroidery

One of the easiest ways to get your logo embroidered is to work with a print-on-demand provider like Printful. The embroidery process is more complex than usual printing, so when you work with a supplier, you won’t need to learn how to work an embroidery machine or digitizing software—we’ll do it for you.

a person wearing white socks with flowers in them

Source: Printful

To get high-quality embroidery designs, you’ll need to make sure your design file meets all the necessary requirements. Here are 7 key points to remember when preparing your logo design for embroidery.

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Logo size

The embroidery print areas for most Printful products aren’t very large, so your logo will have to look great even in a smaller format. The size of your embroidery area will depend on what product you’ve chosen and where on the product you want your logo to be.

a line drawing of different hats

Source: Printful

Some products, like the Cuffed Beanie, only have one available design placement. But other products, like caps or t-shirts, will offer more options. For example, the Unisex Staple T-Shirt has five available design placements for embroidery—left chest, center chest, large center, as well as left and right sleeve top. If you’re looking for products with a large print area, check out our large embroidery collection.

To ensure the final size of your embroidered logo is correct, follow the file guidelines carefully. To download the guidelines, go to the product page and click File guidelines in the right side corner.

a screen shot of a product

Source: Printful

You’ll be taken to the guidelines tab, where you can download info about your chosen placement. In the guidelines, you’ll find information about sizing, fonts, colors, and more.

a white rectangular box with black text

Source: Printful

Logo file requirements

When you’re working on a logo for embroidery, it’s important to make sure your print file meets all the necessary criteria. So, let’s review the most important logo file requirements—embroidery file format, print file resolution, and logo digitization.

Embroidery file format

Generally, for direct-to-garment (DTG) printing or sublimation, Printful accepts designs in JPG or PNG format. However, it’s better to stick to PNG or PDF file formats, when it comes to embroidery files.

While we accept embroidery designs in a JPG format, a PNG file is your best option. If you use the JPG format, your logo might not come out quite as you expect it. Images with this format will always have a background, which can make the design look awkward. Plus, the JPG format unnecessarily increases the stitch count.

Embroidery file resolution

Making sure your print file meets the resolution requirements is essential if you want the design to come out looking crisp. Resolution is measured in DPI or dots-per-inch. A higher DPI means you’ll have more detailed results, whereas a low DPI will mean a lower-quality outcome.

For embroidery products, your DPI should be exactly 300. We recommend not going above 300, as it won’t improve the print outcome but just increase the file size.

Logo digitization

Your logo will need to be digitized before it can be embroidered. This means we’ll use embroidery digitizing software to convert your design into a file our embroidery machines support.

The good news is that you won’t have to learn how to work embroidery software to digitize your files—Printful will do it for you. We do this on our end because it’s important that the file is compatible with the embroidery machines we use.

Here’s the difference between a non-digitized and a digitized logo. Once the design’s gone through digitizing software, you can see the stitch direction the embroidery machine will follow. The same design can have a different outcome if digitized several times—each time, the stitch direction will differ.

a close up of a logo

Source: Printful

There’s a one-time fee for each new digitized logo you embroider. Learn more about logo digitization fees.

Read also: 11 Things You Didn’t Know Printful’s Design Maker Could Do

Logo colors

Another important aspect you must consider is the colors you’ll use for your logo. Printful offers two types of embroidery for colors—standard and unlimited color embroidery.

Standard embroidery colors

For standard embroidery, Printful, like most embroidered apparel providers, offers a range of 15 thread colors you can use for your designs. When working on a design, you can choose up to 6 colors for each placement.

It might seem a little frustrating, but there’s a good reason for the limited number of thread colors. A single embroidery machine can only house a limited number of threads, each with a fixed color.

a close up of a chart

Source: Printful

This also means you can’t do color gradients with embroidery, just solid colors. As long as your logo doesn’t contain design elements that require gradients, and you can work with these colors, standard embroidery will work just fine for you.

Unlimited color embroidery

If your design’s a little more complex when it comes to colors, you can go with our unlimited color embroidery technique. This is an innovative customization technique, where the embroidery machine uses a single white thread, which is colored during the embroidery process.

a colorful circle with white text on it

Source: Printful

Printful is one of the first printing providers to offer this machine embroidery, so if your logo design requires gradients or a wider range of thread colors, you’ve come to the right place.

While there are some extra fees for this technique, it’ll give you more freedom when choosing your logo design colors. I’ll talk more about unlimited color embroidery in the Gradients section.

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Level of detail

One major difference between other printing techniques and embroidery is the level of detail. If your logo is intricate with a lot of small design elements, embroidery machines won’t be able to achieve the same level of detail as DTG or sublimation printers.

When you’re working on your embroidered logo, try to keep the design simple and avoid tiny details. Let’s look at some of the most common mistakes people make in their embroidery designs.

Small details

If your logo design contains small letters, there’s a chance they’ll come out unreadable. Similarly, if the lines in your design are too thin, our embroidery machines will use a single line of stitch, which can make the end result look messy.

a close up of a logo

Source: Printful

If you want to make sure your design is embroidery-friendly, check that the line thickness and letter height are in line with our recommendations. Your text should be at least 0.25″ in height and at least 0.05″ in thickness. The minimum recommended thickness for lines is 0.05″.

Distressed graphics

If your design has a distressed or textured look, it might not translate well to embroidery. For these logos, our embroidery machines will use flat embroidery, and the thinnest parts will be embroidered using a running stitch.

This means that certain details of any textured element might be lost during the embroidery process, and most likely, the end result won’t achieve the textured look you want.

a red and black circle with a line in it

Source: Printful

Photographic images

It’s impossible to fully embroider images with machine embroidery. An embroidery machine won’t be able to replicate the intricacy of photographs, so you’ll have to significantly simplify the photo you want.

a lion with a lion face

Source: Printful

Types of stitches

Our embroidery machines offer 5 different stitch types. These are flat embroidery, tatami fill, satin stitch, and run stitch. Let’s go over each of these, so you know what they mean and how each stitch type differs from others.

Flat embroidery

Flat embroidery is a basic embroidery technique that uses a number of decorative stitch types to create an embroidery design on a flat surface. It’ll look sleek on products with a thicker fabric and is especially well-suited for embroidered logos.

Tatami fill stitch

As the name suggests, fill stitches are used to fill large areas of the design. The Tatami fill stitch is made up of short, straight stitches that create a dense pattern, and it can be combined with other chosen stitch types, like satin stitches.

Satin stitches

The satin stitch is a decorative stitch type that gives an appearance of a smooth area on the fabric, without any gaps or uneven edges. In machine embroidery, satin stitches are most often used to outline an object or to create curved shapes, for example, flower petals. It’s often combined with fill stitches. Another similar type of stitch, the straight stitch is also often used for outlining more linear designs.

Run stitch

A run or running stitch is a very simple stitch type that consists of a series of straight stitches. This stitch type is used for small details and embellishments.

3D puff embroidery

While not technically a stitch type, 3D puff embroidery is an embroidery technique that adds a 3D effect to your designs by adding a foam underlay. The foam is cut to the shape of the design and adds an extra layer to the fabric. An embroidery machine stitches over the foam layer, creating a 3D effect.

This stitch works best on products with heavy fabric, like caps. Note that the process of creating a design with 3D Puff embroidery is a bit more complex, so the embroidery machine will take slightly longer to complete these designs.

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When thinking about fonts for your embroidered logo, the most important thing is to go bold and big. We don’t recommend choosing small, delicate fonts. The embroidery machine will use a run stitch for smaller letters, and this will look unreadable on the fabric.

The best fonts for embroidery are simple ones like Arial, Helvetica, and Myriad Pro. Also, keep your font size above 36 pt.

Valuable read: 25 Best Fonts for Embroidery Designs

a collage of a black shirt

Source: Printful


It’s impossible to do color gradients with standard embroidery. However, with our unlimited color embroidery, you can bring your embroidered logo to life with almost no color limitations.

a close up of a patch

Source: Printful

When working on a logo for embroidery with this technique, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid complex designs with many drastic color changes. The embroidery machine won’t be able to switch to a new color without a smooth transition.

  • Gradients won’t look good in small areas. The smallest color element should be at least 0.8″ wide to leave enough room for the transition.

  • Avoid using run stitch. Color transitions will be noticeable on run stitch, so make sure to avoid small details that would require this stitch.

Currently, unlimited color embroidery is available for a select range of products. Just like with standard embroidery, your logo designs will need to go through embroidery digitizing software. The fee for digitizing logos remains the same as for standard embroidery. Learn more about unlimited color embroidery fees.

Designing a logo with Printful Design Maker

Alright, we’ve gone through all the requirements. Now you’re a bona fide embroidery expert—you know what your embroidery file format should be, what colors to use for your logo, and what a Tatami fill stitch is. It’s time to actually design your logo and put it on a product. If you’re choosing Printful as your -on-demand partner, let’s go through the steps of adding your design with the Printful Design Maker.

Pick your product

First, you’ll need to pick your product. From your Printful Dashboard, go to Product catalog and choose a product you like. If you can’t decide on a product, you can check our blog about the best products for embroidery.

Once you’ve picked the product, click on the technique you want and then scroll down to Create product template. Click on that, and you’ll be taken to the Design Maker.

a screenshot of a phone

Source: Printful

Add your logo design

Once you’re in the Design Maker, you can pick the placement of where you want the logo to be. In the left corner, you’ll see a menu—choose the Uploads tab to upload your embroidery file. You’ll see a preview of the product, choose the thread colors, and make other adjustments.

Save the template

When you’re satisfied with the design, click on Save product template. You can view and edit all your templates from the Product templates tab on your Printful dashboard. If you plan to sell this product, add it to your store from the Product templates tab.

a screenshot of a phone

Source: Printful

If you need more help working with the Design Maker, check out our tutorial series on YouTube.

You’re all set to start working on your embroidered logos. If you have a hard time understanding some aspects of the embroidery process, don’t fret—we have a ton of resources for you.

Check out our ultimate guide to creating an embroidery file, and follow our YouTube channel for helpful tutorials on various embroidery features. Or, if you’re in need of a design direction, look at our embroidery design ideas.

Get creative, and good luck!

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By Ilze Elizabete Strazda on Jan 8, 2024

Ilze Elizabete Strazda

Guest author

Ilze Elizabete is a freelance writer with a background in law and international relations. In her free time, Ilze is an avid reader and painter.

Ilze Elizabete is a freelance writer with a background in law and international relations. In her free time, Ilze is an avid reader and painter.