What file formats are best for embroidery?
While vector-based artwork is best for screen printing, embroidery isn't so strict. The reason for this is because any artwork file provided for embroidery has to go through an additional process called digitizing. This conversion process takes the artwork from a format for the computer and turns it into a file that the embroidery machine can read and then use as instruction for the stitching. Digitizing can be accomplished just as well with a clear raster file such as a JPEG as it can with vector-based artwork.
However this does not mean that all JPEG's or bitmap files are good for embroidery. If the image is too small or too blurry, then the digitizing will more than likely be off. If the digitizing is off, then the embroidery will not come out very well. Although digitizing is done on a computer, it is very much a manual process with a human being deciding where the stitching should go and in what order. Thus it is a person who is actually preparing the digitizing file and as such it is vulnerable to human errors.
Unfortunately sometimes it is best to take raster artwork and add in the step of converting it to vector artwork before digitizing the file for embroidery. Sometimes it is just what we have to do to ensure the highest quality stitching. Once the file is digitized, it is ready to be embroidered on your custom products.
The take home message from all of this is that while vector artwork isn’t necessarily required for embroidery it is still usually a good choice. If you do not have any vector-based artwork that is not a problem, but in that case please send the best quality image that you can for your embroidery order. A sharp, clear image of the artwork can make a world of difference in the final product.
Also, as you can imagine based on the above information, the digitizing process itself is often a very time consuming thing. For that reason it is best to place your order as far in advance of when you need it to ensure that there will be plenty of time. We do have rush options available though if you need something more quickly.
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