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Zazzle Embroidery Design Guide

Version 1.0

Copyright (c) 2008, Zazzle.com

All rights reserved.

Zazzle® is a registered trademark of Zazzle.com. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the

property of their respective owners.

• No part of this manual may be modified, altered, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval

system, or translated into any language or computer language, in any form or by any means, electronic,

mechanical, magnetic, optical, chemical, manual, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Zazzle.com. You may make one copy of this manual for your internal business or personal use.










• Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by Zazzle.com.

Table of Contents Introduction

Creating Embroidery Products

Your Design File

Conversion Process

Embroidery Pricing

Thread Color

Designing for Embroidery


Photographic Illustrations

Lines and Outlines


Small Details

Line Art and Realistic Art

Shadow and Drop Shadows


Pattern Fills


Embroidery File Formats

Stitch Count Examples

I ntroduction Welcome to Zazzle embroidery. You can now express your ideas in real threads. Customers can order your embroidery-on-demand products just as they would order Zazzle print-on-demand products.

Just like print-on-demand, you can place your designs on products, offer them for sale in the Zazzle marketplace, and market your products the same way you do for print-on-demand products.

The product creation process for embroidered products is different from other Zazzle products in a number of ways. Unlike print-on-demand, not all existing products can take embroidery. Also unlike print-on-demand products, embroidery designs cannot be scaled up or down once converted to embroidery. But don’t despair- Zazzle has introduced new product lines selected for embroidery, including polo shirts, hoodies, and jackets, each with multiple design areas.

Embroidery products are always tied to a particular piece of apparel and a particular design area or areas on that apparel. You may use no more than one image per design area. Unlike print-on-demand products, most embroidery products must be converted to a special embroidery format so that your art can be created in thread. Embroidery format conversion requires a one time fee.

1. Embroidery products offer a choice of design areas.

Zazzle embroidery is real embroidery. Your design is actually sewn onto a product using colored threads.

To achieve this, your design is converted from a standard digital image format like JPEG, GIF, or PNG to a special file format designed for digital embroidery systems, which contains information on thread colors corresponding to real thread and instructions on sewing stitches and sequences. Because your design will be recreated in actual thread, some designs won’t work. Computer graphics and cameras can do all sorts of things you can’t do with a needle and thread. For example, you can’t sew a transparency or a subtle shade gradation. This guide discusses designing for embroidery and suggestions for what might and might not work.

Creating Embroidery Products Zazzle embroidery is stitched on industrial grade embroidery machines by skilled, experienced operators.

These machines read your design from a file containing your image, along with instructions for sewing stitches and colors. Create your embroidery design following the guidelines in this guide to ensure that it will be successful as embroidery. You upload your design in your gallery in one of three popular graphics

–  –  –

Your Design File You can upload your design files in any of three common computer graphic file formats, GIF, JPEG, and PNG, and we will take it from there.

Your images should have a minimum resolution of 150 dots per inch (DPI) and a maximum of 300 DPI.

Your embroidery won’t look any better if you send us an image larger than 300 DPI, since all images are converted at 150 DPI. Avoid scaling up low resolution images as they won’t look very good when converted, due to blur or jagged edges.

2. A JPEG original, as submitted. This design was returned because it would not fit in the design area and the floral designs at the top are drawn with lines too fine for embroidery. Tip: crop your background as close to your design as possible. An unnecessarily large background could cost you more because it requires more stitches and might result in unexpected design placement.

Zazzle Embroidery Design Guide, Version 1.0 Page 5 Conversion Process Embroidery conversion is not as simple as converting a computer image from one file format to another.

The process of conversion translates your pixels into a physical object, with all the substance, beauty, and also the physical limitations of thread. Zazzle’s trained embroidery professionals generate this specialized file, for which you pay the conversion fee.

Because the way embroidery thread is used to represent an image is fundamentally different from computer graphics in resolution and physical manifestation, some things you can do with your computer or your digital camera just can’t be recreated in thread. For this reason, every design uploaded to Zazzle.

com for embroidery will be reviewed by staff trained in embroidery conversion. Some images may be returned because they are too complex, too detailed, contain lines which may be to thin, or in some other way unsuitable for translation into embroidery thread. Returned images may be accompanied by suggestions for changes to make your image work better in embroidery. You will not be charged for returned designs.

–  –  –

Zazzle Embroidery Design Guide, Version 1.0 Page 7 Embroidery Pricing There are two fees you may encounter when creating embroidery products on Zazzle.com. The first is the one time conversion fee. The second is the stitch count fee, which contributes to the final prices of your product.

The overhead required to review images and translate them into embroidery makes necessary a conversion fee for most embroidery projects. This fee is a one time charge to you for the creation of your embroidery product. Your customers will be charged only the price of the item. There are two ways you

can avoid the conversion fee:

• Text-only products Products created entirely from the over 100 pre-converted fonts, including Greek language and monogram fonts.

• Existing OFM files If you have designs which have already been converted to the format used for embroidery, OFM, you can upload them and use them for your Zazzle products at no additional fee. We cannot accept other embroidery file formats at this time.

The second fee which may be added to an embroidery product is on a per-product basis, and is rolled into the price of your product. The base price of your embroidery products is set like your other Zazzle products, by the cost of the product you offer. However, the price of an embroidery product also includes the price of the stitching required to create your design. Unlike print-on-demand, embroidery requires a varying amount of materials (thread) to create. The amount of thread required is determined in part by the content of your design and in part by the dimensions of your design. A sparse design does not require as much thread as a densely colored design and a larger design is likely to use more thread.

Pricing is based on 1000 stitch count increments. The first design and any text you add are included in the price of the product, as long as the total stitch count is under 10,000 stitches. Additional design areas and complex designs over 10,000 stitches raise the base price of your product. For more information and

complete pricing information, see:

http://www.zazzle.com/custom/embroidery Because price is based on stitch count, larger designs are not necessarily more expensive. A 1” by 1” design could have the same number of stitches as another that is 3” by 3” and therefore cost the same to convert. The same design at different sizes will not be the same price because it will require more stitches at a larger size and fewer at a smaller size.

There are examples of converted files along with their stitch count at the back of this guide intended to help you determine how many stitches your designs might contain. Keep in mind that files with a lot of stitches not only cost more to convert and to sew, they weigh more. As a result, consider avoiding large, heavy designs on t-shirts and childrens’ apparel.

Zazzle Embroidery Design Guide, Version 1.0 Page 8

4. The same design, converted to embroidery and sewn on a hoody, close up.

Zazzle Embroidery Design Guide, Version 1.0 Page 9 Thread Color Your design will be created using real thread and embroidery thread is available in specific colors. The next figure contains a complete selection of thread colors available to you. These are the specific colors available for your embroidery design. If you create your design using colors available in thread, it can be sewn using the same colors.

Some design software will allow you to choose the color palette for your design. Use sRGB colors with minimal compression applied and use minimum compression settings. Usually you can type in the RGB values, as they appear in the chart. With this feature you can assemble a selection of colors from the thread color chart you can use to draw your design. A design created from a palette of available colors can be embroidered using the precise colors you chose. If you aren’t using software that allows you to specify colors or if don’t know what this is about, don’t worry. You are not required to use the colors in the thread color chart. When you use colors in your design which do not match thread color precisely, the closest colors available will be selected during conversion.

–  –  –

Zazzle Embroidery Design Guide, Version 1.0 Page 11 Designing for Embroidery The first section discussed the basics of embroidery product creation. Successful embroidery products are designed with the strengths of embroidery in mind. In this section you will find examples of designs that do or do not work well in embroidery.

Always keep in mind that what you are designing will be sewn in thread. Have you ever seen a photograph recreated in thread? Probably not and for good reason. It doesn’t work well. Fancy image processing filters also don’t translate well. Avoid using images composed with noise, blur, or softening filters. Images with clean, clearly viewable edges work best. Avoid using low resolution images as they will pixelate when scaled upward and won’t look good when embroidered. Also avoid soft edges on your designs as it’s difficult to stitch them out accurately.

Your final image should be submitted with a transparent background unless you want a color, pattern, or design embroidered as the background for your image. Keep in mind that a solid color background requires a lot of stitches and a transparent background requires no stitches. Your image borders should be cropped close to your image to avoid any confusion about the dimensions or background you want for your image.

Templates Yes, you can create template products using embroidery. However, you cannot create an image template object for an embroidery product. You can create only text template objects, using any of the many fonts already converted to embroidery.

Photographic Illustrations Photographic images don’t work as embroidered designs. The detail in photos is too fine to duplicate using threads. Unless the images are posterized into a limited number of colors, photos just won’t work.

Posterized images with jagged or complex edges are also poor candidates for conversion to embroidery.

5. Jagged edges and small areas of color detail make this posterized photographic image difficult to recreate in embroidery.

–  –  –

7. Just right: submitted design and embroidery close-up.

Line thickness should be at least 2pt (pixels) wide. Images reproduce best when lines are 4pts in thickness or greater. Try to make sure all lines are clearly visible and not blurred. Avoid thin outlines around objects where possible. If your design requires an outline, make sure it’s at least 2pts or greater. Avoid outlines around any text, and do not outline objects under.25” x 25”. It’s also best to avoid using one outline around another outline

–  –  –

Gradients Gradients don’t work well in embroidered images. Try reducing all gradients to solid colors.

Small Details Avoid areas of color smaller than.25” by.25” or multiple colors in small areas. Embroidered design cannot represent this level of detail well.

–  –  –

Line Art and Realistic Art For embroidery, always use line art. Complex or realistic illustrations, which usually have blended edges or complicated detail won’t look good in embroidery. This is because embroidery uses threads rather than the dots of ink used by printing. Threads represent solid colors and solid lines well.

11. Line art converts to embroidery well.

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