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Zazzle Embroidery Design Guide
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Table of Contents Introduction
Creating Embroidery Products
Your Design File
Uploading DST and Changing Colors
Designing for Embroidery
Lines and Outlines
Line Art and Realistic Art
Shadow and Drop Shadows
Apparel Design Areas
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 200 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.
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.
Zazzle Embroidery Design Guide, Version 1.02 Page 5 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.
3. The new JPEG, ready for conversion to embroidery. The image is clarified and the background is cropped to the image.
DST Format Files If you have a DST format embroidery file, you should take a moment to choose the thread colors you want to use in the design. DST format files are available on the Web and from some digital embroidery conversion services. Unlike OFM format embroidery files, the DST format does not include color information. Often, but not always, DST files are accompanied by text files containing color suggestions, usually in a sew sequence. The color suggestions are not likely to be specified in the colors of Isacord thread used in Zazzle Embroidery. When you upload a DST file to your gallery it is assigned default colors.
Changing Embroidery Design Colors You can change the colors in your embroidery design using the Zazzle Embroidery Design Tool or in My Images. The Change colors feature lets you pick colors from the actual thread colors used to sew your embroidery. You can save multiple different colored versions of your converted embroidery design. Pick the colors of your embroidery design by selecting Change colors when you upload a design to the Design Tool or within My Images by clicking on any OFM format embroidery file.
4. The Change colors color picker.
5. Exceeding the maximum number of colors.
You can use up to 8 colors in your design (in addition to black and white). If you pick a ninth color, you are prompted to replace it with one of the colors already in use.
When you have finished choosing colors, you can save a copy of your design with your new colors. The version with the previously selected colors is still saved in My Images. By default both designs have the same name, but different internal Zazzle IDs, so the Design Tool can tell them apart.
Zazzle Embroidery Design Guide, Version 1.02 Page 8 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 or DST format files If you have designs which have already been converted to one of the digital embroidery formats Zazzle supports, OFM or DST, 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 1.02 Page 9
6. The same design, converted to embroidery and sewn on a hoody, close up.
Zazzle Embroidery Design Guide, Version 1.02 Page 10 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.
Color Limits Because embroidery is sewn on a real sewing machine using real thread spools, there is a limit to the number of colors you can use in a single design. The Zazzle digital embroidery machines can hold 16 thread colors at one time. These unique thread colors are divided between your design’s graphic and text. A single embroidery design can use eight unique colors plus two more, black and white, for a total of 10 colors in a graphic and up to six additional unique colors for text in the same design. If you try to upload an OFM embroidery file containing more than 10 colors, the upload will fail.
There is no limit on the number of times you use each color in your design. You can use different sets of colors for designs in separate design areas on the same product.
Zazzle Embroidery Design Guide, Version 1.02 Page 12 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.