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Here are questions other customers frequently ask us:

What is embroidery?

Embroidery is the technique of decorating apparel, fabric, or other materials with needle and thread. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as sequins, rhinestones, or yarn. It can be produced by a machine or in some cases by hand. In our usage it is always by a machine that is specifically made for the apparel promotional industry.

In our case we have multiple head embroidery machines that take designs from an attached computer and sew them on the product. The design begins with being converted from a typical computer format such as a jpeg and it is digitized into an embroidery format that the machine can read and reproduce.

Once the file is digitized, it is goes into the embroidery program on the computer attached to the embroidery machine. The products are set up and attached to the embroidered heads and the proper thread colors are put into the machine for the embroidery. The rest is magic.....not really but it is beyond the scope of detailed explanation because the computer send the instructions to the embroidery machine and the design is sewn on to the product.

Embroidery is considered a high quality print method that years ago was considered much more expensive than other print methods. This has changed in recent years because the process of digitizing has gotten much more cost effective and more in line with what it should cost for the work done. Embroidery is great on hats, polo's, and outerwear to name a few.

What is screen printing?

Screen printing is a very well known and highly regarded printing process. It is a technique that utilizes a woven mesh screen that is stretched around a wooden or metal frame. There is an ink-blocking stencil on the woven mesh that contains a pattern or design, and when the ink is applied to the screen, the stencil forms open areas that allow the ink to pass through the mesh and create a sharp-edged image.

Each ink color in each of the printing locations will receive its own screen and be run through the machinery and applied to the t-shirts separately.

That is why the number of ink colors and print locations is one of the main factors that impacts the pricing of a screen printing order, because the more ink colors and print locations being used the more set up, materials, and labor are involved. Due to the initial cost involved in these factors screen printing is most cost effective at higher order quantities and the price per shirt will vary a good bit depending on the quantity and the number of ink colors and locations being printed.

Screen printing is a very effective and high quality printing technique that allows any ink color to be printed on any color shirt. Not only can t-shirts be screen printed with a custom design, but a range of other products such as hoodies, sweatshirts, aprons, tote bags, and more are all good candidates for screen printing.

This technique of printing is very popular and it is the most common method of printing on a t-shirt. Screen printing is known for its durability, unique style, and texture. Many, if not most, of the graphic t-shirts available for sale in retail are printed using the screen printing method.

What is silk screening?

The actual term "silk screening" is synonymously used with today's version of screen printing. It is actually a term coined a long time ago because the screens were made of silk. The is no longer the case with the mesh in the screen being made of synthetic fibers that are much more abundant and cheaper.

As it is used in today's terms, silk screening is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil pattern of a design or text. The stenciled design forms open areas of mesh that allow the ink to come through as a sharp-edged image.

What file formats are best for embroidery?

While factor-based artwork is best for screen printing, embroidery isn't so strict. 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 turned it into a file that the embroidery machine can use for stitching. Digitizing can be accomplished just as good 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 good. 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.

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.

What is a set up fee?

Set up fees are a set of fees that are required to begin a task at hand. With custom printing and embroidery set up fees could include art work fees which are needed when creating or modifying a design, and could also include digitizing a design for embroidery. It's also not uncommon for companies to charge a separate fee for screens when it comes to screen printing, or in general separate shipping fees.

Set fees often make sense from the company's standpoint since these aspects of the order do of course cost them extra.

Of course the problem with set up fees from the customer's point of view is that it makes the final price of the order very difficult to predict and budget accordingly for. For example it's not uncommon to begin a t-shirt project by getting quotes from a t-shirt printing company and then budge ting for this cost. Then of course problems arise when it comes time to pay for the order and all of sudden, due to the set up fees, a customer might find that they are over-budget.

That is why here at Young Guns we view those extra costs as part of the cost of doing business and take every effort to give our customers all inclusive pricing. That way it is easier for customers to accurately budget for their t-shirt printing project and for them to get an accurate idea of how much they will be paying when all is said and done.

Just call us for a custom quote at 1-813-814-9173. If you already have your own custom design that you would like to use you can also upload that design to us from the home page for a price quote. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to understand how much you will be paying without all of the unnecessary fees and certainly no hidden ones.

What is a stitch count for embroidery?

When it comes to embroidery, especially embroidery pricing, you may have heard the phrase "stitch count," but not been completely sure what that was referring to in this context. An embroidery stitch count is used as one of the major determining factors for pricing of an embroidered design. The size and thickness of a design affect the stitch count. One solid square inch of embroidery equals approximately 2,000 stitches.

Since the stitch count typically increase drastically depending on the size of the design it is for this reason that the size of the design being embroidered plays such a large role in its price. However, it is that stitch count itself which matters and not all equally sized designs will have equal stitch counts.

The reason for this is that some designs incorporate more open area or more thinly sized lettering and graphics than others. The simplest way to think about this is to imagine two equally sized boxes. A hollow box that is just a border with the shirt coming through inside the box is going to have many fewer stitches than a completely filled in box with no open spaces. By the same token a hollow box with a thin border around it is going to be fewer stitches than a hollow box with a thick border.

The customization technique of embroidery is very established and its technology continues to advance. Embroidered designs look excellent on a range of products, especially professional and business style products like polos, button down shirts, etc. However, embroidery is also very commonly used for hats, backpacks and much more!

Embroidery uses a specialized computer/machine that controls the thread and needles to stitch a programmed design onto the apparel or accessories. This provides a very sharp, durable, and price looking design that will definitely impress!

What is an embroidery head?

An embroidery head is a portion of the embroidery machine that produces the embroidered design on an item. It consists of thread, needles, bobbin and various other parts, commercial embroidery machines are equipped with 1 to 18 heads, while industrial machines are equipped with 12 to 56 heads.

Embroidery is done using one of several different types of thread. Fibers such as rayon, polyester, cotton, silk and metallic are used to embroider items. Rayon is currently the most popular thread used in embroidery machines. Rayon is a high sheen thread and is commonly used as a lower cost alternative to silk.

Rayon is a very high quality thread with very little breaking or fraying. Polyester is the second leading thread used for embroidery. Polyester is a very strong and economical thread that won’t fade or shrink.

Embroidery machines today are almost always computer controlled and specifically designed for embroidery. This simply means that the embroidery machine holds the fabric under the sewing needle and automatically moves the needle to create the image from a pre-programmed digital pattern. The embroidery head of many industrial embroidery machines typically has multiple needles per head and are threaded prior to starting the design.

Embroidery heads create some very unique and beautiful designs on a given fabric. The computerized embroidery process has made embroidering items more cost effective and available in a more timely manner. The basic process of getting a design from the idea phase to the completed phase, begins with creating a digitized embroidery design file. Once the design has been digitized, the design can be edited or added to other designs. When the specific design is selected, the digitized file is loaded into the embroidery machine. Next, the fabric must be stabilized on the embroidery machine to prevent wrinkles and other problems. Finally, the embroidery process can begin. Once the embroidery begins, it should be monitored. The final embroidery can take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour, depending on the quality and size of the design.

The embroidery head is commonly threaded with thread that is weighted. A 40wt thread is the most common thread weight used. Bobbin thread is usually either 60wt or 90wt. Bobbin is a small spool of thread inside the rotary hook housing of a sewing machine. The bobbin thread creates the stitches on the underside of a garment. The quality of thread greatly reduces the amount of embroidery problems, including breakage of the thread during embroidery.

The heads on embroidery machines are capable of printing on a variety of items, all you need is the right size hoop or attachment. There are millions of designs that can be accomplished through the process of embroidery.

What is digitizing when it comes to embroidery?

When people hear the term "digitizing" in the context of embroidery they are often very confused about what that term actually means. When it comes to embroidery, digitizing refers to a computerized method of turning a design or logo into a digital file format which can then be used by the embroidery machine to replicate the design through the actual embroidery process. The digitizing itself is done through special software which creates plotting commands for the embroidery machine to interpret and use. A special digital embroidery language is used to transfer these commands to the machine, thus giving it those needed instructions.

The embroidery industry is now more advanced than ever, and with newer, faster, and smarter machines not only are more designs able to be reproduced, but the designs themselves will come out looking better and being even more durable than ever before. Digitizing cannot be done without the specialized software and training for its use. It can also be a very time consuming process and this is one of the many reasons why we are not able to offer same day turn around on embroidery orders. Many people unfamiliar with the design assume that we can instantly take the blank shirt or hat to the machine, turn it on, and crank out the design. Unfortunately this is not the reality and digitizing is a very important step which is impossible to skip.

Digitizing is also part of the expense involved in embroidery since it can be labor and time intensive. Generally the more complicated or detailed the design will be the more expensive and time consuming it is to have it digitized.

Digitizing in the context of embroidery should not be confused with digital t-shirt printing which refers to a printing method for t-shirts. These are completely different processes.

What is four color process screen printing?

Four color process printing is known as a color printing process that reproduces a full color image on to paper or fabric. It is called four color process because it uses a four color pallet commonly called "CMYK" which are cyan, magenta, yellow, and black to make its finished product.

In the world of custom printed shirts the more colors you have on your shirt the more it will cost to print. With that said a shirt that is just two colors will be cheaper than a shirt that is three colors. Four color process is most commonly used when there are too many spot colors to print on a shirt within a budget or when the image is a photograph or painting.

Photographs, drawings and paintings all have 100's of colors and would not be possible with t-shirt printing any other way than four color process printing or more recently digital printing.

The only drawback to this is that 4 color process yields slightly less reliable results than screen printing and can be more difficult to set up. Many screen printers will only do solid spot colors instead of four color process and some printers will only do four color process on a case by case basis depending on the design itself.

Here at Young Guns we caution the use of four color process as an option since we are not comfortable with possible unreliable results and don't want to do a design we can't guarantee the quality of. Often times though a design with many colors can be reduced or simplified to fewer spot colors instead which would then make it feasible for regular spot colors screen printing. So there may still be other options for your design depending on whether or not you're willing to have a modified version done instead and whether or not a modified version is possible. It is important to understand the difference between printing with four color process and printing spot colors and the different results that they yield.

What is ink matching?

Ink matching is a term used in the printing industry to refer to the process by which the color in a design is matched to the appropriate ink color. This is very important for the consistency and correctness of the design. Typically this process is achieved by referring to the Pantone Color Chart which is the industry standard for ink colors.

The need for ink matching may also come up if a customer is trying to match the ink color of a shirt or other printed item that they have previously had done or have recently acquired.

Ink matching can be very serious when it goes wrong and no one is immune to it. In past years even large companies have had to pull major ad campaigns due to receiving incorrect printed colors from poor ink matching.

Typically perspective buyers are able to find a printing company which will offer ink matching services for free. However, some companies do charge extra fees for this service so it is important to get that information up front. One good way to avoid such fees is of course to use a company which offers free ink matching services; however, another effective strategy is to select your own PMS (Pantone Matching System) ink color from the Pantone color chart. More importantly this can also prevent potential errors from occurring with ink matching since in effect you are doing it yourself and will know exactly what you are getting.

Here at You Design It it is our policy to always offer ink matching services for free. We are also happy and eager to accept PMS colors from customers who have done the research and selected the exact ink color that they want. Ink matching is very important but it definitely doesn't have to be a hassle.

What is more popular, the left or right chest print area of a shirt?

Hands down, the left chest print location is much more common than the right chest location. It would be my best guess to say that the left chest has become the standard because that is where pockets are sewn onto t-shirts and polo's. This makes even more sense when there is an actual pocket on the product and we embroider or screen print above the pocket.

It has been our experience that when most customers create a design and request the right chest area that they really mean the left chest area. The left chest area is defined by the same side that your left arm is on. So if you are looking at the t-shirt or polo it is on the right side.

This is probably the biggest reason for the confusion when communicating which chest area to print on.

We will gladly print on the right chest area even though it is the less popular if you request it and are aware that it is the less popular print area. It does not matter to us and it does not affect your price in any way.

Whether you choose the right or left chest area, the standard size is the same. For screen printing this ends up being 4 to 5 inches wide by 4 to 5 inches tall depending on the design. For embroidery these two areas are usually 3.5 inches wide by 3.5 inches tall. You can request a specific size and we will gladly fulfill the request or communicate why that may not be good.

What is the standard size of a left chest embroidery location?

The standard size of a left chest embroidery location typically maxes out around 3.5 inches wide or 3.5 inches tall depending on the design being embroidered. Since the pricing for embroidery is determined by the stitch count, any increase in size will also increase its stitch count and ultimately the price. The price increases for both the setup which is known as the digitizing and the actual embroidery run for each polo or hat.

Since embroidery is considered a high end print method it is much more common to have a smaller design. This is not just for cost but for a more sophisticated look and subtle decoration.

Also, the smaller the embroidery design the less the design will pull on the shirt and cause bunching at the embroidery area.

We have embroidered many designs at less than 3.5 inches wide or 3.5 inches tall. The only concern that comes with smaller embroidery designs is if there is text in the design or if the design has a lot of detail. Sometimes with embroidery small text can come out with less definition and appear to be sloppy. This can really be a problem if it is the combination of small text and a thin font. It is usually best to increase the size of the text and go with a bolder font to ensure the highest possible quality embroidery design. Increasing the size of the text does not affect the price too much because the stitch count doesn't go up too high. This is because text does not have a lot of surface area.

If you have a request for a specific size of embroidery for the left chest area, please let us know that information. We will be glad to review that information and make suggestions or fulfill the request. We can usually look at a design before embroidery and predict its quality before the digitizing process. If something stands out to us, it is very easy for us to communicate that information to you.

What is the typical turnaround in the apparel printing industry?

Two to four weeks is the typical turnaround in the apparel printing industry. Many businesses fall into this lengthy turnaround due to factors such as poor communication, lack of organization and lack of in house control.

Many people don't know what to expect when it comes to the turnaround time for their order. In fact it's by far one of the most common questions we receive from customers regardless of what they're order.

Very often people will wrongly assume that if they place their order that morning that by later that afternoon we'll be able to send it out and that they can reasonably expect it by tomorrow or the next day. Unfortunately that just is not realistic. Not only are there almost always quite a few others orders already in line ahead of the newest order to come in, but even if it were the only order we were working same day turnaround just isn’t realistic for several reasons.

There are several different steps that each order will have to go through. One aspect of every order is simply doing the artwork for that order. Before any actual printing takes place there are several things which must be done to the artwork to get it into a format that is ready for printing. This takes time, especially for complicated or highly detailed artwork. Even with intensive labor on the part of our art department it often simply isn’t possible to complete it the same day. Also, the actual printing of the shirts once everything else is set up and ready to go takes a good chunk of time as well.

However, the main limiting factor is definitely getting the blank shirts themselves. No one in the industry keeps blank shirts in stock because it just isn't realistic. We (and pretty much every company) offer far too many different types of shirts in a range of different colors and sizes. There's just no way to anticipate what someone will need before they order it and even if it were possible keeping such a huge inventory wouldn't be at all cost effective. That means that once an order comes in we have to order the blank shirts from our vendors. The best possible scenario is that they will only be one day away in shipping time; however, it can easily take longer depending on other factors such as ordering cut off times and warehouse stock.

This means that for a typical order, with free shipping and without any rush fees or other expedited charges the turnaround time will be from about 7-10 business days. We're usually able to fall on the earlier 7 business day part of that range and always strive to get the order out faster if possible. Since the typical turnaround time in the industry is about two to four weeks that puts us right at or exceeding the industry standard. We can also very often accommodate customers who do need rush delivery sooner than the 7-10 business day standard free shipping span.