Embroidery guidelines

Embroidery files

Did you know Art of Where began in the minds of two people working at an embroidery stand in a mall? Embroidered hats may be a newer addition to the Art of Where product family but we've been experts for a long time.

Embroidery was our first love and we want you to love it too! The biggest difference between embroidery and printing is file setup. While with printing you get what you see (mostly), files intended for embroidery need special consideration.

Read on to learn more about embroidery stitches and how to create embroidery-friendly designs.


We have to convert your design files to DST files for our embroidery machines and assign the stitch types to the various parts of your designs. We only do this once your product has been ordered or if you upload a JPEG and place an order for conversion/digitizing.

You will pay a one time digitizing fee per design.

Location on hat (front or back) Digitizing Fee Puff/Partial Puff Fee
1st location 9.00$ 2.75$
2nd location 4.50$ Not available on back

Types of Embroidery

Flat Embroidery


The stitches will be flat (not raised) on the hat.

  • Minimum thickness of shapes: 1mm
  • Maximum thickness of shapes: No max
  • Minimum height of text: 6mm
Puff Embroidery


A layer of foam is placed over the area to be embroidered. As the stitching goes over the foam, it becomes raised and looks 3D. This method is used for large text and big shapes. Only available on the front of the hat.

  • Minimum thickness of shapes: 5mm
  • Maximum thickness of shapes: 12mm
  • Minimum height of text: 20mm
Partial Puff Embroidery

Partial Puff*

Puff and flat embroidery are used for different sections of one design. Only available on the front of the hat. Great for outlines of a design or text.

  • Minimum thickness of shapes: 5mm
  • Maximum thickness of shapes: 12mm
  • Minimum height of text: 20mm

*Puff embroidery is an additional 2.75$. When you choose to add puff, we will look at the size of your text and shapes. Puff embroidery will be possible for the parts of the design that meet the requirements. It is only available on the front of the hat.

Text/Shape Sizing

Type of embroidery Minimum thickness of shapes Maximum thickness of shapes Minimum height of text
Flat embroidery 1mm No Max 6mm
Puff Embroidery 5mm 12mm 20mm

For puff & partial puff, ensure 2mm of spacing between the puffed objects or letters.

Types of Stitches

Satin stitch

Satin stitch

Used for text or small objects (<12mm wide) and when applying puff to text or outlines. It is a long, straight stitch (end to end of an object) which can result in a high sheen finish.

Smooth stitch

Smooth stitch

Used for larger text or objects (>12mm). Smooth stitched areas are filled with lines of straight stitches very close together giving a woven look.

Steil stitch

Steil stitch

A type of satin stitch used mostly for outlines. It could be used to outline a given area, to outline an area that will be puff embroidered or it could be used for lines in a design (>1mm).

Running stitch

Running stitch

A single row of stitches which may be used for small text and thin lines (<1mm).

Our digitizer, who prepares your file for the embroidery machines, will assign the appropriate type of stitch to the different parts of your design.

Thread Colours

We offer 37 thread colours and we can embroider up to 9 thread colours per design. When you upload your design in to the Design Lab, it will automatically convert each colour in your design to the nearest matching colour from the 9 available. If you submit a design that contains more than 9 colours, the design will be simplified by the Design Lab and assigned the available colours. You can always change colour selections in the Design Lab too if they don't look right to you. Save the design and you'll see a full rendered preview right away!


File type

It’s best if you have a vector graphic saved as an EPS, AI or SVG file. We cannot accept DST files as we need to digitize your design files in house to ensure quality.

If you only have a JPEG available, you can still upload it from the Digitizing page in your account. In order to use it for embroidery, you will have to place an order for us to convert it to a vector file and digitize it. Check out our help section to see how to do this.

Graphic Comparison

Image type Vector Raster
Made up of Shapes Cannot be converted to a vector file
Scalability Scalable without losing quality Loses quality when scaled up
File type EPS, SVG... JPEG, PNG...
AOW Design Lab Perfect for the embroidery Lab! To use in pur other design labs, copy & convert to a raster file. No good for the embroidery Lab! Perfect for fabric, clothing, prints and accessories.


Text height

Have text that is minimum 6mm in height, and 12mm thick;

Sans serif fonts

Use simple, sans serif fonts such as Futura, Helvetica or Arial;

Basic shapes and text

Use basic shapes & text to make up your design;

Big & bold shapes

Use big & bold shapes and text for areas you want puff embroidered;


Photos or raster to vector

DO NOT try to convert photos or raster images into vector files. It just won't work, as they aren't true vector images made up of shapes.

Colour gradients, shadows and shading

DO NOT use colour gradients, shadows or shading. Embroidery files must contain solid colours and shapes. Unlike switching pens or design tools when creating an image, we can't switch the thread to a different colour for each stitch to create a gradient, shadow or shaded area.

Negative space

DO NOT include negative space in your design. Those negative spaces aren't truly outlined, which means the stitches surrounding the empty space will probably end up looking messy.

Very textured or distressed look

DO NOT create a design with a very textured or distressed look. The detail may be lost when the design is embroidered.


If your design has a stitch count is too high, is too detailed or you chose puff or partial puff but your design does not meet the requirements for that type of embroidery, we will contact you regarding revising your design.

Have unsanswered questions? Check out our help section or contact us.