6 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Ordering Company Embroidered Shirts

So you want to order company shirts with your logo embroidered on them. Great choice.

Whether it’s your first time ordering custom company shirts or you’re a seasoned pro, you would be surprised how often simple, easily preventable mistakes are made. We’re here to help make sure you do it right.

Here are six common mistakes when ordering embroidered company logo shirts and how you can avoid them:

1. Sample First, Order Second

Company logo embroidered shirts

Always ask to see samples first before placing a custom merchandise order.

While product photography has made huge strides over the past five years, there can still be slight variations between what you see on the internet vs. the actual product. Especially when it comes to color, everything from product photography lighting to your own computer screen’s color settings can alter the digital appearance of a shirt. So it’s important to see the products in person to ensure it’s the correct color you want.

Furthermore, we all know one size does not fit all, and sizing often varies from brand to brand. By sampling first, you can have confidence in your team’s sizing choices, allowing employees to actually try on the shirts and choose their best fit.

Unless it’s a repeat purchase of the exact same items, when it comes to custom pieces it’s always a good idea to sample merchandise before placing your order to ensure optimal satisfaction.

2. Choosing the Perfect Logo Size

Company logo shirts at Lead Apparel

Generally speaking, a standard horizontal logo design is 3.5” wide, a standard vertical design is 2.5”, and the height is always proportionate. However, though 3.5” is the standard, more often than not clients request a different size. Let’s take a look at the main logo sizing options.

Small Logos

Many clients want a small logo, sometimes at 2” wide, but that’s not always possible. 

Why? When choosing the size of your logo embroidery, it’s important to consider the logo’s complexity. Embroidering a complex logo too small risks distorting the logo, and no one wants that.

A simple way to evaluate your logo’s complexity is looking at the number of characters. In general, the more characters it has, the bigger your logo needs to be to display them clearly. With less characters, you have more size options.

Any reputable custom embroiderer will proof the logo to clients before moving forward. At Lead Apparel, we always proof the logo before going to production, so you will have the opportunity to see the layout beforehand and make sure your logo will come out clear and on brand.

Large Logos

We rarely go over 4” wide for logos, and never over 4.5”, on a left or right chest placement. 

Logos of this size and placement don’t fit properly on shirts. In addition to not looking great, this increases the thread count of a logo – aka, how much thread and machine time is needed to sew one piece.

We rarely have requests for embroidery larger than 4” wide unless clients want a back-center placement, but reach out if you want to discuss larger sizing options for your custom embroidery.

The Happy Medium 

Like the classic tale of Goldilocks taught us, there’s always a happy medium.

In most cases, logos attract the best focus when they are within a 2.5-3.5” for a horizontal design, or 2-3” for a vertical design. Any size within these ranges will work in most cases. 

However, if you have a second line of text – or a long company or department name – the logo’s size may need to be adjusted accordingly. If you do have a logo with long text, we’re happy to discuss your embroidery options with you directly in order to accommodate. We’ll always work with you to find the optimal size and placement to make sure your logo looks great.

Pro Tip: Lay out a shirt and use a tape ruler to measure your logo placement area of interest. This will help give you a real visual of possible layouts – what might look best for your logo and where.


At Lead Apparel, we want to make sure you find the best logo fit and we back that claim up. We’ll take it a step further and can send you an actual sew-out of your logo in various sizes – ask your Lead Apparel representative for further details. 

3. Adhere to Your Company's Brand Guidelines

Company brand guidelines for logo merchandise

While it’s fun to embrace creativity, many companies have strict branding requirements when it comes to logo usage. Communicating these with your embroiderer upfront is important so we can work with you to find great options, that are also compliant.

Company brand guidelines may include:

  • Color requirements for your company’s logo. Color requirements are important to communicate in order to ensure matching thread colors for embroidery and pantone colors for print. 
  • Size requirements, logo usage and placement. Size requirements are important to know as they can limit logo placement possibilities on your merchandise. In addition to size, many companies have various logo versions - horizontal, vertical, simplified, with or without text - meant to be used in specific circumstances. Double check if your company has designated logo guidelines for use on merchandise.

To avoid possible problems and ensure compliance, be sure to check in with your marketing department for any logo usage or company name branding requirements in advance of placing your order.

4. Embroidery Over a Pocket or Seam 

If there is a pocket on your custom merchandise item – for example, a shirt or jacket – and an embroiderer sews over it, it will close the pocket because the backing of the embroidery needs to come through the inside of the shirt or jacket, rendering it unusable. 

Some clients are perfectly ok with an aesthetically-pleasing but non-working pocket. However, if you are not, we suggest placing the logo above the pocket instead, or choosing a different location altogether – the opposite side from the pocket, the sleeve, the upper back neck, etc.

In addition to pocketed items, seams can also be tricky. If there is an outward seam going down the chest, a sleeve or the back of a shirt, you should avoid adding embroidery over it. If you do embroider over such a seam, the thread will flutter over the area during the sewing process and the results can be imperfect. This also applies when there are zippers, cord lines or any material design that raises the fabric.

At Lead Apparel, we only embroider merchandise from our catalog because it’s manufactured specifically for embroidery decoration. Some clients ask if they can send us merchandise they bought from a retailer, and we will try to accommodate. However, these items are usually not made with the purpose of adding custom embroidery, so we always suggest sending the item to us for review. If it can be done without risking the garment and appearance, we’ll do it.

5. Last-Minute Timing

Like many other things, custom order mistakes can be avoided by planning ahead. 

Whenever possible, start working with your custom embroider well ahead of your delivery deadline. We suggest reaching out one month in advance of the date by which you need the order. 

Although planning ahead is ideal, we know things happen and advanced ordering isn’t always a possibility. Lead Apparel understands this, so we do offer a rush service with a shorter turnaround time for your last-minute embroidery needs.

6. Don’t Forget About the Packaging 

So you’ve sampled the product, proofed the design, have the order in, and you’re ready to go. But wait – how many pieces did you order?

When ordering for an entire company or department, you can end up receiving hundreds of finished pieces at once. This can make distributing the merchandise to employees a nightmare, and makes for an unnecessarily stressful time for whoever is in charge of distribution.

Before finalizing your order, ask your embroiderer how the merchandise will arrive. Will it be organized by size? Will the pieces have size labels so we can easily distribute?

At Lead Apparel, all of our company logo shirts are individually bagged with a size label and organized by box, taking the pain out of distribution.

If you want to streamline the process even further, ask us about opening a company web store. A company web store makes group orders easy - you choose the company branded products you want, Lead Apparel will add them to your web store, and your employees can place orders at their convenience. Even if it’s just a once-off group order, a company web store eliminates the stress of managing spreadsheets with color & size selections for each of your employees. Once all the ordering is done, Lead Apparel will provide a sales report with order details, showing what was ordered by who, and you can seamlessly move ahead with production.

 

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While these aren’t all the possible mistakes one can make when it comes to ordering custom company shirts, If you cover these points you will likely be very pleased when you open the box from your embroiderer. 

At Lead Apparel, we are passionate about offering the highest quality, brand name merchandise that will enhance your company’s logo and raise positive brand awareness.

We understand the value, importance and reach of high-quality company logo gear, and we will work with you to personalize and deliver your dream custom logo gear for your company, department or team. Explore our offerings and contact us today.

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