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Embroidery Design Guide
Embroidery Design Guide
Hector Delgado avatar
Written by Hector Delgado
Updated over a week ago

Expand your selling potential with Fuel's embroidered products! Mix and match 15 different thread colors to create your own premium embroidery designs.

Embroidery is a unique process

Unlike traditional printing with ink, embroidery machines use a needle and thread to stitch the design into the garment. The smallest single stitch can be 2mm or ~.07". Details smaller than 2mm will require you to update your file to ensure compatibility. It’s important to keep these differences in mind when designing.

Embroidery Detail

Physical limits to embroidery dictate how detailed your design can be. The smallest single stitch can be 2mm or ~.07". Details smaller than 2mm will require our artists to update your file to ensure compatibility.

Every design must be “digitized” to prepare it for embroidery. This may include simplifying your image or modifying the colors to the closest available thread color. Fuel currently offers this service free of charge.

The digitizing process takes about 24-48 hours. After your first sale of the digitized design, you will not need to digitize it again. We will use the same file so you can expect consistent prints.

Recommended File Size / Type

We recommend you submit high-quality .png or .jpg files of at least 1500 x 675-750 pixels. For specifics, please visit our product page.

Designs are limited to 15 distinct colors

Our embroidery machines can hold 15 spools of thread. For best results, please only use the pre-approved 15 hex code colors (see image below). During the digitization process, our system will convert your designs to only include these colors.


Make your design pop by embroidering dark designs on bright garments and vice versa.

Embroidery products have limited print areas

The maximum print area for hats is 2.5 x 5 inches. Your design will be automatically centered and scaled while maintaining the aspect ratio. Please refer to the product page for embroidery artwork templates.

6 Embroidery Design Guidelines

Here are 6 important rules to help you create amazing embroidery designs that get approved:

1. Avoid small text

To ensure that your design has legible text, artwork must have a minimum font size of 14pt (height of 5mm). We also recommend a sans serif font and using all caps. Script and serif fonts are harder to read because of the smaller point size. In addition, your designs can only have a maximum of 15 characters per line.

2. Avoid small details

Embroidery designs are created by a needle and thread, which causes some detail limitations. Your designs should not include thin lines (no less than 0.05”), intricate details, or too many colors. For thinner lines, we’ll use a run stitch (a single line of stitches). Fine lines may look like dotted lines, so darken them to ensure they show up.

3. Avoid gradients

Gradients are great for screenprint but cannot be reproduced by embroidery. Instead, use color-blocking to achieve a gradient effect.

4. Avoid distressed designs

Distressed designs create multiple gaps and jumps that are difficult for the embroidery machine. Please fill in all distressed designs with a solid color to avoid complications.

5. Avoid using photographs

Photographs contain hundreds of colors and are very difficult to convert to only 15 thread colors. We recommend that you change your image to a vector-style graphic for embroidery.

6. Avoid using negative space

Designs with too much negative space can result in pinched and scrunched fabric. We recommend that you fill negative spaces with a solid color (such as black or white) to avoid this problem.

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