Denim embroidery

Location, Location, Location

jennifer cox

Jennifer Cox operated a family embroidery business beginning in 1990. She is one of the founders of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), a national organization that supports embroidery and apparel decoration professionals with programs and services designed to increase profitability and production. Cox is currently the president of NNEP.

Placing an embroidered logo is a very simple task for those who know how to do it. Garment decorators must only master a few locations where 90 percent of logos are placed. The guides in this article are intended to help embroiderers master some of the traditional logo placements with ease and efficiency.

Left chest placement

Ever wonder why logos are usually placed on the left chest? It is because of our traditional handshake! We reach across our bodies with our right hand to shake, which covers the right chest area.

The logo should be placed between 6" and 8" below where the shoulder seam meets with the neckline of the shirt and about 4" over from the centerline of the shirt.When positioning for this ever-popular left-chest design on any shirt—whether it is a T-shirt, golf shirt, sweatshirt or jacket—some basic guides usually apply. (Note: the following placement recommendations are based on positioning the center of the design.)

  • Place the logo by tracing the seam where the sleeve is sewn into the shirt about half way down—this will serve as a horizontal guide. On a shirt with a knit collar, drop down from where the collar point lays on the shirt; a vertical guide. Place the center of the design where those two lines intersect.
  • If the garment does not have a placket or front opening, fold the garment in half to establish the centerline.
  • If the shirt has a traditional three-button placket, the bottom of the design usually does not drop below the bottom of the placket unless it is a vertical or oversized design.
  • For full-button shirts and jackets, the second button or snap can be used as the horizontal guide.
  • Modify the design placement as needed when working with a variety of sizes of garments. Move the design up or down approximately 1/4" to 1/2" and in or out about the same amount, going from one size to another. This allows for the larger neck opening found in the larger shirts and moves the logo further out from the placket as well.

When a group of people wearing the same shirt with the same design stand together, well-placed logos will look like they are in the same place on everyone, no matter what size shirt they are wearing. Logos should not be up on the collarbone on the smaller people and down by the armpit on larger people. The logos need to be placed proportionally on the shirts and on the people wearing them.

Pocket shirt placement

Placing logos above pockets is really easy when the pocket is sewn on straight. Simply center the design above the pocket with about 1/2" to 1" of open space between the bottom of the design and top of the pocket. The design should not be wider than 4" as it does not look good when the logo is wider than the pocket.

When pockets are attached incorrectly, we just have the make the best of it. If the pocket is off by less than 1/4", align the design with the pocket. If the pocket is off by more than that… here’s to hoping your design is round and not a straight line of lettering.

Seriously, it might be in one’s best interest to order a few more shirts if this is the case for one or two shirts. If all the pockets are off, assume that’s always the case for that brand of garment. There are four options in this case:

Sleeve placement

Sleeve placement is a very popular trend. There are two key factors influencing this placement. First, it is slightly more subtle than a left-chest placement, which allows a person to wear a branded shirt without broadcasting the logo quite so publicly. Secondly, it can work for a co-branding—one customer can have subtle sleeve placement while another can add something to the left chest of the shirt. Sleeve logos are usually slightly smaller and definitely no larger than a left-chest logo. The design is dropped on either sleeve, with the bottom of the design riding 1/2" above the seam where the cuff and the sleeve meet. The design is centered on the seam of the sleeve. And, keep in mind that right-sleeve embroidery reads from the back of the shirt toward the front.

Sleeve placements are a popular solution when there is too much to fit on a left chest design. Splitting the design into different elements—a logo on the left chest and lettering on the sleeve, for example—allows all of the information to get on the shirt without looking cluttered.

Full-front placement

Full front logos have fewer guidelines, as there are no limits to the workspace. You can put a design literally anywhere. Common sense what “looks good” is the guideline to follow, as well as keeping the work within the customer’s price range. Keep appliqué in mind as a great way to expand the size of a design while containing the costs.

For an edgier look, consider pulling the design off-center. It looks very current yet still falls within the comfort zone for most customers.

Generally speaking...

No matter where a logo is placed, a few general rules apply. Here are a few tips:

  • There are several placement templates available from a variety of sources. Hooping aids are also excellent tools that help place logos accurately and consistently.
  • If placing a design on one side of the shirt and a person’s name on the other, the name usually goes on the right side and the logo on the left side.
  • One of the best ways to ensure placement is correct is to put the garment on a real person to see how it actually drapes and centers.

The placement of a logo or design is subject to many variables including:

  • Customer preference.
  • Style, size and fabric of the garment or product.
  • Shape, size and purpose of the design.
  • Degree of diffi culty of working with the garment or product itself.

Non-traditional placements

The retail world is the beacon our customers ask us to follow, as it is what they see; what they know. Staying up-to-date with what is happening with logo placements in the retail market allows embroiderers to better meet customers’ needs. Customers are open to unique logo placements for specific combinations of product, design and purpose. Pay attention to what “feet on the street” are wearing and where their logos are appearing.

Case in point, I noticed a logo placement on a gentleman in front of me while I was waiting in line at the airport. His jeans were designer and had the brand name embroidered below his pocket. He liked the vibe of the placement.. Remember that—it is a key factor for customers.

I freely admit to be about embroidery and apparel decorating in all facets of my life, so I constantly relate what I see to our industry. I was watching a golf tournament a few weeks ago—while it was an exciting event (if golf on TV can be exciting), what I really noticed was the slick logo placement Keegan Bradley was sporting, more so than his amazing game. He was wearing a red shirt with the Oakley logo on the left chest and on the back of the collar. But the money-shot for me was the Oakley name dropped in on the raglan sleeve seam line, small, but in white, placed along his shoulder blades. I cannot even guestimate the number of impressions that placement generated for the Oakley brand between the gallery and the TV audience. And, let’s face it, impressions matter—they lead to purchasing behavior. Oakley knows this and they did an excellent job of furthering their brand with this shirt.

For customers looking for one-of-a-kind pieces, unleash your inner creative. Consider creating something playful, funky, fun… even something that would be hard to do. And, for unusual as well as traditional logo placements, trust your instincts! If the design looks too low, far to one side or not quite right, move it. If a customer asks for something that will not be flattering, feel free to speak up and offer an alternative. Remember, you are the logo placement expert.

  1. Switch to a different brand of garment,
  2. Sew the design in alignment with the pocket,
  3. Switch the design to the other side, or
  4. Try to compensate for the crooked pocket by slightly correcting the design to true horizontal.