To 3D, or NOT to 3D, that is the question?

Published - 18th June, 2018

3D embroidery is a perfect way to make your logo stand out – literally, but when and where should it be used.

The process of 3D embroidery is quite simple; basically, it is a case of adding 2mm thick foam backing behind the embroidered design, which leaves a raised finish to the overall design.

By being creative you can have a simplistic 3D design such as a script style font, or combine a number of branding techniques to create a truly unique look and finish.  One idea that works well with some logos is mixing flat embroidery with 3D, either by taking small elements of a logo or larger portions of a design, allowing it to stand out from the rest of the design.

The use of 3D in a design can be challenging, and there are limitations when it comes to the process and having a clean, crisp finish.

As a rule of thumb bold, blocky logos work best as it allows for the foam to be over-stitched and any excess foam to be removed easily, leaving a clean and crisp edge.  When logos start to get intricate it is difficult for the foam to be weeded out and in some cases the foam will be crushed, reducing the overall effect.

A way to overcome this and confirm whether the design would work as a 3D alternative is to look at the spacing between the elements that you wish to be raised.  If there is at least 1.5mm spacing between each component of the logo, there is a good chance that 3D will work, anything less than this may end up in a less than ideal finish.

When it comes to the colour of the logo, this can affect the overall finish as well.  The reason for this is down to the limited selection of foam backing colours.  As the process consists of large satin stitches running over the foam, there are chances that the foam backing will show through the embroidery.  Every care is taken to reduce this happening, by increasing the density of the stitches, but it’s not a 100% failsafe.

The most common foam colour that is used by us is Black and White, and this works for almost 60% of designs.  Where red/blue/grey logos are used we have a range of coloured foams that work well and blend better with the embroidery.

As you may expect multi-colour logos where a 3D design is required will cause more issues, and in this instance, we would tend to use foam that works best with the majority of the thread colour used.

There is no need to worry though as we have a special process that we use to finish off the 3D embroidery and remove any unwanted foam (we would love to tell you our little trick but then it wouldn’t be special).

Does it work on all headwear options?

The majority of our headwear options in the Cap range are suitable for 3D branding, but there are a number of caps that don’t work that well with 3D, due to the processes we use such as the C6604 Foam backed trucker and a number of our Polyester options and Bamboo C6725 cap.

When it comes to the Beanie range we prefer to steer clear of 3D embroidery solely because the process needs to have some structure to hold the design, and with the additional weight of the foam, it can and will distort the shape of the beanie.  It’s not to say we won’t offer this on a beanie but there is no guarantee it will look perfect.

Is 3D for you?

As a branding option 3D offers something a little out of the ordinary, it may not work for all logos/designs but should you be unsure then all you need to do is contact the sales team with the design and we will be able to confirm or at least advise what will and won’t work – / 01376 552235


For more information about any of the above please contact the sales team on 01376 560380 /

For a better insight into all the changes that have happened at Sharon Lee last year, head over to our recent blog – A FULL RECAP OF EVERYTHING WE HAVE INTRODUCED IN 2017

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