Table of Contents
INTERNATIONAL TOLERANCES FOR CLOTHING SPECS
A garment specification sheet or spec sheet is a technical document that contains the construction details of a product,
a technical diagram/sketch of the garment and the measurements of a product.
• With our clothing, all the half chest measurements are shown in the catalogue and these are taken from the
• The industry norm is a tolerance of 2cm, i.e. 2cm smaller or bigger than the spec.
• For example if the ½ chest spec is 49cm, it is internationally accepted if the item is 47cm as well as 51cm.
• Although our factories work hard to adhere to the supplies specs, garments are never all 100% according to spec.
Some of the reasons for this is that fabric gets layered in many layers before the pattern pieces are cut out and
sometimes material shifts slightly during the process, or a machine operator may take a little more seam allowance on
a garment. Each garment is sewn individually and as such will vary slightly from one to the other.
• There are many factors which affect the dyeing process of greige fabric (an unfinished woven or knitted fabric that
hasn’t been bleached or dyed) including water in the area, time of the year, temperature, fabric being dyed etc
• COOLCOLOURS uses a handful of different factories around the world to produce our items and although we do our best to keep the shading as close as possible from one batch to the next, there may be slight shade variances.
• Subtle differences can appear between different batches of the same colour fabric dyed by the same manufacturer
so centralising the dyeing process would not eliminate this variance.
• We make use of Lab dips (accepted colour swatches) which are sent to all our factories to ensure that the batch
colours are as close as possible.
• Internationally there is an acceptable shading tolerance of one shade on either side (lighter or darker).
• While care is taken through the whole dyeing process as well as the lab dips and a number of QC checks during
the manufacturing process, it is expected that one batch of a clothing item would vary slightly from the next.
HOW TO MEASURE A GARMENT
• Lay garment out flat on a flat surface and iron it out with
your hands making sure not to stretch it.
• ½ chest is measured 2cm below the armhole.
• See sketch below for instructions:
B – ½ Chest
A1 – Highest shoulder point
(front or back measured
the same way)
A – CBL (Centre Back Length)
L – Sleeve length – from centre back
WASHCARE AND PRESERVING THE LONGEVITY OF YOUR GARMENT
• Each garment will have an inner washcare label which gives you the exact instructions to follow when washing and
caring for your garment
• Ensure that each garment is washed correctly after each use
• Where possible, wear an undershirt/under garment which will protect your garment from perspiration, deodorants,
• Turn garments inside out for washing to preserve both colour and decoration (branded logo)
In order to speed up the branding process and help you understand our artwork requirements,
we’ve put together a list of FAQ’s that will help guide you through the process.
What is Vector Artwork?
This is artwork that we can manipulate and separate into individual elements for branding. This artwork is also
the highest quality and is in the original design format. Vector artwork is created using vector illustration software
programmes such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. These programmes use points, lines and shapes to create
artwork that can be scaled infinitely without any loss of quality. Vector artwork is editable and the artwork can be
changed according to your specifications.
Which formats would be considered Vector?
There are a few formats that will be acceptable, namely:
• Adobe Illustrator (.ai)
• Corel Draw (.cdr)
• Freehand (.fh)
Please note: vector and non-vector artwork, or a combination of the two, can be stored in any of the above formats.
In order to check if artwork is vector, zoom into the image. If you see pixellated edges, as illustrated below, it means
the artwork is non-vector (vector artwork will remain crisp and clear no matter how much you zoom into the image).
Alternatively, click on the artwork and if a blue block appears around it, as illustrated below right, it means that the
artwork is non-vector and the elements cannot be separated.
Why is it that other suppliers accept non-vector and COOLCOLOURS insists on it?
COOLCOLOURS has a very high quality standard when it comes to branding. Artwork has a lot to do with the quality of
branding. If the quality of the artwork is not acceptable we will not use it as it will compromise the quality of the
branding. Certain branding methods can use very high quality jpeg images for branding, these methods include
embroidery, digital processes and CMYK screen printing. However we cannot amend jpeg artwork at all, e.g. change
the colour of a logo.
We do not use quick traced artwork as quick traces often result in uneven lines and this compromises the print
quality, we would rather recommend a redraw of the logo.
What is quick traced artwork?
There is a tool in Corel Draw that allows you to automatically convert a non-vector logo into vector. This tool does not
always work well, the reason is because it simply traces the edges of the artwork and where colours start and end.
The result is a vector image but it will be broken and the edges will not be smooth. For this reason COOLCOLOURS does not use quick traced artwork because it compromises the quality of the branding.
What does “convert to curves” or “convert to paths” mean?
When artwork contains wording in a certain font and the font is not converted to curves or paths it remains in a text
format. This means that when the artwork is imported into a design programme the programme reads it as text that
can be edited. If we do not have the font that the wording was created in, the design programme will automatically
convert it to a font that we do have, compromising the original artwork. Converting to curves or paths results in the
design programme reading the font as a drawing instead of text and, as such, the programme does not require the font.
Alternatively you can send us the font file to install. We cannot redraw the artwork if it is not converted to curves
because as soon as we put the artwork into a design programme to start redrawing it will substitute the font with a
What is redrawing artwork?
If you send us non-vector artwork for a process that requires vector artwork, our redraw artists will have to re-create
the artwork in vector. In order for the artist to do this s/he needs to import the non-vector into Corel Draw and trace
Not all images can be redrawn, if there is any shading or gradients in the artwork it is impossible to achieve. We are
also unable to redraw photographs.
Why does COOLCOLOURS charge to redraw artwork?
This is a time consuming process, which requires a lot of attention so that there are no errors in the redrawn artwork.
If the artwork is simple and will take an artist less than 10 minutes to redraw, we redraw the artwork at no charge.
If the logo is more complicated, it will be charged for. Please remember that the lead time for redrawing artwork is
24 hours as the demand is quite high.
What types of artwork are required for the different branding processes?
Vector artwork is required for the below processes:
• Screen Printing (spot colours)
• Pad Printing
• Laser Engraving
Non-vector artwork can be used for the below (please note that it must be high quality):
• Screen Printing (CMYK process only)
• Dome Stickers
• Heat Press
• Digital Transfer Printing
• Direct to Product Printing
Please remember: vector artwork can be used for all of our branding processes. When using non-vector artwork and
a change to the artwork is requested, it cannot be actioned and vector artwork will need to be supplied.
Why can we use non-vector for embroidery and not for screen printing?
Screen printing: the print preparation requires that the artwork be separated into its individual colours.
Each element or set of elements that is a different colour gets printed on a different screen, e.g. a 2-colour logo
requires 2 different screens.
Embroidery: artwork is digitised as a whole and the colours are specified when digitising. As the logo does not have
to be separated into various elements, we do not have to have vector artwork unless changes need to be
made to the artwork.
Why is it that often layouts are done differently to the mock-up that was supplied?
If you send through a mock-up it is very useful as it gives the layout artist an idea of what your client wants.
When the layout artist is doing the layout they have to take the branding guideline into consideration. If the mock-up
shows branding that is outside of the parameters indicated on the guideline the layout artist will create a layout that is
as close to what your client requires, but falls within our guidelines.
What is a branding guideline and is it available to me?
Guidelines have been created for every item that we can brand. Once a new item is introduced there are samples
that are sent to production and each department tests the item to see what the branding capabilities and limitations
of the item are.
Once they are done we gather the info and create a branding guideline indicating which positions can be branded,
how many colours can be printed, the maximum branding size and which branding methods will work on the item.
Branding guidelines are available to clients
Branding guidelines can also be sent to your clients as there is no reference to COOLCOLOURS on the guideline.
Why can other suppliers or branders brand outside COOLCOLOURS guidelines?
Our guidelines are created to ensure that we have shorter lead-times and a reduced number of rejects in production.
If you have a client that would like to brand in a position outside our guidelines you are welcome to contact your
account manager with the code of the item, a copy of the logo that your client requires and the information regarding
the size of the logo and where they would like to brand. The account manager will then speak to production and find
out if it is possible.
What is CMYK printing in screen printing?
This is a method employed in Screen Printing to print a full-colour image that has shading and gradients. This is
perfect for printing photographs and detailed images.
This process uses 4 colours, namely: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. It works similarly to digital printing in that it
uses a combination of the 4 colours mentioned to print almost every available colour. Like a digital printer, white and
metallic cannot be created from these 4 colours and if there is white in the artwork, that must be printed first.
The screens for this process are made such a way that they allow a certain percentage of each ink colour to flow
through individual screens.
When branding via CMYK on a white item we charge for a 4-colour print, however if we are branding CMYK on a
coloured item we will need to charge for a 5-colour print because we need to print white as a base owing to CMYK
inks being semi-transparent.
We advise that you check with your Account Manager before you offer CMYK to a client as we have to look at the
artwork and the material that you require branding on so that we can determine if a CMYK print will work.
When a client requests to brand in a CMYK colour why can’t it be matched to a Pantone?
If a client supplies a CMYK colour breakdown, but requires that it match a Pantone colour this is not always possible
as there are a limited number of Pantone colours that exist, but innumerable CMYK colours. We try to match the
colours as closely as possible.
What programme does your layouts department use?
We have a variety of programmes in the layouts department:
• Adobe Illustrator
• Corel Draw
The main programme that we use is Corel Draw.
How long does it take for a layout to be created?
The times will vary from layout to layout dependent on the complexity of the layout or the quality of the artwork that
has been provided.
Simple layouts with good quality artwork take a maximum of 10 minutes.
If the artwork has many elements and colours and you want us to brand in 1 colour it can take up to 20 minutes to
convert it to a 1-colour artwork.
If there is personalisation with a large number of names that are going on, e.g. clothing items, the layout can take up
to 2 hours to do.
Generally layouts follow a 2 hour lead-time because there are numerous layouts in the queuing system with varying
degrees of complexity. When a layout is required, the request gets added to the system at the end of the queue and
the layout artists work through each in turn.
Why is it that my logo does not always fit exactly into the size on the guideline?
When a layout is done we need to make sure that the logo is in proportion. If we are branding on a pen, for example,
and the guideline says that we can brand 60mm wide and 6mm high, we will need to fit the logo into the area shown
on the guideline.
What are the minimum height restrictions when branding text in the various branding departments?
In certain departments we can make the text smaller depending on the font and the texture of the item.
A basic guideline below:
• Screen Printing 2mm high
• Pad Printing 1mm high
• Debossing/Foiling 4mm high
• Embroidery 5mm high
• Laser Engraving 1mm high
• Sublimation 1mm high
• Heat Press 1mm high
• Stickers/Domed Stickers 1mm high
• Digital Transfer Printing 1mm high
• Direct to Product Printing 0.5mm high
In cases where the text is smaller than given in the above guidelines or the text may close up due to the font used or
the texture of the product it is being branded on, we advise leaving off the text.
Why is tone-on-tone embroidery sometimes added on embroidery layouts when I have only asked for
specific colours to be branded?
When we have a logo that has gaps in the artwork where the item is going to show through we fill those gaps with
thread that is the same colour as the item so that the logo has a neat, professional finish.
Why do you have recommended and not recommended options when I have specified what I want?
When a layout is requested we have to ascertain what will work and take the branding guidelines and texture of
the item into consideration. We strive to achieve exactly what your client wants, but that is not always possible as
sometimes it will not work.
In cases where the branding requested will not work we provide you with 2 options:
- The option that your client has requested which will be noted as the “Not Recommended” there will be
warnings stating why this is not recommended.
- An alternative, “Recommended” option which will not be exactly as your client requested, but that takes all
factors, e.g. sizes, texture of item, branding process and the client’s logo, into consideration and will work.
This is put into place to not just protect COOLCOLOURS but also to protect you, our client. If your client chooses to go ahead with the “not recommended” option and is not happy with the outcome and you have supplied them our layout
upfront, you are not liable to replace the order as the layout clearly stated why the branding should not be done and
an option that would have worked was supplied.
Why is the number of colours that can be branded limited?
If the item is lined, e.g. a cooler bag, it is difficult to screen print more than one colour. In screen printing we have to
apply a light glue spray to the board that the item is loaded on so as to prevent movement of the item during printing.
This ensures that the branding position is consistent and that, when branding more than one colour, the registration
of the logo is correct. In cases where an item has a lining, only the bottom layer of the lining adheres to the board
leaving the top layer loose; as a result we cannot ensure that all of the colours in the logo will register (line up)
correctly and consequently restrict the number of colours we brand on certain item.
The number of print colours may be also be restricted due to the type of material the item is made of. When we brand
a multi-colour logo the print must be dried after each individual colour is laid down. Some items cannot withstand
long periods of heat so we cannot dry each individual colour when branding and we have to restrict the number of
- With regards to branding what does “registration” mean?
This is a term that is used in printing that refers to
laying down all the colours of the artwork in the correct
places. If the registration is off the colours next to each
other will either overlap or be too far apart and spaces
will be evident.
- Helpful branding tips
• Always check what warnings are on the layouts before you approve it as if it states information like
– texture of product will effect print/ small text may not be legible etc and the branding turns out to be as
per the layout with the warning we wont accept that job as a reject job.
• Check the colours stated that we will brand and always try give us a Pantone colour, a colour branded may
be one shade out from what is mentioned as the colours are mixed.
• If you have a marathon colour please supply this as there are a fraction of marathon colours compared to
Pantone colours so matching a thread colour to Pantone colour will never be exact and is often left up to
discretion of what we think will work best but your client may have something else in mind.
Why can we not guarantee the exact positioning of embroidery/ print on a striped item?
Panels on garments are inconsistent and one item will not be exactly the same as the next. Because of this, if we
brand according to the stripe detail or the panel, the logos will not come out on the left chest branding position
resulting in incorrect positioning when the shirt is worn
To help understand the branding process, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked
questions, with answers, that we receive.
What is the minimum order quantity for branding an order in-house with COOLCOLOURS?
There is no minimum order quantity but setup charges associated with each branding process still apply.
When the setup charge is amortised over smaller quantities, the cost per unit is higher ie. branding 50 units
versus 10 units always works out cheaper per unit.
Should you need a pre-production sample, we offer sample branding at reduced rates.
Why does COOLCOLOURS charge a 15% handling fee on unpaid orders that are canceled or not collected?
Once an order is invoiced, a picking slip automatically prints in the warehouse and work starts on the order,
regardless of whether we have received payment or not. The order is pulled, checked, packed and shelved.
Stock is allocated to your order and thus unavailable for other clients to order. Once an order is canceled, there is
a significant amount of work involved in returning these canceled goods to our shelves in order to make them
available to other clients. Therefore we encourage our clients to only place orders with COOLCOLOURS once they have
received a firm, written order from their clients.
Why does COOLCOLOURS charge a 25% handling fee on orders that are returned and only 15% on orders that
are canceled or not collected?
When an order is collected and taken off COOLCOLOURS’ premises, we no longer have control over the stock and therefore cannot confidently put the stock back for resale without carefully inspecting it first. This is a very time consuming process and involves a lot of labour as the order needs to be unpacked, thoroughly checked and then put back into stock. The return of goods, once collected from COOLCOLOURS, is only permitted at Management’s discretion.
For full information, please see our terms and conditions on our website.
How do the ETA’s on new stock work and why does it change?
Clients are able to place back orders for incoming stock just as they place orders for stock we have on hand. An ETA
is an estimated time of arrival. When we order new stock from our suppliers we cannot guarantee a date that the
stock will be available for sale. Possible reasons for this include manufacturing, shipping and stock clearing customs
delays which could postpone the entire shipment. We also have an internal quality control team that has to check the
shipment once it arrives. If the stock does not meet the COOLCOLOURS’ Quality Standard it will not be released for sale.
Can we brand other suppliers’ stock with OOLCOLOURS?
No, COOLCOLOURS only brands stock that we hold. The reason for this is due to the fact that every item we have in our range has been extensively tested in each branding department to determine the best branding method and size for the
item as well as the item’s tolerance for heat. We offer our clients a one-stop-shop where they can purchase products
and get the best possible branding done for that item, all under one roof.
When stock is reported as missing/damaged, why does COOLCOLOURS ask for so many details such as tape
on the box, if branded or not and the weights stated on the box?
When stock goes missing or is damaged we take it very seriously as we strive to provide a world-class service
offering. We ask for the tape colour and weights to ascertain where the error originated: if it was from our suppliers,
the warehouse or branding.
If the stock is misprinted we need pictures so that we can investigate if the order can be fixed or if we need to
replace the stock. This way we can give you an answer and start with the replacement process swiftly.
We need all of this information so that we can constantly improve our service and look for ways to avoid such
mishaps in the future. For full information, please see our terms and conditions on our website.
Why is the first day of a branding lead-time only the day after I approve even if I approve first thing in
We have a production planner based in each branding department. The planner’s responsibility is to schedule all
branding jobs for that particular department. They look at the queue of jobs and determine which order they need to
be run in for us to meet the given lead-times. As the day’s schedule has to be created in advance, we need to give
the planner time to work out the schedule. When a job is approved, it is added to the production queue but because
the jobs for that particular day have already been planned and ordered, it cannot be included in the same day’s
schedule as it will affect the jobs already in the production queue.
Why does COOLCOLOURS charge a full setup fee for repeat artwork?
Even though we may have the artwork on file, all of our machines need to be setup for individual orders.
The machine settings are different for each item and must be adjusted with each order. The greater part of the
setup fee is charged for the amount of time and the labour involved in setting up a machine. A setup takes
approximately 45-60 minutes in all branding departments, except for screen and pad printing where it can take
45-60 minutes for each colour being branded. In embroidery, because the artwork has already been digitised from
the first order, we do not charge a full set up fee. We only charge for the labour involved in setting up the machine.
Why do I have to approve a layout for a repeat job?
This may seem tedious but our layouts are not only for artwork purposes; they also ensure that the correct stock
codes and quantities are being branded. Any warnings also remain on the layout so that your client is aware of
potential problems which may arise by branding in the manner shown on the layout.
Which branding processes allow for personalisation?
We offer personalisation in:
• Laser Engraving
• Digital processes (sublimation, heat press, domed and vinyl stickers, digital transfer)
The reason for this is every other department needs a screen, plate or die to be made. This means that we will have
to setup for each individual personalisation, which is not cost effective and very labour intensive.
Why can’t we brand bigger than what is indicated on the branding guideline?
Each item is tested before a guideline is created to determine the best possible option for branding. We have to
brand on the flattest part of the item that is free of any obstruction so if an item has a seam or border, it limits the
available space for branding. Similarly, we can’t brand on a curved as it causes the branding to distort. These factors,
as well as productivity and the quality of the branded item, are taken into account so as not to compromise on our
high standard of branding.
Why is there a limit to the number of colours which can be screen printed?
With screen printing, we have to apply a light glue spray to the board on the machine so that the item sticks to the
board. This prevents movement during printing so that the branding position is consistent and, in addition, when
branding more than one colour, that the registration of the artwork is correct. In cases where an item has a lining,
only the bottom layer of the lining sticks to the board leaving the top layer loose and as a result, we cannot ensure
that all the colours in the artwork register correctly.
Another reason why colours may be restricted is due to the nature of the material we are branding on. When we
branding a multi-colour logo we need to dry the print after each individual colour is added. Some items cannot
withstand long periods of heat therefore we cannot dry each individual colour and we restrict the amount of colours
that we can brand on that item.
How do personalisation charges work?
Normal branding prices plus an additional personalisation fee per item apply. The additional charge is necessary
because extra time needs to be taken when personalising items to ensure that all the items have the correct names
and that there are no duplicates. If you are doing personalisation in embroidery, each name needs to be digitised.
The fee covers the extra labour.
Why do you charge different setups when we are branding the same item with the same logo just in
If a logo is the same colour but going on different colour items, then only one setup is charged.
When we change print colour we have to set up the machine again. For instance, when screen printing, once we print
the logo in the first colour, we have to take the screen off the machine, clean off all the ink and then set the machine
up again before we print the logo in another colour.
Why do we charge different setups when we are branding the same logo in the same branding
process but on different items?
There are a couple reasons for this. Each item has its own jig: a place holder for the item that is mounted onto the
machine. Every time we change the item, we have to change the jig and reset the machine so that the logo is printed
in the correct position.
Another reason is that not all the items have the same branding space so on some items we can brand a larger logo
than on others which means that the artwork will be different. For instance, if we are screen printing two items with
the same logo but the logo is a different size on each item, we need two different screens