Tips for Designing Your Own Patches with Patch Superstore (+ How to Get a Free One)

This month, we are all about patches, as we are giving away incredible Arsenal patches to our current Arsenal subscribers and anyone who subscribes to the Arsenal membership in May ’18.

If you don’t know about the Arsenal Membership, it’s a beautiful thing – this subscription gives you access to Go Media’s world-renowned design resources (every single one of our mockups, royalty-free vectors, textures, tutorials, fonts and more), plus every product we have yet to release, in addition to our exclusive community – for only $15/mth. No strings attached, cancel anytime.

Go ahead and join now – so that you can grab your patch and wear it proudly. After all, our Arsenal crew is pretty tight and proud to be part of this revolution.

We owe our friends at Patch Superstore a huge thank you for partnering with us on this month’s member goodies. We had a moment to talk with Bill Stevens of Patch Superstore to gain some insight about designing these popular accessories

Bill, can you tell us a little about yourself?

All my life I have loved being near the ocean, you could call me a classic Thalassophile. Growing up I was always drawn to bright, eye-catching art. This lead me to creating my own art and eventually majoring in Graphic Design at University Of Florida. I began working with Adobe Products and Photoshop 3, eventually mastering them. I loved the program so much that I ended up getting my MFA in 2004.

I began working with PatchSuperstore in 2003 and during that time I’ve designed tons of patches and pins. During the past 15+ years I’ve worked my way up in the company, starting from entry level designer, moving to digitizer, then to art director. After that, I began working in sales and I’m now the master of all our products.

Working in design has afforded me such incredible opportunities – I get to live my dream doing exactly what I love to do, and that is to create art every day. Not only do I get to pursue my own creative endeavors but I get to help bring beautiful art into the world, by assisting customers with their own designs. Design is such a rewarding field for any creative to be in – if I could do it again, I would not change a thing.

Can you give designers some quick tips on setting up their design files specifically for patches?

Awesome looking patches start with excellent artwork and very experienced digitizers. The digitizer converts your design by retracing it in a file that tells the embroidery machine how and where to lay the stitches.

At Patch Superstore we have multiple digitizers on staff with a minimum of 7 years’ experience and the master digitizer has over 25 years. Designing patches, you have to think about it like drawing a design at actual size with crayons. You can get lots of detail at 12″ but at 2-3″ that same design in a crayon drawing would look really bad. Embroidery can’t produce really fine details like regular printing can. This is because the thread thickness and needle size are a set diameter, so we can’t go smaller than what it is. This is also because the fabric is less stable and precise.

Things to avoid are:
Thin lines with light color threads
Lots of thin lines like cross hatching
Small text under 0.08″  tall
Too much detail for the size (think drawing with a crayon)
Narrow Spacing
Over 12 thread colors
And gradients.
Thin lines will produce what we call a running stitch (as seen below)

It is a single stitch that will look dotted with light color threads as it shows the shadow of each pin hole. To avoid this we recommend removing them or making them dark like a Black or Navy. It is a cool effect though if your looking to give that appearance on something.

What file size and type do you prefer?

Ones that are editable are always best. File sizes matter when emailing. If it’s over 10mg put it in Dropbox. Here is a basic guideline for the best file types we like, but we also take hand-drawn images on napkins that are send from a phone:


Photoshop, PNG, JPEG and PDF files
Artwork must be the exact size you wish to embroider or larger
300 DPI or higher resolution
0.13″ or larger text (10 pt.)
No fine detail


AI, and EPS files
Linked images must be embedded or provided as a separate file
Fonts may be outlined or provided as a separate font file
No fine detail
0.13″ of larger text (10 pt.)

What mistakes do you see designers make when designing for patches or submitting files to you?

Forgetting to convert fonts to outlines, missing linked images, adding way too much text or details to small designs, using over 12 colors.

What should designers keep in mind when designing for patches vs a sticker or button?

Gradients can be achieved but unlike print we have to run the colors into each other to give it a blended effect. We recommend the gradient area is 1″ or larger and no more than 2-3 colors per inch. Text outlines in like colors like white around black text and 3″. It will have a dotted effect going around the text and not look solid.

Patches are a really popular item among the design and creative community right now. What kind of patches are most popular on your store? What patches do you recommend designers create if they want to hit a home run for swag bags or to sell to other designers, at trade shows, etc.?

We do a lot of add-ons like putting the patches on backing cards, making them retail ready, patch key-chains, die cut aka “hot cut” borders. Iron on patches are the way to go. No one wants to have to sew these on, plus it gives the patches a stiffer feel, so the patches aren’t limp. No one likes limp patches.

Download our Killer Mockups Guide and Free Mockup PSD

Mockup PSD Free Download and Killer Mockups Guide!

Here at Go Media’s Arsenal, we have been creating and curating design resources since 2006, when we first began releasing our collection of royalty-free stock vectors. We have since expanded to textures, fonts, e-books, tutorials and perhaps most famously, mockup templates.

We passionately create our mockup templates and love that we have become a go-to for professionals in the industry. Because of this, we get tons of questions every single day about our mockups and how to use them.

So, we thought we’d create a quick (and free!) guide to killer mockups, which includes information and advice we dole out regularly. This includes:
– Info for Newbies, like how to open and use our mockup templates
– How to Use Smart-Object Enabled Mockups and Displacement Maps
– Tips to Killer Mockups (Using Them to Your Advantage for Future Success!)
– Pro Tips

With the download you’ll also get:
– a mockup PSD free download
– a vector freebie pack

If you’d like to grab the guide, simply sign up for the Arsenal newsletter below. Please note, you’ll have to confirm your subscription in the first email in order to receive your free download in the second email, so wait for it…

Subscribe for Arsenal Updates and get the Killer Mockup Guide & Freebies

Grab our 30+ Dynamic Watercolor Elements + Free Watercolor Wash Sample

You’ll Die Over These Zombie Vector Elements!

Zombie Vectors

“Zombies,” you screamed! “Give us zombies!”

Well, here they are!

Cleveland Heights artist Justin Will is trick and treating us to a delightfully devilish vector pack, filled with 13 elements perfect for the Halloween holiday. But, let’s admit it, we’re alright using them in our work every day of the week.

The Zombie Faces Vector Pack features 13 individual vectors created exclusively for the Arsenal. Royalty free and completely scalable, use these one of a kind elements in a project requiring that extra kick of character.

Learn More Now

Check out these 13 awesome elements!
Check out these 13 exclusive elements!

Go Get Those Zombies!

augmented reality tutorial

From Vector to Augmented Reality: A New Tutorial from Go Media’s Arsenal

Vector to Augmented Reality Tutorial

You asked, we answered! This all new, in-depth tutorial answers a question asked of us often here at Cleveland creative agency Go Media: “How do you create those awesome vectors?”

We’re answering that and a whole lot more, as in this two part video tut we’re teaming up with Photonic Creative Studio, a Cleveland-based company that specializes in 3D graphics, for an incredible project based on our vectors, known industry wide for being the best of the best.

If you were at our design conference, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 6, you may have seen Photonic Creative Studio’s awesome augmented reality photo booth.

After receiving lots of interest, we decided to make a vector to augmented reality tutorial that shows how the 3D-modeled art weapons were created, specifically the futuristic x-acto knife. The process begins with one of the top questions we are asked at Go Media, “How do you create those awesome vectors?”


This tutorial begins with conceptualization, sketch and the creation of our vectors and then turns it over to Photonic, who imports the illustration and creates the 3D model in Maya. The result is remarkable; the process is captivating and tons of fun.

Shop Now

Here’s what’s included:


Sketch to Vector

Go Media’s Arsenal designer Jordan Wong will walk you through how he created the illustration of the futuristic x-acto knife. Beginning with the process of conceptualization and gathering references to work from, Part I will offer an inside look at how the original sketch was made as well as the steps of bringing the drawing into the computer via scanning. After a detailed walkthrough on turning the drawing into a vector in Illustrator, the segment will end with an overview of the finished diagram that was used to create the 3D model. (57 minutes)


Vector to Augmented Reality

Ian Zeigler, the founder of Photonic, uses Autodesk Maya to import Jordan’s illustration and create the 3D model. This segment will kick off with basic navigation of Maya’s interface, including an explanation of tumbling, zooming, and basic hotkey modifiers. Ian will cover importing, rotating and scaling the image to fit the needs of the modeling phase. You will also learn about polygon modeling and the tools used, like extrude, move and scale, to bring form to the model. The tutorial will conclude with assigning basic materials, colors and textures, as well as the basic outputs for rendering, game-engine, or 3D print. (2 hours, 57 minutes)


Resources Included

The tutorial includes:

  • Introduction Video
  • Step-by-step instructional videos (qty 6) outlining the process of taking a drawing from paper to vector, and from Illustrator to Maya. (3 hours, 55 minutes of content!)
  • Full working files of the example art weapons!

Shop Now

Vector to Augmented Reality Tutorial

The Wait is over! This is Dirty: From Sketch to Vector Illustration Video Tutorial is Here!

From Sketch to Vector Illustration Video Tutorial

The wait is finally over.

The long awaited, highly anticipated video tutorial by Cleveland brand design services guru & Go Media President William Beachy, is finally here. Based on his wildly popular blog post, From Sketch to Vector Illustration, “This is Dirty: From Sketch to Vector Illustration Video Tutorial,” is an intimate look into Bill’s design process.

{Whoops! Somehow missed the popular “From Sketch to Vector Illustration post? Check it out here.}

“This is Dirty,” is a compilation of all Bill has learned over twenty years as an illustrator, designer and entrepreneur.

I want it now.

You’ll spend an intimate 1 hour, 11 minutes with Bill, pouring over an illustration he has created specifically for this tutorial. Bill gives you a raw, rare look into his process from start to finish. Giving away all of his secrets, tips, tricks and talents, Bill shares the resources you’ll need to follow along and includes the following recommendations/information:

The Staedler Mars mechanical pencil and sharpener
Eraser of choice
The pros and cons of hard vs. soft lead
Preferred paper type

Drawing (Pencil Sketch)
Getting into the right head-space
Getting your arm loose
Why starting with rough sketches is so important
Getting started
Having proper expectations of yourself
Being flexible while drawing
Drawing using basic geometrical shapes
Drawing the human face
Developing a series of cheats to draw
Shading – how much black vs. white
Using reference materials

Equipment specifications
Scanning specifications

(Vector) Inking
Equipment and software specifications
Dell(PC) vs. Apple
Mouse vs. Wacom
Nodes and bezier lines
Setting up your layers
Setting up gradients and picking colors
Inking options
Creating shapes in Illustrator
Cross hatching

Photoshop vs. Illustrator
Setting up your layers
Process strategy
Highlights and secondary light source
Adding Shadows
Adding a texture

What you receive with the download:

  • Extended Tutorial (MP4 Video)
  • Blue Concrete Square texture (jpeg)
  • This is Dirty Illustration (pencil art)
  • This is Dirty Illustration Version 1 (jpeg)
  • This is Dirty Illustration Version 2 (jpeg)
  • This is Dirty Illustration – Final (AI File)

Yes. Let’s do this!

We can’t wait to see what you create! Share your work with us over at our Flickr Pool Showcase.