Saturday, January 30, 2010

Custom Embroidery: Baby Clothes

Embroidered baby clothes - Are they the same as embroidered apparel in larger sizes? Not really. Because babies have sensitive skin, special backing must be used to cover the underside of embroidery to protect the baby's skin from the embroidery backing and thread. Are there better decoration options available for baby items? Direct garment printing is another decoration option that produces results similar to screen printing without the screen costs associated with traditional screen printing. So what if your prefer embroidery for your baby garment? Locate an embroiderer who specializes in baby items so they will treat your garments with the proper care.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Artwork Embroidered: File Types

You're ordering embroidered organic cotton polo shirts. When you inquire about acceptable artwork formats you learn that vector files are best. After checking your artwork you realize that although you don't have a vector file you have access to software that will save files in a vector format. Will that work? No.

Although the file extension should indicate the artwork file type there can be exceptions. For example, if a file extension is ai or cdr the artwork should be a vector or line art image but if a pixel-based image is imported into a vector program and saved as a vector file then the image isn't automatically vectorized. Although this procedure produces a file with the correct extension, it doesn't convert a pixel image into line art. Therefore, it doesn't improve the quality of the artwork.

So what should you do if you want want to supply the best possible artwork for your custom embroidery? Email all your files to your embroiderer so they can choose what will work best. If none of the files are acceptable then your artwork will need to be vectorized or redrawn. Many people don't like the additional cost for vectorization but usually the fee is minimal (approximately $15.00) but the result is artwork that can be easily resized and edited without sacrificing quality. Also, once your artwork is in vector format it can be used for a variety of mediums ranging from embroidery to print advertising to promotional products.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Embroidered Logos: Making Artwork Work For Embroidery

Often a customer will request a quote for a logo created in Word or another word processing program. That's fine but many of these simple logos require similar adjustments before they can be used as artwork. A common problem is the use of text that is too small. Because word processing programs allow the user to create very small text it is temping to use a small font size for secondary text in an embroidered design. But, when the logo is translated into embroidery the small text is too tiny to be embroidered so the size of the text must be enlarged. If its only a small amount then that won't affect the look of the logo too much. But, often the size must be increased so much that the general look of the logo is altered.

Another common request is to ask that the text be outlined. Outlining is especially effective with printed text but is much more difficult to embroider cleanly so it is often eliminated. Usually that can be accomplished without other changes but sometimes the font or background colors must be adjusted so the text is readable. The process of making these changes may seem frustrating especially if you've already spend a considerable amount of time developing your logo or you already have printed items but without these edits, your logo won't work as an effective embroidered logo.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Embroidered Logo: Artwork to Embroidered Design

You web guy designed a great logo for screen printed shirts. Its a four color process design with lots of subtle color gradations. It looks sharp as a full front, T-shirt design but will it work for embroidered polo shirts?

Most likely your artwork will need modifications. Can your embroiderer make these types of changes? Often yes but they may need to ask questions about how your design should be simplified for embroidery. Generally speaking, color gradations and small details must be eliminated. Instead, gradated areas are translated into one area of thread color. If an area must be simplified your embroiderer needs to know what color it should be. If you are unsure how these changes will affect the look of your embroidery then its best to adapt your artwork before starting the embroidery set-up. This way adjustments can be made easily so you can create the look you want for your custom embroidered polo shirts.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Embroidered Designs: Hand Drawn Images

Occasionally I'll receive a hand drawn image as artwork and the artist will request that the logo be embroidered as a multi color image. For example, the customer will submit a one-color drawing and ask that it be embroidered as a three-color design. If the image consists of distinct shapes without outlining the colors can be set-up so each area can be a different thread color. This process will work because it allows the thread colors to be easily changed, added or deleted if necessary.

Problems arise when the artwork is a more complicated design. For example, a logo containing a variety of sections can be very hard to visualize in different colors. If a more detailed logo is digitized with each element as a separate color then that can unnecessarily add to the set-up cost especially if the design is eventually embroidered with a limited number of colors.

How do you handle this situation? Basically you have two options:

1. Have the artwork vectorized (redrawn). There is a minimal charge for vectorization but once your artwork is converted into line art an artist can easily try different color combinations so you can decide how the colors should be before your artwork is set-up for embroidery.

2. Add color to your hand drawn image. Make copies of your original image and use colored pencils to add color to copies of your artwork. This will allow you to visualize your image with color while allowing you to redo your work if you make a mistake or want to try different color combinations.

Experimenting with different color options before having your design embroidered will give you a better understanding of your artwork while alowing you to produce a better embroidered image. One final note - Don't forget the background color! The fabric color of the item to be embroidered must be considered.