Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ordering Embroidery: Fast. Fast. Fast!

Its 2010. We want everything fast, fast, FAST! Ordering products online has never been easier. But wait, what about customized items such as embroidered shirts and screen printed T's? Can we expect those products as quickly? It depends...

While production time is partially dependant on the current workload, staff and equipment in the shop the particular job requirements play a large role in determining how long it will take to finish a custom job. Unlike ordering blank clothes from an online vendor, customized items such as embroidered polo shirts and screen printed T's can't just be pulled, boxed and shipped. Questions such as determining the correct size, colors and decorating process come into play and delay the procedure. Yes, there are exceptions. Its fairly easy to "design" a customized item with software such as an online designer tool but these simplified systems are only capable of allowing users to construct basic images rather than create logo quality designs.

What are some of the additional steps involved when customizing something? Deciding the appropriate colors and size; proofing artwork and production time are some of the elements in the process. Can you "streamline" your order to facilitate production? Yes. These steps can be taken to decrease production time:

1. Finalize your artwork. That includes all text. If you don't have the capability to add your own text have an idea of the color, type of font, size and placement of the text. Many people will say "Just put the text below the image". But is that what you really want? Will that text stand out and help create a unique design?

2. Provide the highest resolution artwork you have. Some people hesitate to do this because they feel their artwork many be stolen but the chance of someone finding your artwork so unique that they would steal it is extremely unlikely. Instead, your poor grade artwork may cost you a higher set-up charge.

3. Finalize your colors ahead of time. This includes considering the background or color of the item being decorated. This is one of the most common mistakes. Customers associate the color of their business name with their business so they pick shirts that are the same or a very close to the color of the text in their logo. Instead of choosing the same color, choose a contrasting col0r that works with the colors in your logo.

4. Know how many designs will be included on the items. This includes text in all locations such as the back and sleeves.

5. Carefully proof your set-up. You should receive some type of proof before your items are customized. Take time to check spelling and ask questions if you are uncertain about an element such as the size.

Finally, leave extra time for possible set-up edits, production problems and shipping. Artwork changes and production mistakes can slow down the process so its good to have an extra day or two to handle these issues. Shipping across the county will add a week so leave additional time for that unless you want to pay for expedited shipping. The bottom line - purchasing custom logo clothing isn't the same as "off the rack" buying. If you want the best job that meets your expectations leave extra time when ordering custom embroidered or screen printed clothing.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Your Embroidered Logo: Get the Gold!

Have gold in your logo? Having a unique, memorable logo will go a long way toward branding your business. But, in this case I'm referring to the color "gold". If you do have gold in your embroidered logo, do you have trouble getting the right shade of gold? Is it too light, too dark, too yellow?

If so you're in good company. Gold is one of the most popular shades used in business logos but getting the correct shade of gold thread in your embroidered logo can be difficult. It may look okay in your digital proof but not in person. How can you obtain the right "gold"? Request embroidered samples that show different shades of gold. Then you can pick the shade that looks best to you!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Business Branding Tips: Business Name Font

Using your business name in a block font just below your embroidered logo doesn't say much about your business other than the fact that you provide a basic service. But, choosing a particular font in the right size, thickness, spacing and placement describes more about your individual business and the unique services you provide. Even though you may not be involved in a "creative" business, if you don't distinguish yourself from your competitors how will you effectively compete against them?

The choice is yours. The logo on your embroidered shirts will be seen wherever you go. With it you have the chance to gain the interest and possibly the business of new customers. Do you think a logo that is unique and memorable is more likely to help you acquire new business?

So, pass on the unedited clipart images and the basic block font. Instead, spend time thinking about how you can develop a unique presence that identifies your business and how you serve your customers!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Custom Logo or Generic Clip Art?

Have I mentioned how many times customers have said they have a logo and can I just embroider their name below it? Sometimes they have custom logo that includes their business or group name and they want to reinforce that name below the logo. That's fine. What I question is when their "logo" isn't a unique design but is instead a generic clip art image. Does adding a business name below such an image create a business logo? No!

Your business logo is a custom design that describes what you do and how you do it. It brands your image. It should be readable, unique and memorable. In less than four square inches of space it can say who you market to, what type of product you sell and the quality of services you provide. So, will your business logo consist of a commonly seen generic clipart image or will it promote your custom brand?

And what about placing your business name below the image in a common font? Is that the best marketing move for your company? What does that say about the unique services you provide your customers so they'll choose your business over your competitors?

More coming... -jd