Communicating your needs to your Digitizer

Greetings everyone,

Cora’s corner is so good this month I am going to shamelessly borrow from her content as with minor adjustments it applies as much to your digitizer as it does with your artist.

There are several elements involve to creating quality digitizing. The obvious information would be what elements in a piece of art should be included in the finished design should be. However other factors can affect the outcome just as much.

You need to tell your artist;

1)     How many colors in the design.

It might seem obvious, but it isn’t.  Be sure you let your programmer know which colors need to be stitched.  This is especially important if there are large white areas in your design.  Should these white areas be stitched or should they be left negative (fabric showing through) to help reduce overall stitch count..

2) What colors are in the design.

If your programmer is going to sample your design for you and your intent is to use that sample to show your customer, make sure you let your programmer know what colors she should use when sampling your design.  This will save you and her and you time (money!).

3) How big the design needs to be.

Size matters, period.  It is critical to let your programmer the size you want your design to be. 

4) What color(s) is the garment.

Color of the garment affects what density a programmer might use for fills in a design.  When laying a light fille (like white) on top of a deep, rich color like red, if slightly higher densities are not used the fill area can appear pink.  This can be countered with more aggressive underlay, higher density on top stitching or both.

5)   What fabric the garment is made of.

This is the second most important thing (after size) you need to let your programmer know.  The type of fabric a design will sew on will significantly impact the final quality of your order.

6) What format the image file needs to be.

Creating and saving the design in the proper format is important because of how your printer needs to manipulated the file or output the file.

7)  Are there color blends in the design.

For the most part color blends or secondary colors necessary to create another don’t work well in embroidery. Since threads are solid they can’t be mixed to gradually transition from one color to another.  Given enough space and an embroiders tolerance to multiple color changes blends can be “faked” but how well the blend is accepted is always at the subjective view of your end user.

8) Will specialty threads be used?

Specialty threads like metallic, neon, 60wt, 30wt and other require special techniques for optimum performance.  If you know you will be using a specialty thread it is really important to let your digitizer know.

9) What font(s) need to be in the design.

The term FONT does not really apply to embroidery.  For programmers, ALPHABETY or STOCK LETTERING is more accurate.  Embroidery cannot duplicate the intricacies of many fonts.  Because of these we (digitizers) program facsimile of these fonts and give them our own names.  A software package might call one of their ALPHABETS Times New Roman but I can assure you, on close examination you will find it will be at best, close.  But Times New Roman, nope, no way.

10) Halftones and/or solids.

Similar to the issue with blends, halftones (images created by dot patterns) are not really possible with embroidery.  If you have half tones in your design your programmer will need to ask you how you want her to deal with them.

The more information you can give your digitizer before they start, the quicker they can design what you need. And this will greatly increase the odds that she will return your design free of flaws on the first pass.

Until next month…

Steve Freeman
Managing Partner
Qdigitizing North America