In a nutshell, embroidery is ‘the multicolour decoration of flexible fabrics by using a needle and yarn’…
But to help our customers grasp a better understanding of the process, we have written up this blog post to run you through the key factors involved in the branding technique. Before we get into the ins and outs of embroidery, it is important for us to clarify what is meant by the term ‘digitising’. Digitising is the process of converting artwork into a stitch file that can be read by an embroidery machine and interpreted as different stitch types.
1: Preparing Artwork for Embroidery Digitising
Firstly, we will analyse your artwork to confirm that the design is suitable to be edited for embroidery. It is important to remember that not all logos will work well in embroidery format and subsequently some designs may need to be simplified. In addition to correctly sizing a logo, elements such as outlining may need to be eliminated and small text may need to be enlarged.
2: ‘Pathing’ in Digitising
After your artwork has been modified in the graphics program, the file can be opened in an embroidery program where it will form a template for creating a stitch file. The digitiser must then decide how the pathing in the logo will run. ‘Pathing’ is the sequence of stitches in a design from start to finish and it can affect how an embroidered design will lie when it is finished. If a design is not embroidered in the correct sequence, you may have unwanted gaps of fabric or uneven text. The pathing also affects how long your design will run on the embroidery machine for; although you may not be directly concerned about the running time, a shorter, smoother design will cost you less!
3: Embroidery Stitch Types
The digitiser begins the process by adding underlay stitches to your chosen fabric. Although you cannot see them in a finished logo, having the correct underlay is essential to creating a clear logo. Underlays help to stabilise your fabric to the backing (another essential element in embroidery), whilst ensuring the stitches have a smooth surface to embroider on.
Failure to use the correct underlay can cause stitches to sink into the material or allow the fabric to show through the design. Stitches will sink into fabrics such as polar fleece and lay on the surface of denser fabrics such as nylon.
There are only three basic stitch types: run, satin and fill stitches, which are used to cover large areas. A logo that was originally digitised for denim, a fabric that allows stitches to lay on the surface, won’t look as good when embroidered on a pique knit where the stitches sink into the fabric.
4: The Push and Pull of Embroidery
Another important aspect of embroidery is the ‘push and pull’. A design may move while being embroidered; this will cause some stitches to shift. Shifting can occur when a bulky fabric is being used. Other factors such as long stitches, large areas of thread and a tight bobbin thread can also cause shifting. A digitiser will account for the possibility of ‘push and pull’ effects on a design and make adjustments to compensate.
5: Embroidery Pointers
While the majority of business logos are fairly easy to digitise, designs with fine detailing, small text and lots of colour changes are more complex and can require a lengthier set-up time. Digitising is a careful process that requires time and experience to be performed correctly. Our embroiderers provide digitised designs of quality that are sure to enhance any logo.
The method lends itself particularly well to fabric items such as blankets, towels, bags, parkas, caps, etc. As a method of branding, it has a higher perceived value than other forms such as screen printing. It should be noted that embroidery is a very economical technique for colourful logos as there is no additional charge for colour changes. Perhaps one of embroidery’s key selling points is the fact that orders can be placed in quantities as low as 1 and 2.
So next time you are making Promotional Merchandise purchases, consider embroidery as a technique!