April '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 2 0 A P R I L P R I N T W E A R 2 3 stitches/spaces in the design and the lon- gest stitches in the design. If a design has wide satin stitch areas or finely detailed, engraving-like straight stitch design, it likely can't be sized up, while tightly packed detail and small stitch length indi- cates a design can't be sized down. PERSONALIZATION All embroiderers should have some sort of lettering or customizing software that allows them to place designs and text and arrange them together in the hoop. Any- one who has ever worked with uniforms or team sports knows that individual personalization is one of the most classic ways to employ embroidery. No shop is complete, even with outsourced digitiz- ing, without software featuring the ability to arrange designs and add 'keyboard' let- tering. Keyboard lettering refers to any embroi- dered lettering you can 'type' text in as op- posed to individually placing letter files. This can come in object-based and stitch- based formats. The difference is all about sizing and settings. With object-based let- ters, a typeface will only need one 'font' as they have the features of a digitizer's work- ing file, meaning that the characters can be resized and the software will regenerate stitches in the letters based on a set den- sity, stitch-type, and angle for each object dynamically. Stitch-based 'fonts' can have equal quality to object based fonts but are composed of letters rendered from export- ed stitch files. This means that you may have several versions of the typeface, each rendered at a specific size. These fonts can only be resized by software that employs stitch processing to maintain a target den- sity despite scaling and are not able to have their constituent shapes edited in the way that object-based characters can allow. Even so, they can still be useful and techni- cally sound when used at appropriate sizes. Success in embroidery doesn't look the same for every shop. Whether you find yourself working in a home-based boutique business producing highly personalized small-run decora- tions or marshaling the multitude of heads seen in a contract-heavy production powerhouse, you'll always need to keep preparation, production, and promotion in mind. From planning and marketing as described in the previous installment, through the creative work of design and digitizing, and in the technical trials and triumphs of running the machines, it's care that sets us apart. As one-time amateurs, loving our craft translates well into caring for our customers and keeping our quality high. Love for the work is harder to learn than technique; there's nothing wrong with letting it lead the way. After all, it's easier to show a customer why embroidery is a worthwhile buy when you believe it. PW Erich Campbell has more than 18 years experience as an award-winning digitizer, e-commerce manager, and industry educator. He empowers decorators to do their best work and achieve a greater success. A current educator and long-time columnist, Erich takes every opportunity to provide value to the industry.

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