Few aspects of my job as a Sharprint Sales Insider are as disheartening as having to utter any statement that contains the words "we can't." It goes against the entire credo of this super-positive team of go-getters. However, when it comes to direct to garment printing, one limitation lingers every day -- the garment options for digital printing.
In the decorated apparel industry, it is very important to capture the greatest level of detail possible to leave the customer with the end result that they expect.
With a professional digitizer and the appropriate machinery, it is possible to achieve very detailed and excellent embroidery results.
However, there are limitations to the amount of achievable detail when applying embroidery. When embroidering letters, it is important to follow a few guidelines and understand what will and will not work.
Ever wonder how a company logo or cool design goes from a digital art file to a beautifully embroidered shirt? The process is called digitizing and the artists that do it are called - you guessed it - digitizers. Basically, digitizing is redrawing a logo or design as stitches in a special embroidery software program designed to do just that. We use a program called Punto at Sharprint. Digitizers aren’t just digital artists, though, they have to be experts in the craft of embroidery.
The first step in digitizing art for embroidery is trouble shooting the design and considering the fabric to be sew. The digitizer looks for small detail or letters that won’t sew well to inform you or your client if something won’t work. Then the digitizer comes up with a plan to produce the best looking and performing embroidery. This plan is communicated through the software in terms of the type of stitch used, density of the stitch, what type of underlay stitch will be used, thread color, and logo size. Let’s take a look, shall we?
This is the logo we will use on our little visual trip. You can see the vector paths (blue lines) making up the logo on the right.
The Cause and Solution of Pallet Marks
Every so often, screen printers are faced with certain obstacles they need to overcome in order to provide their customers with the best possible looking custom apparel.
Digital garment printing can be a solution for small quantities, hasty needs, and it can also be a source of exclusive products that are not easily replicated. By promoting these strengths of the medium, its likely your clients will be unaware of the numerous steps and time it takes to complete these production tasks. We recorded the processes to share the exacting and labor intensive process that goes into these fast turnarounds on high quality custom garments.
1. All Shapes & Sizes
First and foremost, submitting Vector art is always best. What makes vector art special is that everything is defined by shapes, as opposed to raster art’s pixels. This means the image never degrades at any size. A vector art image could be used for an inside tag, an all over print or a billboard without any pixelation or loss of quality. Vector images are very simple to change color, scale, orientation, etc. Also, vector images don’t need separations or the fees that go along with them, unless they are very very complex in color.
There are many decisions to be made and details to be communicated when ordering decorated and promotional apparel. If you’ve ordered even once, you are well aware. The number of decisions and details is multiplied by each client you are working with and each item they are having imprinted. Wow. That’s a lot to keep track of.
You’re awesome and have it covered, we know. Regardless, we’ve got your back. The Four Simple Steps is a system for placing orders that helps organize the details and keeps you informed about the progress of your custom screen print, embroidery, and digital print orders. Our goal is to make working with us easy. By pro-actively providing you with status updates, you can continue getting business instead of being bogged down by the orders you already have.
Step 1: Order Approval
The modern day apparel industry is forever changing & evolving with new technologies and techniques. Throughout these changes, there has remained a common technique most popular for printing on light garments and vintage apparel. The technique is called soft-hand printing, and it includes a method that uses fashion soft base additives and water-based inks.
When ordering embroidered clothing it is helpful to understand the process and become familiar with what is available and possible. The following six things to consider will help you to order the right clothing for your needs, fitting your budget, and in the time that you expect.
- Do you have your design ready? For some people, creating a design or logo is a piece of cake. Others may need professional assistance or guidance to produce the desired results. Often the embroidery company can help with the design, or you may choose to work with a marketing or design agency. Note that your design will communicate a message – it could be your business logo to identify employees and staff, or it could be your sports logo to unite your team. Make sure your design will send the right message about the person who wears the clothing. Also note that some designs or logos are protected, such as the Olympic rings. Before using a logo make sure you have rights to do so.
- Which embroidery technique do you prefer? There are different types of embroidery that can be used for your project. Note that the fabric that you use can affect the quality of your embroidery and the type of embroidery technique that can be used – so consider your fabric choice as well as the other options. The basic embroidery can be used for simple text, logos or graphics. You can also request specialty embroidery such as gradient coloring, puff embroidery, applique and more. If you have more elaborate graphics or art in your design, you may need to provide a high resolution design to make sure the image is properly copied. Consider using vector files created from Adobe Illustrator or a similar product for ideal results.
- Stitching techniques and thread types add a special touch. The satin stitch is used the most often, but there are other options to consider for your project. A walking stitch gives a “hand sewn” look to your design. The fill stitch is also available to fill in areas with color and to layer designs. The thread that you use can be one of two types. Rayon is shiny and silky looking that looks very professional. The polyester thread is very durable and strong with not as much shine.
- Color matching makes your design. There are difference types of thread colors to consider. Metallic, rainbow, reflective, neon, and even color changing or glow in the dark are some of your options. Think about how these different colors can complement your design.
- When do you need it? Allow ample time to have your work completed. By avoiding a rush you can receive the highest quality and reduce the stress of trying to accomplish a big project in a short amount of time. Discuss with your provider about what is reasonable. You can put a rush on orders, but note that your price may increase.
- Stay within your budget. It is way too easy to go overboard with embroidered clothing because there are so many options to choose from. Have a budget in mind up front, and then make sure your prices and expenses stay within your goals.
Your logo consists of 3 colors, yet you’re being charged for a 4-color screen printing job. What? Why? Are decorating companies trying to pull a fast one on you? Though at first you may think otherwise, the answer is, no they are not.
You may be wondering, what and where is that fourth color coming from? That mysterious fourth color is actually what decorating manufacturers call an under base, white under base, or a flash. An under base is a necessary technique used in the screen printing industry.