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Why Digitizing Involves More Than You Think [Interview]

One of the first steps taken in the embroidery process is the digitization of a logo.  This step creates a digital file that will speak to our embroidery machines and tell them how to proceed with the embroidery.  In this age of technology some assume this process is as easy as the push of a button, although this is far from the case.  

To give you a window in the mind of an embroidery digitizer, we spoke with our own in-house digitizer, Carla.  You may be surprised to learn the skill and knowledge required to perform this task.

What do you need to start digitizing a logo?
Carla: First I need high resolution artwork of what needs to be digitized.
 
What type of factors do you consider before starting a new digitizing project?
Carla: I consider the size of the overall design, what type of garment it will be sewn on, and the optimal sequence of sew out.
 
Why does the type of garment matter?
Carla: It could be embroidery for caps, shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, etc.  I will adjust the sequence of embroidered objects depending on the type of garment to help with registration and to lessen puckering and thread breaks.
 
Are there any other factors that effect the sequence?
Carla: I consider the amount of thread colors and objects that are next to each other so the machine doesn't have to move around so much.  This makes for smoother, better looking embroidery.
 
Is the type of fabric being embroidered relevant to the digitizing process?
Carla: Oh yes.  It impacts the density of the stitches you need to have.  Too many stitches can make a hole in the garment, cause major puckering, many thread breaks and other undesired outcomes.  So knowing the type of fabric ahead of time is very important.  If the same logo is being embroidered on a variety of fabrics I will make different files for each fabric.
 
Are there other factors in regards to the garment you keep in mind?
Carla: The color of the garment versus the color of the embroidery can make a difference in how I digitize a logo.  For example if it's going to be a high contrast embroidery such as white on black fabric, or more of a tone on tone embroidery such as gray on black fabric.
 
Does creativity come in to play when you're digitizing a logo?
Carla: Quite often.  Creativity with texture is needed on objects that may not show in flat artwork.  For example if a logo includes elements such as water, fire or trees, to name a few that come to mind.  There are embroidery methods that will make these elements pop out almost in a 3-D manner.  The way the light catches different directional thread also comes into play.
 
How long have you been digitizing artwork for embroidery?
Carla: About 14 years.  Great, now I feel old.
 
Thanks to Carla for giving us some insight into the digitizing process.  We are really glad to have her as an important member of Midwest Stitch. 
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