Tips for Creating Eye-Catching Embroidery Artwork

By Ed Levy, Contributing Writer

June 28, 2019

Embroidery continues to maintain its popularity as a reigning imprinting option for company branding. According to IBISWorld’s 2019 Industry Market Research Report, the commercial embroidery industry has seen modest growth over the last five years, even amid competitive pressures from overseas manufacturers and e-commerce giants that notoriously swallow large chunks of the promotional pie.

For decorators of all sizes, it’s important to offer a unique twist on your products and services, to bring value to your customers and grow your business. Here are five tips for creating eye-catching embroidery artwork for your eager clients.

1. Create multimedia designs. There’s nothing more captivating than layered, multimedia design. A garment that features elements of DTG, embroidery and crystals, for example, takes the viewer on a visual journey of color, texture, depth and shine—which means your customer’s brand gets noticed and remembered by their target audience. Collaborate with another decorator for a one-of-a-kind design or add to your own in-house offerings so that you can offer outstanding mixed-media work.

2. Add borders that pop. To add depth to an otherwise traditional text logo, add borders or shadows to the design. While your stitch count will be higher, a subtle detail like this makes the text appear raised. Variable borders and other programmed runs can transform a static logo with standard satin stitches into a visually appealing design that appeals to customers with uniform or branded merch needs.

3. Experiment with new fonts. Most embroiderers have their go-to fonts from lettering software or font generator tools. However, if you’re looking for a simple way to add a fresh look, it’s worth experimenting with different fonts. Script and block styles, for instance, can work well for a client who’s hosting a special event or opening a new branch of their business. Fancy fonts allow you to create designs that both match the customer’s classic brand and indicate a separate venture.

4. Use fancy fill patterns. For larger designs, change the spacing and alignment of the fill stitch penetrations to create different textures and patterns. Decorative stitch types—special satin, stem and candlewicking—help populate bigger and wider areas with patterned stitching and add texture on a design that may otherwise appear solid and dull.

5. Try specialty threads. Eye-catching threads like metallic, iridescent, variegated and glow-in-the-dark options add personality to garments and help customers tell their brand story. A band may prefer to highlight tour merchandise with metallic thread, while an upscale interior design client may love a thread that appears velvety and smooth. The beauty of specialty threads is that they can be used as much or as little as needed to convey a feeling or message.

Train your staff embroiderers and digitizers to think outside the box and encourage experimentation in your shop. By offering innovative ideas and quality products, your business will stand out among the growing number of decorating companies.

Ed Levy has more than 25 years of apparel-decorating experience. Levy, who’s director of software technologies for Hirsch Solutions, is an in-demand speaker at trade shows and regular contributor to industry magazines.