February '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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The "which" hunt… Font or Lettering? by n Intermediate u Advanced Helen Hart Momsen P reparing letters is an important component in embroidery design work. The embroidery industry in the United States places more emphasis on namedrops, monograms and general lettering than its European and Asian markets, giving rise to the constant plea for software that offers excellent lettering at all sizes… and more and better lettering for software already on the market. Because letters are recognizable shapes, our customers have a solid idea of what they should look like and this creates a higher expectation of perfection. Thus, let's take a look at how to achieve precision when working with lettering and fonts. of characters. So, is it possible to create lettering that really behaves font-esque or are we simply buying lettering that is misnamed and requires tweaking? Just as our customers have greater expectation of lettering appearance we, as professionals, have greater expectations of something billed as a "font." At least I do. And, since it is impossible for monogram or personalization specialists to always the case. For one, quality can suffer when changing the size with pre-digitized lettering. There are recommended sizes for use and some embroiderers try to save money by forcing them into one-size-fitsall. Here, recommended is the operative word. These are guidelines, not absolutes. It is better to invest in more than one size than to compromise quality. Poorly-digitized fonts can especially exhibit major flaws when enlarged, however slightly. Working with the native file of your software is always the best policy. I can accept the limitations of size far more graciously than the need to edit and edit again the lettering itself. It is well known that a change in a design's size necessitates a change in stitch type or tie-ins and -outs. It is just as true with lettering and perhaps more critical because of the recognizable nature of the components. Lettering and Fonts Typeface is the design of lettering— the shape, the use (or not) of serifs, and any special qualities or decorative touches that comprise the letters, numbers and symbols. There Creating Keyboard can be more than one version of Fonts a typeface, such as italic and bold. In my mind, a keyboard font allows These are given a name, like "Arial" the lettering to be typed in as needed or "Times New Roman." (hence keyboard). True font creators Digitizing one initial is simple. should digitize each shape painsIn some script lettering, the connectors between the With a monogram, it is easy enough takingly to produce perfect curves letters do not always line up correctly, which makes it to situate them next to each other and clean stems with as little overlook unprofessional. Embroiderer Janet Lindstrom's in a pleasing manner. But when we lap as possible. Lettering should be solution is to mix fonts to make the design look right. begin to combine letters into names digitized with minimal trims inside (Image courtesy Janet Lindstrom, Elegant Stitches) or word strings, we are entering the the character so that any overlaps world of the font. A font is a comin the uprights or stems will stitch avoid making an investment in fonts or plete set of all the characters that comprise correctly, no matter the sequence of the lettering, it is important to investigate and a certain typeface in a specific size, includlettering. Since the embroiderer often arlearn about them. ing uppercase and lowercase letters, small ranges lettering right-to-left and centercaps, numbers and symbols. out, as well as the usual left-to-right, this Unlike the monogram, it becomes more is an important consideration in creating The Quality of "Fonts" difficult to achieve smooth connections in a true working font. Here are a handful of Embroiderers expect digitized fonts to a font because we are dealing with a set other considerations and tips: behave like graphic fonts. But that isn't 72 | Printwear PW_FEB13.indd 72 February 2013 1/18/13 10:17 AM

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