September '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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22 || P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 Jennifer Cox is the president and co-founder of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), a professional organization for apparel decoration busi- ness owners. NNEP supports the success of NNEP mem- bers with best practices, ideas, sources, solutions, vol- ume-buying benefits, and services. Cox was recognized as a Top 50 Small Business Influencer and Community Choice Leader by Small Biz Trends in 2013, is recognized as one of the industry's "Most Creative Thinkers," and repeatedly ranks in the top 40 on the industry's "Power List." Reach her at or go to C ustomers send embroidery professionals on wild goose chases nearly every single day. But what is perhaps the most annoying and recurring quest that we are sent on, you ask? "It must match this font." Here is the hard truth. If the objective of your company is to make money, it stands to reason that spending hours scouring the internet to find an exact match for that funky font in an already existing embroidery font is simply not realistic, particularly if it is for a one item order. Yet, you are trying to satisfy the customer so that they are a happy customer. What is an embroiderer to do? THE SEARCH BEGINS The first thing I would suggest if you're having trouble finding a match is to check with the company that distributes your embroi- dery software. What fonts are currently available for that software? If there are options for expanding your font arsenal, they will let you know. After all, if they offer a solution as an add-on or upsell, they win, too. Ask if they offer any programs that let you bring TrueType fonts into your digitizing system and convert them into embroidery fonts, giving you the ability to create an endless variety of fonts on command. Please keep in mind that even when you bring in a new font and run it through the digitizing software to generate the embroidery file using the new font, you will need to review the sew file and tweak the lettering a bit. The software does most of the heavy lifting, but it is likely that you will need to adjust nodes here and there to get it to sew out really well. "You still need to look at stitch angles to make sure you are getting the look you want," says Ed Levy of Hirsch Solutions Inc. I always look closely at the lowercase letters a, b, d, e, g, p, q, and o, as well as the uppercase letters A, B, D, P, Q, and R to make sure they are not a mess on the inner edges. You may need to adjust the spac- ing between some letters or between the first uppercase letter and following lowercase letter (this is known as "kerning"). I would also ask if the digitizing software com- pany can recommend any aftermarket sources of fonts that will integrate with your digitizing software. Lee Caroselli of Balboa Threadworks Embroidery Designs recommends you research a company before buying their fonts. "Check their reviews. Go on the user boards and online chats to ask for recommendations for sources of fonts from other embroiderers that use the same software that you have," she advises. The Never-Ending Quest ...and what to do about it STITCH SOLUTIONS B Y J E N N I F E R C O X In many software programs, you can create a new font using an already existing font. (Image courtesy Stacie Baker, Casual Rags Embroidery & Apparel)

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