February '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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54 || P R I N T W E A R F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 Digitizing is Forever Breaking down digitizing B Y E D L E V Y A basic understanding of digitiz- ing is more than a skill; it is a necessity. All too often I watch new entrepreneurs enter the em- broidery industry and place zero emphasis on digitizing. I have heard every rationale possible from "I don't have the time to learn," to "It is too complicated," but the most popular one is, "I can get great deals by outsourcing." While each one of those statements has merit, it is not enough to base an entire decision. What happens when you have a rush order, and you can't reach your digitizer? What happens with a very easy design that you could do in less time than it takes you to send the order to your digitizer? Simply put, if you purchase software without digitizing capabilities, you are in- curring an expense. If you purchase digitiz- ing software, you are investing in the capa- bility of providing a fast ROI. ALL IN ORDER Outsourcing is great. It frees up precious time and allows an expert with a specific skill to produce designs for you. However, it is not an all or nothing scenario. Outsourcing 80 percent of all work and producing 20 percent in house is an at- tainable percentage for most embroiderers. Embroidery software closely resembles most graphics programs. You use a series of tools to create objects on the screen that translate into stitches upon output. The difference between artwork and embroidery is that the digitizer for em- broidery is also responsible for how the machine runs. The first part of digitizing is studying the design and understanding exactly how you will create it for maximum efficiency and quality. Sometimes you have to give up a little efficiency for quality. Let's take a look at the digitizing process. The following design may look compli- cated for a beginner, but with a little un- derstanding and practice, most everyone should be able to do a design like this without any issues. First, we need to look at sequence. There are some guidelines for determining se- quence that are wise to follow. As a rule, you want to start with larger areas and work towards smaller areas, and you want to Ed Levy is the director of software products at Hirsch Solutions Inc. and owner of Digitize4u, an embroidery and digitizing operation. A 23-year industry veteran, Levy has owned screen printing, embroidery, and digitizing businesses. In 2001, Levy began consulting and founded EmbForum, a profes- sional Tajima DG/ML by Pulse software users group. For this design I chose to do the red first as that is the largest area. Next will be the dark shading followed by the gold areas. After this, I would do the black borders and then proceed to the background of the arrow, the arrow, outline of the arrow, and then the text. (All images courtesy Hirsch Solutions Inc.)

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