April '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 26 of 90

Erich Campbell is an award-winning commercial embroi- dery digitizer with more than 15 years of experience as well as a long-time e-commerce manager, currently the partner relationship manager for DecoNetwork. A con- stant contributor to the industry's content landscape through webinars, podcasts, social media, and more, Erich is an evangelist for the craft, a stitch-obsessed embroi- dery believer, and firmly holds to constant, lifelong learning and the free exchange of technique and experience through conversations with his fellow stitch-workers. As a current industry and fiber-arts blogger and once medievalist-in-training turned tech-obsessed embroidery designer, Campbell brings his varied experience and in- terests to bear as an editorial author for numerous industry publications, a member of editorial boards, and a consultant for product support groups. ERICH'S EMBELLISHMENTS B Y E R I C H C A M P B E L L D igitizing can't always be easy, but it could be easier. Though certain designs can be difficult to render, and thread can't replicate everything that appears in print or digital media, our preparation, or lack thereof, can sometimes make it harder than it has to be. New digitizers may not know their tools as well as they should, but many production digitizers like myself are trained to get files created and on the machines as fast as possible. While it's a noble thing to keep the needles constantly moving, this rush sometimes means that we jump ahead of our process, losing time with poor results or in having to rework designs. Some of us may find our- selves halting for the opposite reason as we focus on perfection in stitch quality rather than speed and end up stalled as we are either overworking a design, eschewing time-saving tools, or stunned by an overly large or detailed job. Luckily, we can improve both our pre-digitizing routine and our working process to make the work easier at every step. START WITH ART Always analyze your art for pain points like small lettering, tiny or excessively dense details, overly ambitious gradients, or photo- realistic rendering. Though you can create amazing embroidery of all manner with practice and an artistic eye, discussing these pain points with your customer allows you to set their expecta- tions from the first interaction. Let your customer help you make decisions about what elements are must-haves in their design, and either alter the art yourself or have it altered by your graphic artist for pre-digitizing approval if any major changes must be made to accommodate the medium of thread. Not only will this increase customer understanding and accountability, the prepared art will be easier to follow in your digitizing process. Remember, any Better Digitizing Smart solutions for better designs If you are struggling with the planning stages of a design, it may be helpful to draw the outlines of proposed shapes to show layering and intersec- tions before coloring to help with the aesthetic as well as the functional order of stitching. (All images courtesy the author) 22 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 8

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