One of the major benefits of embroidery is that it offers much more scope for creativity than printing. It makes sense to take advantage of this as much as possible. With that in mind, Yes Group specialists in providing printing and embroidery equipment, share their tips on how to create embroidery designs that pop, especially if you’re selling online!
Table Of Contents
- 1 Respect the three-colour rule
- 2 You can add black and white to this as they don’t count as colours.
- 3 Add borders
- 4 Have fun with fonts
- 5 Vary your stitches to create texture and interest
- 6 Try out different thread types
- 7 Add in extra elements
- 8 Create your designs using drawing tools for children
- 9 Choose your digitising service carefully
Respect the three-colour rule
The three-colour rule is also known as the 60-30-10 rule. According to this rule,
- 60% of a design should be one colour (the main or dominant colour),
- 30% should be a colour that complements the main colour
- 10% should be a contrasting colour.
You can add black and white to this as they don’t count as colours.
This is a good rule to follow in commercial embroidery. On the one hand, it makes for designs that can be appreciated at a quick glance. On the other hand, it still allows for enough detail for a design to stay interesting even if it’s looked at for long periods.
In general, you want to use the accent colour to direct the eye to the most important part of the design. The main colour will make up most of the background. The complementary colour is used for any additional elements or just to create extra interest.
If you really want to push boundaries, there is nothing to stop you. Even so, it’s advisable to set an absolute hard maximum of six colours. This includes gradients of a single colour. These will require different threads and therefore count as different colours.
Just as a frame sets off a picture so a border sets off embroidery. The standard place to use borders is on the outside of a design. Essentially, you’re replicating the effect of a frame.
You can, however, also use borders internally. Depending on the design, you might wish to do this by stealth. For example, you could use a window to create an internal frame.
Alternatively, you could do so openly. For example, if you had a design that used an orange, you could put a border around the orange. If the orange was cut open, you could put a border around each of its segments.
Have fun with fonts
A lot of embroidery designs contain some element of lettering. It can be very easy to get into the habit of using the same tried and trusted fonts. In fact, if you’re creating your designs using software, you probably bring them up automatically.
This isn’t necessarily bad. There are definitely occasions when you want to stick with what you know and trust. It can, however, become dull and uninspiring. Instead, at least try using some different fonts. If you really don’t like the result, you can go back to using one of your regular lettering styles.
You can also try livening up fonts you regularly use by adding different elements to them. For example, you could add shadows to give more depth or even create the illusion of letters being three-dimensional. Having just said all that, you still want to avoid serif fonts. These tend to give a fussy appearance when used in embroidery.
Vary your stitches to create texture and interest
Using the same stitch across a design is simple. Again, however, it can quickly become dull and uninspiring, especially over larger designs. If there is a reason why you need to use a particular stitch type, then at least try varying the spacing and alignment of the stitches. This in itself will usually be enough to create some impression of texture.
If, on the other hand, you have more of a free rein then use it. Try out different stitches and see what impression they create. As always, if you don’t like the effect, you can always backtrack and use fewer stitch types.
Try out different thread types
Plain colours are the default in embroidery as in most other needlecrafts. They are, however, very far from being the only choice. For example, you can also buy glow-in-the-dark, iridescent, metallic and variegated threads. These might be a bit too powerful to use throughout a design but they can be great for adding a pop of interest.
Even if you stick to regular, plain colours, you can still ring in the changes by changing out your threads. For example, if you were doing work for a high-end brand that wanted a luxury look, you could use threads with a velvety appearance and texture.
Add in extra elements
You can combine embroidery with printing. This may, however, need to be done with caution. These hybrid designs can look great when new. The problem is that printing does not tend to survive repeated wear and washing the way embroidery does. With that said, it can be an option on some items.
Another option is to add different elements to your embroidery designs such as sequins and crystals. These do more than just add shine. They also bring in new depth and texture and sometimes new colours as well.
Create your designs using drawing tools for children
The most eye-catching embroidery designs are based on thick, strong lines and clean shapes. Ideally, your thinnest lines should be a minimum width of 0.125cm. Your shapes should be regular, geometric shapes.
If you go for thin lines and/or highly textured shapes, your design is not going to stand out as well as it would have done if you’d gone for simplicity. At worst, it may end up looking confusing or even messy.
Drawing tools intended for children encourage simplicity (and boldness). This is just what you need for embroidery designs that pop. Try making your initial drawings with a marker pen, felt-tip pen or even crayon. Then tidy them up if necessary.
Choose your digitising service carefully
Once you’ve created your design, make sure you make it past the final hurdle by choosing your digitising service carefully. If you’re planning on digitising your own designs, take time to learn how to do it effectively. There is a technique to it.
Also, even once you know that technique, you may still need to apply a little trial and error to each new design. This experimentation is what can take a digitisation from good to great.