This article offers advice on selecting the appropriate digitizing software for your embroidery operation.
By Ed Levy
The digitizing process has experienced many dramatic changes during the past 30 years. Modern technology can make short work of designs that would have taken hours and hours to complete in the past. Pricing of designs has also changed. At one time a 10,000-stitch left-chest design might have cost in excess of $200, but today that same design would command a fraction of that price.
Does price have anything to do with quality—specifically, the price of the software? Does experience have anything to do with the quality? The answer to these questions are not yes or no answers. The answer to each one of those questions is it depends.
If you’re looking to add digitizing to your list of services, should you buy the most expensive package or buy the least expensive one to just test the waters? Your software purchase is an investment in your company and not an expense. Find the software that has the features you need to obtain the highest return on your investment. Only you can decide which software package has the features you need for that high ROI.
One of the first things to do is evaluate your business model. Screen printers who are looking to get into embroidery should take stock of which graphics programs they already use. Do you use Adobe Illustrator for your graphics? Do you use a PC? Do you use a Mac—or perhaps both? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then be on the lookout for an Adobe Illustrator plug-in (Figure 1). An Illustrator plug-in will allow you to access your digitizing functions within that application. Note that all drawing tools would remain Adobe Illustrator, thereby eliminating the need to learn a new program for graphics creation. The integrated digitizing functions would convert those shapes from standard vector-based shapes into digitized shapes. Another significant advantage associated with this type of a plug-in is that it doesn’t matter whether you use a PC or a Mac.
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