Steve Gilbert, embroidery technician at Your Embroidery Services, provides typographical advice for embroidery on schoolwear

Small text that is readable is the holy grail of digitising and is a vitally important subject to embroiders and digitisers.

In the context of embroidery, ‘small text’ is any font where the narrowest part of any letter in the words comes close to the minimum satin width that is practical for the fabric that is being embroidered.

This is very much dictated by the font being used: styles that have very little variation in the thickness of the letter shape and are bold work at a much smaller size than fonts that have a larger variety of stem widths or are very light and delicate. Two very good examples of fonts that work well when reduced in size are ‘block’ fonts: Arial Bold and Helvetica Bold/Heavy.

The smallest a block font will look really good at is around about 5mm. This is because 1mm is about the narrowest a satin stitch can be produced at without increasing the risk of thread breaks or, worse, thread frays.

As a rule of thumb, to produce the small text, use block fonts that are bold, and avoid fancy script and roman serif fonts. Keep it simple!

This is an excerpt from an article by Steve Gilbert on how to create small, legible text.