Ensure that logos are seen on printed fabrics by following some clear advice from Erich Campbell
If you’re like me, you’ll have counselled at least a few customers whose previous decorators’ attempts at branding on printedmaterials have rendered their logos unintelligible. Sadly, many decorators confine themselves to stitching the same logo on all garments, in the customary colours, regardless of the print on which it’s placed.
With a modicum of effort, however, you can create a decoration over a print that stands apart, both from the background and from the competition. You simply have to decide to go beyond the standard rendition, and choose either to fight the print or gowith the flow. The following simple concepts provide a method for educating the client, allowing you to start the design process with predefined examples to speed your client’s decision-making process.
Fight the print
Select colours that stand apart from all colours in the print to increase contrast. This can be quite difficult on highcontrast multi-colour prints.
Set it off Add an outline in a contrasting colour to both the print and main logo, setting simple elements apart from the background pattern. This strategy is not well suited to small, unsupported text or highly detailed free-floating shapes, but for larger text and simple shapes, outlines can work wonders.
Make a move Relocate the design on garments featuring a troublesome pattern or print in the standard decoration area. Use a non-traditional placement and target an area with an easier background to handle. Imagine a smaller identifying mark for a collar tip, sleeve or hip. Not every customer is so flexible, but those who refuse to alter their logos often appreciate options without additional background or framing elements.
Back it up Cover the print with either a fully filled background area or a patch-styled appliqué that supports and surrounds the logo. A carefully created, pliable fill or well-placed appliqué in a shape that complements your logo can provide an uncomplicated background to frame your decoration.
Go with the flow
Create a variant version Include the print as an element in your design. Design a new version of your decoration just for this garment that uses shapes and colours from the print, or which uses negative space to showcase it. Imagine the logotype reduced to a bold single-colour outline, leaving it to be filled with the print underneath.
Blend in by design Recolour your logo to align with the palette of the print and intentionally go for a lower-contrast tonal look. For brands that exude a calm class, these understated looks can hit the perfect note. For established brands with high recognition, or garments that won’t carry brand recognition alone, hinting at the logotypemay be enough to carry the identity.
Accessorise Rather than decorate the printed item, you could use an accessory or a coordinating piece of apparel that canworkwith the printed piece while offering a better canvas for your design. This would mean a price increase for your client, so it won’t be the preferred solution for every order, but it can’t hurt to prepare a coordinating garment as part of your pitch.
No matter which strategy you adopt, make sure to clear all alterations of a design with your client before the needles meet the garment. Although these solutions do mean more active consultationwith your client, the delight they feel when the end result is easy to read and more integrated with their printed product will help to cast you as a favourite branding partner rather than a commodity.
Erich Campbell is an award-winning digitiser, embroidery columnist and educator, with 18 years’ experience both in production and the management of e-commerce properties. He is the partner relationship manager for DecoNetwork in the USA.