Embroidery Digitizing: A Comprehensive Guide

Embroidery digitizing is an intricate process that involves converting artwork into a digital file using software. This process enables embroidery machines to understand the needle’s path and create stunning designs. However, digitizing is not an automated process, and it requires a skilled digitizer to create high-quality designs. Most embroidery machines have their own software that allows users to control their functions while reading instructions from a digitized file.

Embroidery machines cannot read the same files as computers, so it is crucial to digitize logos in a format that machines can understand. From a digitizer’s perspective, this usually involves converting a customer’s logo or artwork in a JPG or PNG file into an embroidery file, which is determined by the type of embroidery machine being used. Some of the common embroidery file formats by machine include .dst, .exp, .jef, .kwk, .dsb, and .tap.

Basic Steps of Digitizing

Step 1: Upload your logo to the digitizing software

Step 2: Set embroidery design size

Step 3: Choose your stitch type

Step 4: Set stitch direction

Step 5: Set your embroidery thread colors

Step 6: Transfer the file to your embroidery machine

Understanding the design is a crucial element of the digitizing process. The digitizer needs to consider the size, complexity, and placement of the artwork. Efficient digitizers should also consider fabric versus thread, as certain designs may look better with the fabric showing through as a color rather than laying thread down. Assigning embroidery stitch types to specific areas while considering the fabric type and “push and pull” of the garment is also vital to achieving the desired outcome.

embroidery digitizing classes

Preparing Your Artwork for Digitizing

Before digitizing, the digitizer must analyze the artwork to see if it should be edited for embroidery. The final size of the design is a crucial factor to consider. Not all logos designed for print media, such as business cards, work well for embroidery. Some designs may need to be modified or simplified, and certain elements such as outlining may need to be eliminated. Small text may also need to be enlarged and rearranged.

Choosing Your Stitch Type

Different stitch types can achieve different looks, textures and more. It is important to note that each stitch type has a maximum stitch length that must be taken into consideration when selecting the stitch type. Additionally, the fabric type and the “push and pull” of the garment should be considered when choosing the stitch types. The three most common machine embroidery stitch types include:

  • Straight Stitch: Used for shading, outlining, and detail work
  • Satin Stitch: Ideal for text, borders, and achieving a shiny look
  • Fill Stitch: Used for filling in blank space, creating a textured look, larger designs, and more durable applications

Push and Pull

Push and pull is another crucial aspect of embroidery. A design may move while being embroidered, causing some stitches to shift. This can occur when using bulky fabrics, long stitches, large areas of thread, and a tight bobbin thread. Therefore, a digitizer must account for the possible effects of push and pull.

The Embroidery Sew Out

Digitizing is a careful process that requires time and experience to be performed correctly. Although many left chest business logos are easy to digitize for experienced digitizers, designs with fine detail, small text, color gradations, and many color changes require more set-up time. A well-digitized design will enhance your logo, so it is essential to find an embroiderer who provides quality digitizing.


To get the best results, it is crucial to prepare the artwork correctly before digitizing. Finding the right digitizer or business for the job is also vital. Digitizing is an art form that requires skill and experience, and it is essential to choose a digitizer who provides quality digitizing. At Superior Ink, we have several skilled digitizers that we use based on their experience and reputation. Contact us today to get your embroidery project started.