Creating the Right Look
"Third is [to consider] the quantity requested for decoration and the location," Blondell said.
In terms of location, Cocco warned to plan around obstacles, such as seams and zippers, and to be aware of panel sizes if a logo will be placed within the panel. "If you're doing a split front where there is a zipper, you would want to set up the logo so the artwork has the split," she said. "So for example, for appliqué, you would set up the artwork and split the artwork so that you're not embroidering over the zipper. And the same thing if you were to put something—embroidery or even a heat transfer—at the shoulder, you would want to place it below the seam.
Still, there are exceptions. "Now with etching, you can actually go over zippers and seams, which could create a fun look," Cocco said. "It's just marking the surface of the fabric. You're not actually stitching or going through the fabric where you would then impact the areas of the garment, like the zipper. If you stitched through it, it wouldn't open up or if maybe if you put a heat transfer over a seam, the bulkiness of the seam may impact logo whereas when you etch over a seam, it doesn't impact the quality of the logo."
4. What's New and Trendy
Technology is driving decoration, with digital and laser options allowing for more creative imprint methods. Late last year Vantage added laser tech appliqués, which use a 2mm piece of synthetic foam to create a dimensional look. Cocco noted it works best on full or center chest designs on various fleece items. "We offered it last year as a patch, so it was more of a simple shape in which we actually would laser etch the logo on the patch, so it would leave a tonal mark," she said. "This year we've taken that material and used it as appliqué—whether it be for lettering designs or even some logo designs, so it's just stitching it and cutting it on the garment, and using that material as the appliqué."