What is Good Embroidery?

What Is Good Embroidery?

 How do you tell the good embroidery from the bad?  Here are a few guidelines and visual clues.

New Patch Caps
Patch Caps by Northwest Custom Apparel

Pretty is as pretty does.

 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

There are a lot of old adages about beauty and perfection, but when you apply it to the business of supplying embroidery for ad specialty clients, there’s only one phrase that means anything: Quality is what the customer says it is.  And as the ad specialty distributor in this sales equation, you need to be able to spot good embroidery from bad so you can deliver what you client has ordered.  So, what is good embroidery?

Whether you’re examining a digitizer’s samples sewn on felt, or looking at an actual production run on the garments, here are some guidelines about what you should—and shouldn’t—see in good embroidery


  • Look for crisp, clean edges on the letters, regardless of lettering type.
  • Are the letters all the same height and width?
  • Are the columns that form the letters a uniform width? Check the “hole” letters, such as B, P, O and D to make sure the holes haven’t closed up.  These letters also have a tendency to “cut” tiny holes in garments if their stitching is too dense or if thread tensions are too tight.
  • If lettering is outlined in a contrasting color, is the registration clean, with no overlapping or gaps?
  • If it’s block lettering, are the corners “true,” with 90-degree angles at the intersections in such letters as T, F, and E? Is there a build-up of thread in the corners of the letter, or does the whole letter lie smoothly on the fabric?
  • If it’s script lettering, is it readable, with well-formed ascenders and descenders?
  • If the lettering is unusually small—one-quarter inch or smaller—is it readable and well-formed?
  • If there’s punctuation in the phrase, is it readable?
  • Are there skipped stitches? Are there white “flecks,” or bits of bobbin thread that have come to the surface because of improper tension?
  • Does the top thread have small irregular loops, a problem that sometimes occurs with improperly tensioned polyester thread?
  • Is the lettering placed straight on the garment or item?

Fill Stitching

  • Is the fill surface free of loops in the top thread or flecks of bobbin thread?
  • Are there any skipped or missed stitches?
  • If additional stitching is placed on top of the fill-stitched area, are the details crisp and clear?
  • Is the registration clean?
  • In large areas of fill, is there depth and texture where necessary, or just big flat areas of color?

Satin or Column Stitching

  • Are edges of the columns smooth and solid?
  • Are there skipped or missed stitches?


  • Are all edges of the applique fully covered by column stitching?Monograms
  • Does the fabric lay flat against the garment or is it puckered or distorted?
  • Do “fringes” protrude from the outside edge of the column stitching around the applique?

General Aesthetics

  • Do stitch direction and stitch length vary, adding interest to the design?
  • Is the embroidery “bullet-proof,” meaning that the stitching is too dense or backed too heavily and thus, stiff to the touch?
  • Has all topping been removed from the front of the embroidery?
  • Has the backing been either neatly trimmed or removed completely? (The need for complete removal will vary depending on the type of backing used and the intended use of the garment.)
  • Are there visible hoop marks—or worse yet, hoop burns—on the garments?
  • Is the embroidery’s density too light, allowing the fabric to show through?
  • Look for smooth edges on all design elements.
  • Check to make sure the embroidery is free of loose thread ends. Likewise, make sure the ends have not been trimmed so closely that the embroidery starts to unravel.
  • Is there visible looping or bird nesting on the embroidery’s underneath side?
  • Is there any puckering or distortion in the fabric around the edges of the design?
  • If viewing embroidery on a garment, is it correctly placed and stitched straight?
  • If stitching has been placed on a napped or spongy fabric, such as corduroy or fleece, does it sink into the fabric or sit nicely on the fabric’s surface so all details are clear?
  • If stitching is on a fine knit, has the edge of the design “cut” into the knit, indicating the embroidery has been stitch with too high a density or the wrong needle?

Creative Advertising: Then-and-Now’s of some of the world’s most famous brands

We’ll be exploring the topic by analysing campaigns of some memorable brands like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, etc. These companies have stayed a float in this ever-changing market for many years, but nobody does that without applying some changes here and there. Looking at how advertising has evolved over the years has made me think about how much the world has evolved and our priorities changed. 50 years ago, it was very straight forward, all that mattered was the product and its features. Nowadays, however, we have countless choices and it all comes to branding.

Here are some then-and-now’s of some of the world’s most famous brands:


We are sure that most of you didn’t know the rough beginnings of the brand. Not only was Ronald McDonald creepy as hell, but it was also very unappetising. Would you eat a hamburger after that? Nowadays, McDonald’s is more than just fast food, it’s a concept. This is exactly what they’re saying in their 2015 campaing: bringing people together. A much better way to sell burgers.


They are another example of a brand that hasn’t changed their advertising strategy. They’re still promoting the same product characteristics: Kellogg’s transforms a little boy into a superhero. However, the commercials nowadays are much more appealing. Tempting you to go and buy cereals, now.

coca-colaCoca Cola

Coca Cola, they just keep amazing us with their creativity. They are the perfect example of how our behaviour towards products has evolved over the years. The very first commercial from Coca Cola talks only about the features of the product and what makes it unique, while in 2015, the brand advertises a feeling. Incredible right? After 65 years, Coca Cola still manages to get to our hearts.


Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut is one of the very few brands that stuck to the original concept, adapting only the design. From the outside, it looks like a huge evolution, but if you look closely, the concept is still the same: Share and enjoy the delicious taste of Pizza Hut.



This example is similar to Coca Cola: basic product vs branded product. What do Pringles and Coca Cola have in common? They were the first in the market to come up with a unique formula for their type of product. Back in the days, when the characteristics of the product were the only focus, that type of advertising worked great. Now, Pringles just wants to inspire you a certain feeling that will make you choose their brand. Impressive change again.

How to use advergaming as a small business

Advergaming_webBig brands have big bucks to throw at advergames, but how can small businesses compete with that? The answer lies in technology, namely in HTML5. You can design and build highly complex games with beautiful interfaces in HTML5 at an affordable cost, making it perfect for companies with a leaner marketing budget. HTML5 offers you the following advantages:

Inclusive: Web-based games only require a web browser and work on any platform, mobile device or desktop computer.

Instant play: Playing in the browser requires no app or software download and installation.

AdvergamingEase of publication: No need to wait for Apple or Google to approve your app. You simply publish on your website!

Promotion: App promotion is expensive, but to promote your website game, you can use your existing and developed marketing channels and the website itself.

Sharing: To share your game, players only have to copy and paste the URL. Social media, email, chat – it works a thousand ways. Instant win!

Data: You don’t have to measure data on different channels. On your own website, you implement the tracking, monitoring and analyses you want to evaluate the performance of your advergaming campaign.

Standards: Adopting HTML5 is widely encouraged across the web, especially with the focus on mobile. In fact, Microsoft and Google use advergames of their own to promote HTML5 – and their own browsers Edge and Chrome. Microsoft’s Rethink experiences let you play The Settlers of Catan in Catan anytime and Assassin’s Creed Pirates. Google publishes a slew games of their own, including The LEGO Game Build with Chrome as part of their Chrome Experiments.

Examples of advergaming


Food Burger KingBurger King

Burger King has also been behind some of the most popular advergaming titles in history. They created three games for Xbox that you could get with the purchase of a value meal for an extra $3.99. They were so popular in fact that they ended up being 2006’s best-selling video games during the holiday season. Rather than having revolutionary gameplay and graphics, Burger King’s games were just fun. They had a touch of humour and simple yet engaging gameplay. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to have a decent video game.

FIFA Football

This football-themed video game has been popular pretty much since it was released in 1993. Not only does it have lots of branding for the different football divisions around the world, but it’s also got tons of ads for brands. Coca-Cola, Sony and Visa are just a few of the brands you might see in their games. A lot of the advertising is incorporated subtly in places that their players are already trained to see ads in football matches. That means it doesn’t seem invasive or odd, but the message still gets across.

The benefits of advergaming for a Brand

Advergames use the interactive and social components of games to the advantage of a brand. Here are some of the main benefits they offer to brands:

AdvergamingRaise brand awareness: You play games in your free time, and a player’s levels of attention are high when they’re playing a video game. You can harness that power with subtle placements of your brand and product. A custom advergame can tell a story about your company in an unobtrusive yet engaging way.

Positive brand interaction: When done right, advergaming continuously and effectively exposes the brand to the player in a way that is neither aggressive nor invasive. Instead, playing creates a positive experience associated with the brand.

advergaming-hero-imageFollowers: Advergames can help build true fans who are potential leads and can convert to loyal customers. The marketing feels less intrusive, because it is up to the players to choose when they play and interact with the brand.

Promotional opportunities: Don’t stuff your advergame with sales and offers – any overkill can turn off gamers. Yet there are subtle ways to add in just the right level of promotions and rewards (like discounts or coupons) into games.


MCD FarmvilleData and research: Games are an alternate reality and offer you nearly ideal circumstances to test drive new products and ideas. Marketing strategies that wouldn’t work offline can work well in advergames. You can use things like sign-ups, sharing and polls to collect valuable data from players.

Good games go viral: Advergames can make it really simple for the players to talk about the game (and the brand) on social media. Games often have shortcuts so players can do things like share scoreboards, show off achievements and compete with friends online. Players spread the word for you when they like your game.

Great reach through games: You think video games are just for boys? Think again. Today, the average gamer’s age is 30, and 45% of them are female. The gaming industry is raking in over $100 billion per year, and roughly 20% of the market share falls to mobile and social games. The wide-reaching marketplace offers you great potential to reach your target audience.

Advergaming- The advertising value video games can offer

Advergaming_webThe very best advergaming is actually a playable, interactive game that happens to include promotional messages.

Video games are designed to keep you in that sweet spot between happiness, frustration and progressive skill development. You just want to keep playing and playing. So, naturally, hardly anything would be more frustrating than advertisements plastered all over the screen, annoying promotional pop-ups or full-screen video commercials interrupting your gaming flow. That’s why you might think that marketing and video games don’t mix well. Yet advergaming exists and is very much alive.

advergaming-hero-imageThe difference between gamification and advergaming

Gamification is the combination of marketing strategies with classic gaming techniques to keep you engaged with the brand or product. When you compete with your friends for Foursquare Mayorships, collect points for My Starbucks Rewards or play McDonald’s Monopoly, you’ve been lured in by gamification.

Advergaming might sound similar, but it’s not the same. It means developing an actual game for the purpose of marketing. There are three main types of advergames:

MCD Farmville1) Advertising inserted into an existing game

Have you played Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U? Did you notice how you can race with Mercedes cars in the game? That’s product placement right there. Back in the 90s, the rising wave of popularity of video games had advertisers salivating over all the possibilities to place brands and products in your favourite video games. What followed were games like Zool, a platformer where an alien ninja ant fights its way through a sweet world of candy — sponsored by ChupaChups — and Cool Spot, which had players jumping and running around…with the 7-Up mascot.

2) Full games for desktop computers, consoles, or mobile devices

The restaurant chain Chipotle released a free iOS game called The Scarecrow in 2013. Marketed as an enticing game in which the player breaks up a monopoly, it not-so-subtly promoted the company’s values. Regardless, The Scarecrow was a huge hit with fans. Players downloaded the game more than 250,000 times in just four days.

3) Games on a company’s website

You might think of these as branded mini games, which you’ll find on sites like Candystand. But successful advergames on the web go beyond throwing together a bit of flash animation. Ubisoft’s video game Watch Dogs is set in a dystopian future where players hack cameras and mobile phones. To promote the game, Ubisoft produced the website WeAreData*, which offers infographics and real-time visuals of geo-data from Paris, London and Berlin.

Awesome Comic Con Marketing Campaign Ideas

GodZillaThe Godzilla experience

The last time Americans tried to translate Godzilla it left a sour taste in most people’s mouths, so in order to promote a new remake of the movie the studio knew they had to pull out something amazing. At the 2013 Comic-Con, they transformed an entire building and made it look like you’d stepped into the streets of Tokyo. Of course, there were plenty of spots to buy Godzilla memorabilia (printed T-shirts, toys, you name it) and even a Godzilla-themed sushi bar.

The TRON treasure hunt

80’s movie TRON got a makeover by Disney in 2010, and what better place to promote a cult classic than at Comic-Con? The sequel was titled TRON: Legacy and involved more hijinks in virtual reality, this time with a new cast and a story centred around Flynn’s son Sam.  Fans had to complete a series of steps in order to receive a package that would grant them access to Flynn’s arcade.

dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-bannerGoing viral like Simian Flu

An equally good marketing campaign for a film was Fox’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes stuff for Comic-Con 2013. They got “doctors” to walk around “vaccinating” people against Simian Flu and giving away free hand sanitiser to prevent the spread of it.

They also did a good job of having key people from the movies, like actors and the director, on hand to chat to the press to give away a few other previously-secret details about what would be happening in the sequel.

Game of Thrones2Make transportation part of the fun

In 2013, Kia revealed a line of seven cars that represented each of the members of the Justice League. While some of the art of the vehicles leaves a lot to be desired, the strategy was overall well-received and got the Justice League Sorrento a lot of attention.

The car line was actually an extension of a project Kia already had going with DC Comics: the We Can Be Heroes campaign. The campaign was created to fight hunger in Africa and involved the creation of superhero cars for auto shows. The final collection in the collaboration was the Justice League Sorrento line.

Think outside the convention centre

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular TV shows right now, so even though HBO probably didn’t have to do a whole lot to sell Comic-Con attendees on the idea of watching the show, it was a golden chance for them to do something cool their fans would remember. They came up with a simple but very appealing campaign for the 2013 edition of Comic-Con — translating written information into Dothraki (one of the made-up languages spoken on the show). Some fans got quite a surprise when they saw trolley signs and instructions written in the language spoken by the Khaleesi to her subjects.

Set up your T-shirt booth for success

Part of the nostalgia resurgence was Nickelodeon’s new TV movie based on Legends of the Hidden Temple, that game show from the 90’s. They spilled the big news to fans at Comic Con in 2015, along with a huge installation inspired by the series that included a spot where fans could buy their own tees, plus a photo op where they could get snapped with their freshly-purchased garments. Smart move, Nickelodeon!



PERSONALISED T-SHIRTT-shirts are popular

When you print a T-shirt, you’re producing an item that virtually anyone can wear. When it comes to tees, people may like or dislike the design but not the garment itself. You may hear people arguing that they don’t enjoy wearing jumpers, maybe even trousers, but never a T-shirt.

They work great as a promotional material

It is no wonder that almost every company and/or brand has an official T-shirt with their logo on it. These garments outlast any other printed material and can take your message to an audience that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.


Easy process

While different techniques have different requisites, in general, printing T-shirts is a straightforward process. All you need is a design, a T-shirt and a printing technique.

They make great giveaways

Following up with our first tip, T-shirts make great giveaway and gifts because most people can and will wear them.

Allows you to be creative

T-shirts are very versatile garments, allowing you to modify them in pretty much any way your mind can think of. Not only do they make great canvases for prints, but they can also be easily modified by cutting or even adding material.


PERSONALISED T-SHIRT2It’s not environmentally friendly

Even though some companies are taking measures to battle it, the clothing industry it’s still one of the most polluting in the world. Even if you decide to print your own garments at home, there’s no guarantee that the T-shirt you’re using as a base was manufactured in an environmentally friendly way.

It’s not going to last forever

Yes, it may sound like I’m contradicting myself a little bit here but bear with me. Unfortunately, there’s no print that will last forever. There are printing techniques of high quality that ensure a long-lasting design, but even those will eventually fade.

It doesn’t reach a wide audience

This mostly refers to when using a T-shirt as a promotional material. Unlike the internet, which can reach a global audience in a matter of seconds, tees will only impact those that are in visual range. Some would argue that you could upload the picture of a T-shirt to the web, and it would be correct, but the chances of it reaching a substantial amount of views without paid advertisement are slim.

PERSONALISED T-SHIRT3Requires planning and organisation

Like we mentioned, T-shirt printing is a straightforward process but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require planning. Especially when it comes to printing in bulk, printing requires an organised production. Garments have to be ordered, suppliers must be contacted and the design has to be prepared.

It’s hard to stand out from the crowd

Depending on your ultimate goal, you may find it difficult for your T-shirt to stand out among the millions and millions of others that are out there. Thanks to online printing services, anyone and their mother can print T-shirts — and cheaply, too! If you’re trying to convey a message or make people notice your brand, it’s not going to be easy.

Best Social Media Jobs everyone would love to do

These are the brands any social media lover would love to work for:

DisneySocial media campaign planner at Disney

Disney is one of the biggest corporations on the planet, and people who work for the Mouse often end up becoming extremely dedicated to it and everything it stands for. Its social media managers seem to be no different as they’re dedicated to run fun campaigns for families like Healthy Living, which is a program dedicated to teach habits like exercise and a balanced diet to British families.

Innocent smoothies’ Twitter manager

The genius behind this quirky social media strategy is named Helena Langdon, and she’s responsible for a 35% increase in engagement on Innocent Smoothies’ Twitter ads! Their brand is all about honesty, and their feed is honestly fantastic. This looks like a fun job as the community manager is allowed to be silly and sincere and share all sorts of fun stuff, as well as seems to have a genuinely good time interacting with customers.

youtubePart of the team that gets to make Ikea’s YouTube videos

Ikea also has a YouTube series about Hollywood actors leaving the silver screen behind to work in furniture stores, including Keanu Reeves and Jeff Goldblum making guest appearances.

Sir Charles Barkley’s Instagram photographer

Sir Charles Barkley is a French bulldog with a massive following on Instagram. We’re just letting his owner know that if they’re ever bored of snapping pictures of him, we’re happy to take over the duties.

coca-colaAny social media marketing position at Coca-Cola ever

When it comes to marketing, Coke is the king. With millions of followers on any of their social media channels, all eyes will be on you. And you’ll have the budget to pull off some seriously spectacular work — like this fun live stream during the Super Bowl that got nine million views.

Red Bull’s Social Influence Manager

This job is actually open at the time of writing! Wouldn’t it be amazing to be the person who comes up with Red Bull’s fun campaigns? Just one of the many cool ones they did was the “#PutACanOnIt” campaign, which encouraged fans to hold up a Red Bull can to transform a photo.


national_geographicWhoever gets to choose the photos for National Geographic’s Instagram feed

Looking at photos of beautiful and fascinating places all day? That certainly sounds like a major step up from most office jobs!

The Humans of New York photographer

Brandon Stanton created one of the most-liked Facebook pages ever with HONY. He spends his days walking around the streets of New York City talking to and photographing interesting people, and occasionally travels further abroad to cover a special issue.

10 Epic Lessons From 10 Amazing Bosses

Being a great leader is easier said than done. That’s why sometimes a little inspiration is necessary. Here are 10 different examples of fantastic leaders who are all great in their own way:

Brian Krzanich (Intel)Brian Krzanich (Intel) – Practice what you preach

Brian Krzanich is the CEO of Intel, and he made headlines for all the right reasons when he took big steps to diversify Intel’s employees with the implementation of a five-year plan. His reasoning?

“It’s not just good enough to say we value diversity, and then have our workplaces and our industry not reflect the full available and talent pool of women and underrepresented minorities.”

Six months in, the company looked at whether the plan was working. And, guess what, it was! Whether it’s diversity or something else that you really value at your company, good leaders don’t just talk the talk.

Calvin McDonald (Sears)Calvin McDonald (Sears) — Remember what made your brand in the first place

Calvin McDonald is currently the CEO of Sephora, but before that he worked for Sears — the same store he worked for with his very first job, which was delivering their catalogue when he was a kid. Sears was going down what looked like a dark path until McDonald came on board and steered them back to the basics that had made the department store successful in the first place, like an emphasis on quality and great customer service in-store.

It’s all too easy to forget what made your company stand out in the first place. If you get stuck, go back to that point and think if you’re still being true to those basic values and principles.

Eugene Kranz (NASA)Eugene Kranz (NASA) – Keep a cool head no matter what

It really was a life or death situation for Eugene Kranz — he was Apollo 13’s flight director. You know, that spaceship that exploded and it looked like everybody was going to die.

While my response probably would have been to break down in tears directly, Kranz said:

“Let’s everybody keep cool. Let’s solve the problem, but let’s not make it any worse by guessing.”

And he did! The crew was saved and made it back down to Earth safely. Kranz’s calm approach made it easier for his team to find a solution rather than panicking.

Jim Lentz (Toyota North America)Jim Lentz (Toyota North America) – Be open and honest

Toyota’s CEO Jim Lentz raised some eyebrows when in response to an announcement that the company would be recalling millions of cars for faulty breaks. He hosted a live conversation on social news website Digg answered as many questions as he could; ranging from simple ones to really tricky ones.

Even though it wasn’t a great situation for the car manufacturer, being transparent and open was a good approach to dealing with it and moving forward.

Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn)


Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn) – help your employees thrive (sensibly)

Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn, so maybe it’s not so surprising that his real passion is helping people thrive at the workplace. He gets his inspirations for management from all sorts of places, like the Dalai Lama, his third grade teacher who talked about civil rights, and a founder of a management consultancy firm.

Still, part of his philosophy is also realising when people aren’t able to do their jobs anymore. He is compassionate but also sensible about the business. A partner at a venture capital firm says, “Part of the why he’s such a good leader is that he doesn’t surprise people.”