Digitizing is the process of turning a piece of flat artwork into a stitched embroidery design and storing that design onto some form of media. A design is split into its component parts and for each part the digitizer must decide what type of stitch to use, what direction to stitch in and other variables such as how close together the stitches should be placed and how long the stitches should be. Another factor that has to be taken into account is the fact that when fabric is stitched the stitches shrink the fabric slightly and this must be compensated for by making each section slightly bigger, in the direction of the stitches. This is called 'Pull Compensation' and is just one of the many factors that can decide whether or not a design runs well on an embroidery machine and will produce a good quality finish.

   We have two pieces of the latest Wilcom ES-2006 design software, ES-21D and ES45, and this is the specialist software that we use to digitize all our embroidery designs in-house thus giving us complete control over quality, from artwork to finished item. We also digitize a number of designs for other embroiderers in the UK, France, South Africa and the USA. We can output to disk but we normally send designs via e-mail in any of the major formats. We have a quick turnaround on most designs.

Mad Music
Mini Cooper
Subaru Impreza
Subaru Closeup
Child's Tractor
Tractor Closeup
Click on the images to enlarge them

   Whilst a design is being digitized we can check how it will actually look using Wilcom's 'Trueview' mode. This is a mode that simulates how the stitched design will actually look when it is embroidered.

Normal View
Click on the images to enlarge them

    Below are two sample designs for you to download in .dst format. You will need archiving software to unzip the two files but this can be downloaded free from Winzip whose details are on the 'Links' page.

Mad Music
Horses Heads
Click the images to download the designs with details

    We work out the price for digitizing two different ways. We either charge £30.00 per hour or use the table below. Whichever way works out cheaper to the customer is the price that we charge.

Design Stitch Count
Price per Thousand Stitches
0 - 3,000 st
£7.00 (Minimum £14.00)
3,001 - 6,000 st
6,001 - 9,000 st
9,001 - 12,000 st
12,001 - 18,000 st
18,001 + st

Please note that these prices include VAT at the current rate.

Punched Cards.  
    Digitizing is widely know as 'Punching'. This term came about because before electronics were used the instructions that the embroidery machine needed to read were stored on large cards in the form of punched holes. These holes were placed into rows and each row made one stitch and the pattern of holes would tell the machine how far to move and in what direction. The cards were joined together in a chain to form a design. Each time the design needed to be embroidered the chain of cards had to be reset to the beginning of the pattern. The cards were bulky items and a huge number would have been required for even a small design of, say 3,000 stitches.

Paper Tape.  

    Next came paper tape which was a long narrow piece of tape that, again, had holes punched into it. Similar to the cards, each row of holes represented one stitch, however the difference here was that by now the embroidery machines were beginning to use electronics and the whole design could be read into the machine's memory and stitched any number of times without having to reset the tape for every run. The paper tape was also much easier to store and handle. A typical 3,000 stitch design was now about the size of a saucer.

Electronic Media.

    Now that specialist computer software for digitizing is more widely available and most embroidery machines have their own disk drives, designs are usually stored on a computer's hard drive and dropped onto a trusty 3.5 inch DSDD floppy disk when the design is needed. Generally, depending on the format, about 30 designs can be stored on a single floppy disk and can be quickly called up for use.
    At present we are seeing more and more embroidery machines being linked direct to the computer via a serial cable completely removing the need for media at all. Designs can also be sent anywhere in the world attached to an e-mail, again, completely removing the need for physical media.
    We now back up all our designs once a week by burning data onto a DVD disk and we only need 1 disk to back up our entire catalogue. We also zip the backups into one file and store password protected copies onto every computer on our network for safety.

It is taken as implicit in the acceptance of all embroidery work that the customer is either the copyright holder or an authorised user licenced by the copyright holder and that the customer will indemnify R. Bullock & Son Limited in full against any claim that may arise. 

So, in layman's terms, please don't ask us to embroider "Addias", "Nike", "Ford"
or any other Registered Trade Marks because we can't.