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Understanding the “why” and “how” of Embroidery Design Colors

When you purchase or download a design, you see the beautiful embroidery design on the web page but when you open the design on your computer, the colors are either slightly off or absolutely terrible. What has happened is that the design has been converted to a different format by the digitizer to the format you requested. When the digitizer digitizes the design, he/she selects colors for various objects within the design, usually with the color palette of the software being used. When the design is either saved or converted into different machine formats, some colors are changed to the “closest color” in the new format. Ideally, when a digitizer converts a design, he or she will correct the colors to similar colors used in the original design, but this does not always happen.

The format is the language your machine understands, i.e. .pes, .hus, vip., .jef, pcs., .dst, as a sample of some of the many available formats. Each of the many formats available was created by the machine manufacturer and these do not always speak to other formats in the same way.

Within each format is a color palette containing the colors used by that format. The size of the color palette for each software manufacturer can be from very large to very small and it will differ from format to format. Different formats have different sizes of color palettes because each was created at a certain time, by a specific company. Each format has a different number of colors contained in its palette based on the capabilities of the format. That is all well and good, but what do you do when you have the incorrect colors? The first thing is to be very sure that you download a color chart with the design. If there is no color chart provided with the design, be sure to contact the digitizer and request the color chart. You may also want to take a screenshot of the design on the web page, as that will give you a representation of the colors used by the digitizer.

Most embroiderers do not have all the colors of every thread manufacturer, so when embroidering digitizing a design, usually the colors are chosen by comparing the actual colors used by the digitizer to those you currently have available or changes can be made to the design colors to reflect your own personal taste.

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