Terrycloth monogram (Image courtesy Erich Campbell)

Heat Transfer and Embroidery Monogramming

Alexandria Arroyo is the Digital Content Editor for Printwear magazine covering news in the apparel and textile industries. Contact her at aarroyo@nbm.com

Maybe your clients are looking for a quick decoration option that offers personalization and style. Maybe your clients want to create a fun thank-you gift to give to their employees. Monogramming, whether it's through heat transfer vinyl or embroidery, presents an opportunity for more profit and added clientele. 

Monogramming has remained a common decoration method in the personalized decorated apparel industry for years, and according to STAHLS' TV education specialist, Jenna Sackett, it's still growing. When asked about the way monogramming is incorporated today, Sackett notes, "In the past, monograms were typically created using programs that allow for custom made initials with embroidery equipment. While embroidery is still a popular way to add monogram personalization to apparel and specialty items, beautiful, custom monograms can be easily created using heat transfer vinyl and a heat press, also."

Olivia Dean, Madeira marketing associate,  points out the unique-factor that monogramming offers. "A pair of gloves or a scarf suddenly has more interest and value if you are able to have your initials sewn on with a color and font of your choice." 

Sackett echoes this point for the heat transfer vinyl-world, noting that monograms are being added to a variety of different items in various markets and settings. She says, "Heat transfer vinyl offers decorators the ability to add custom individual letters to items and apparel that are seemingly hard to print or personalize." Right: Monogrammed headband (Image courtesy Madeira). 

Everything from T-shirts, jackets, and flannels to accessory apparel items like hats, bags, scarves, and shoes can be customized with heat transfer vinyl. Sackett advises decorators to personalize specialty items like the ones listed for the most profit. Whether you're using a heat press with interchangeable platens or utilizing heat-printing accessories such as pillows or pads, a durable finish should remain your goal when decorating.

Left: Monogrammed sandals (Image courtesy STAHLS')

Heat transfer vinyl offers a quick turnaround, as well as opportunities for various finishes and renditions. Sackett encourages decorators to think about the finish and style of the monogram decoration when working with different markets. A monogram for a baseball-mom hat should have a different look than a monogram for a dance bag. 

Options range from diamond and circle shapes to script and modern styles. Sackett adds, "Some monograms can incorporate frames with fashionable design elements to make the monogram really stand out or be market-specific." 

When it comes to embroidered monograms, Dean says, "Samples are easy to do and with them, you can create a display of the different options you have to offer your customers. Show off a variety of embroidery threads they can choose from along with the basics, such as metallic or matte finish. Have a diverse list of typeface styles the customer can choose from."

In the embroidery world, monograms offer a low stitch count, easy digitizing, and added extra value. Dean mentions some innovative ways to incorporate monograms, from sneakers and boots to wedding garments and pet apparel. She also notes the importance of placement, varying from the classic left chest to sleeve cuffs, the back of baseball caps, or even the bottom left or right of a sweatshirt.

Right: Left-chest monogram on tank (Image courtesy STAHLS')

End users love the idea of personalization. Having the option to monogram a variety of garments and apparel accessories for customers opens up opportunities for apparel decorators during the holidays and the day-to-day. Sackett adds, "No matter the market printers are already selling to, monograms can be incorporated." Everything from corporate and boutique shops to children’s apparel and team sports, monograms sell. 

Deans reiterates Sackett's comments, stating that monogramming has come into the spotlight across a number of markets including sororities, sports, and tech. 

Whether you're a decorator in the heat transfer world or the embroidery sphere, monogramming can offer your clients the personalization and quick decoration option they need.