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Made in Britain

August 26, 2020

Weave-friendly logo design

By: Peter Gregory

Dashes Graphic

Not every logo converts perfectly into a woven label! Woven label threads overlap at right angles, and that means that certain shapes and details look better than others. 

In this week’s guide, we’ll explain how a woven label can change the look of a logo. We’ll also outline the steps you can take to protect your brand when it moves from the designer’s computer screen to the real world.

Pantones, weave types and curves: logos that work on a commercial production loom 

When you add your logo to a woven label, you might experience a small amount of variation from the original design. Narrow fabric looms can pack a lot of graphic detail into a very small space, but it’s not always possible to exactly replicate curves and gradients, because of how the label weaving process works. You might also have to slightly adjust the colours in your logo, depending on which threads are available globally.

With a little prior planning, it will be very hard for your customers to tell the difference between your loom-formatted logo and your standard ‘website ready’ version. We have an in-house graphic design department with the expertise and technology needed to convert your logo for you, but it’s still worth spending some time getting to know how the process works. If you understand the basics of logo conversion, you’ll get the most out of your woven label branding. 

What colour threads can I have on a woven label?

In theory, a woven label customer can pick from a list of more than 2,000 available thread colours, but in practice it’s not that simple. The coloured threads used in narrow fabric weaving are typically dyed to match a specific colour swatch called a Pantone ®. Sometimes, due to production deadlines or global thread availability, we just can’t get thread in the exact Pantone our customer is after footnote 1. When that happens, we have to colour-match the logo.

There’s also a limit to how many colours you can squeeze onto a label. Every colour in your logo or label design needs its own thread, and a woven label can only take around 80 or 90 threads per square centimetre footnote 2

Can I put a colour gradient on a woven label?

Most of the world’s best-known brands avoid using any kind of colour gradient. There are good reasons for this. Gradients of all kinds — even ‘grayscale’ gradients — contain thousands of different colours, and the more colours you have in a logo, the harder it is to keep that brand looking consistent. Whenever you want to print, weave, fax or photocopy your logo, you’ll lose some of the colours in your gradient — your logo will start to look messy. 

If you’re still at the early stages of your logo design process, we suggest that you ask your designer for both a black-and-white and full-colour version of your logo. That way, you’ll always have a logo that looks sharp in every situation, regardless of whether you’re adding it to a label, a website or a business card.

Colour Gradients in a Woven Logo:
The Instagram logo includes shades of yellow, orange, purple, blue and red. This looks great on a screen, but it’s not ideal for woven labels. It  would take hundreds of different-coloured threads to render this amount of colour in woven form — there just isn’t enough space on the label to make it look pixel-perfect.

Can I put a curved logo on a woven label?

If your logo has a handful of big smooth curves in it, it’ll look great on a woven label. If your logo is made up of hundreds of tight florid strokes, then it either needs to be produced in a size that’s much bigger than normal, or you need to simplify the design. Otherwise, you’ll get a pixelated effect, and the back side of the weave will be unnaturally bulky.

Which curvy logo will look best on a woven label?

Take a look at the two logos below, for example. The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom is packed with florid detail, whereas the McDonald’s logo contains some very simple shapes:

On a standard damask woven label, the threads cross at a point which is between one-tenth and one-fifth of a millimetre wide. This level of detail is plenty for the naked eye under normal circumstances, but there comes a point at which small tight curves start to look bumpy. 

If you’re trying to produce a perfect curve and you need to go finer than one-fifth of a millimetre, then we usually recommend a printed satin-woven label. With this type of label, we print your branding onto a smooth blank woven surface. Our digital printing system is state-of-the-art. It can pack in multiple colours at a 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution … that’s about twice as sharp as a woven label. 

How much detail can I have in a woven label?

You can pack much more detail into a woven label than you can in an embroidered label (see our recent article), but there are limits. Generally, if you have a serif font (serifs are those little rounded flourishes and points at the end of a letter), you won’t be able to make your text as small as you can with a sans-serif typeface. 

Similarly, if your logo has a lot of texture and detail in it (like our earlier example of the UK’s coat of arms), the loom won’t always be able to recreate this perfectly at small sizes — you’ll either have to compromise on the size of your label (and go bigger), or you’ll have to reduce the amount of detail in your logo. 

Get a sample of your own logo as a woven label

It’s easy for us just to describe all of this to you, but sometimes the only way you can really understand how your logo will look on a label is to see it with your own eyes. 

That’s why we always send out a sample label before we move your order onto our production loom. You can see your label up-close and feel it in your hand before signing off on your bigger order. 

We’re here to help

Your logo is in safe hands, by the way. We’re experts at converting logos from the screen to the loom. Our talented in-house designer, Jess, has been colour matching, converting vectors and rendering crucial brand details in the highest-possible resolution for years. Nobody converts logos better!

If you’re concerned, send us what you’ve got (ideally in .pdf format footnote 3) and we’ll take a look for you. If you’re going to have to compromise on anything, be it detail, curvature or colours, we’ll tell you up-front. 

Hopefully this gives you a fair idea of the practicalities of creating a woven label. It’s not always a simple and straightforward process, but that’s why you hire experts like GB Labels!

With decades of experience in the narrow fabric weaving industries, we can offer the very best service in the UK. We’ll always keep you fully informed and walk you through the process from start to finish.

Thanks for reading!


Footnotes / Learn More…

Footnote 1:

Narrow fabric weavers don’t manufacture thread —  we buy it in and then weave it on our loom machinery. Coloured thread is manufactured in vast quantities (usually by the tonne) in specialist factories, then it’s divided into bundles and shipped around the world. Sometimes it can take weeks for a specific shade of thread to arrive from abroad, and sometimes it just doesn’t exist. For instance, if thread manufacturers don’t believe there’s enough of a difference between two shades of blue, for instance, they’ll make a commercial decision to just make and sell one shade. 

Footnote 2:

Based on our experience, a 1 cm square space will take 80 to 90 threads of 90 to 100 denier yarn (that’s with 600 turns). If you need more threads than this, you really need to increase the size of the label.

Footnote 3:

Most professional logo designers will provide you with a vectorised and rasterised version of your logo. The vectorised format is usually a .pdf file, but it could also be an .eps file. If you have any issues, just send us your highest-resolution format and we’ll take it from there. 

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