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Detailed Guide to Machine Embroidery Fonts

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Detailed Guide to Machine Embroidery Fonts

Mar 30, 2022

For many embroidery digitizing companies, deciding on the right type of embroidery font for the job has become a challenge. Embroidery digitizing companies appear to be at a loss for what to use due to the large number of font types available.

In this blog, we'll go over everything you need to know about machine embroidery fonts, including the benefits and drawbacks of each font, as well as the best ways to use each font for embroidery.

So, without further ado, let's get this party started!

What Is the Importance of Embroidery Fonts?

We began our journey as one of the leading digitizing agencies almost a decade ago. Even back then, our primary goal for all embroidery digitizing jobs was to maximise production by achieving the best visual appeal from the embroidery designs and optimising them for machine embroidery.

Now, when it comes to the design's visual appeal, the key is to recognise the importance of lettering in the design, which, interestingly enough, is even more important than the actual embroidery design. This is especially true when it comes to logo digitizing, where even the most complex logo design can look sloppy if the lettering isn't done correctly.

Not to mention, back in the day, we didn't have nearly as many options as we do now, which was actually liberating despite being a constraint.

Nonetheless, the key is to recognise that not all machine embroidery fonts are created equal, and that you must select the appropriate fonts for the appropriate design in order to achieve the most exquisite end result.

Let's look at some of the details of different fonts to better understand why some fonts have a more aesthetic appearance than others.

Fonts for Stitch Files

Let's start with stitch file fonts, which are single-letter embroidery designs, to get a better understanding of fonts. Fonts from stitch files are digitised and converted to embroidery machine formats like JEF and PES. This means that these aren't the standard keyboard fonts that you can type with Keyboard.

Stitch file fonts have a specific size because they are created by digitizing fonts, and they only look good when used in that size.

It is not recommended to resize the stitch file fonts because this results in lower-quality embroidery. Additionally, these fonts are difficult to edit, and only the most experienced digitizers should attempt to edit stitch file fonts.

Stitch file fonts have a great visual appearance, but their biggest drawback is that they aren't keyboard-based, which severely limits their application. If you choose stitch file font, each letter must be created separately in the digitizing software and manually arranged, making the entire process too time-consuming for many embroidery digitizing companies. One of the reasons stitch file fonts aren't widely used in the industry is because of this.


Embroidery machines and digitizing software include fonts.

Stitch file fonts are far inferior to fonts included with digitizing software and embroidery machines. These fonts are simple to use and come in a variety of styles. They're perfect for stitching. The only drawback is that these should be used in the size recommended by the developers.

The biggest advantage of using these fonts for embroidery is that they are already included in the digitizing software package, making it extremely time-efficient for digitizers to use them. There is, however, a catch. Each digitizing software has its own set of exclusive fonts that can only be used with that brand. For example, the fonts available through Brother Digitizing software are exclusive to Brother software and will work best with Brother embroidery machines, whereas embroidery machines from other brands may not be able to read these fonts. These are also known as Native File Formats, and they are designed to prevent fonts from being used across software and machines.


Digitizing Software: Adding New Fonts

While each piece of standard digitizing software comes with its own set of built-in fonts, it's always nice to have a little more customization, right?

You can't really add new fonts to your digitizing software; instead, you'll have to buy one of the three main types of fonts, which include;

  • ESA

  • BX

  • True Type

Despite the fact that none of these fonts are proprietary, some work better with certain brands than others. The list of fonts you can add to different digitizing software, as well as the proprietary fonts that come built-in with the embroidery softwares, is provided below.

Floriani Embroidery Software - TrueType Fonts

Brother PE-Design Embroidery Software - TrueType Fonts

Embird Embroidery Software - TrueType Fonts

Masterworks III Embroidery Software - TrueType Fonts

Hatch Embroidery Software - ESA & TrueType Fonts

Premier Plus Embroidery Software - TrueType Fonts

Janome V.5 Embroidery Software - ESA & TrueType Fonts

DIME Embroidery Software - TrueType Fonts

Wilcom E3 & E4 Embroidery Software - ESA & TrueType Fonts

Bernina Embroidery Software - TrueType Fonts

Let's look at each of these font types in more detail now that we have the best font types for some of the most widely used embroidery digitizing software.

TrueType Embroidery Fonts (TTF)

TTF fonts, also known as True Type Embroidery Fonts, can be installed in any of the above-mentioned digitizing software. These are more akin to auto-digitizing lettering files that, when used, convert to embroidery designs automatically. When stitched with TTF, digitizing software like Hatch or Floriani can make the best use of these fonts, automatically creating embroidery designs.

True Type Fonts have the disadvantage of not being able to create all alphabets logically. To put it in perspective, when digitised using TTF, the letter "t" looks more like a telephone pole than the actual letter. Because the TTF can't imitate the logical path you'd take to make the letter "t," this is the case. In the same way, any complex letter would be difficult to create in TTF and could lead to errors.

Simply put, the shape of the letters in TTF has a direct impact on the quality of the letters (the more complex the shape, the greater the chances of error).


BX Embroidery Fonts

BX embroidery fonts are a fantastic innovation that allows digitizers to type letters quickly in proprietary digitizing software.

Because of their efficiency and appeal, these fonts are widely used by digitizers. These are simple to make fonts that even inexperienced digitizers can use. However, because these fonts are simple to use, many inexperienced digitizers overuse them with poor digitizing skills, resulting in a market flooded with poorly designed embroidery.


ESA Embroidery Fonts

Embroidery Specific Alphabets, or ESA for short, are the most advanced and highly customizable embroidery fonts on the market.

The Embroidery Specific Alphabets, or ESA fonts, have been around for a long time; it's just that many digitizing software haven't paid much attention to them. Indeed, ESA fonts are one of the primary reasons WILCOM has long dominated the commercial embroidery industry.

The following are some of the characteristics that set ESA fonts apart from the competition:

  • The closest point is joined by ESA fonts.

  • These can be used in conjunction with fabric assist.

  • These are extremely easy to resize and respond to.

  • ESA fonts are extremely adaptable and simple to work with.

ESA fonts are the best machine embroidery fonts and a game-changer in the embroidery industry, to put it simply.


The embroidery industry's mainstay has become embroidery digitizing. The digitizing industry has progressed dramatically in the last decade, including the availability of machine embroidery fonts. Today, experienced digitizers can put their skills to the test with a variety of machine embroidery fonts. However, unless you are working with software that supports ESA fonts, we strongly advise you to only use the digitizing software's built-in fonts (especially if you are looking to add BX or True Type fonts).

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