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This week Stahls' ID Direct released a new online tool called Any Word. Any Way TM . I thought I would give it a try and pass on my thoughts. From Stahls:

Stahls’ custom lettering designer, powered by CadworxLIVE TM , lets you choose from thousands of options. Featuring an online preview, appliqué & no-sew options, and heat applied choices. Plus, many orders ship same day!

To access the designer you must log into the Stahls website .

The customization process begins by selecting one of 8 core templates, including CAD-CUT heat transfers, several applique styles, sublimated twill, and distressed flock. A wizard-style interface then walks you through selecting fonts, layout styles, materials, distress levels, and much more. As advertised the amount of customization options is extensive.

Stahls Any Word. Any Way.

What’s Good
  • Lots of styles, fonts, and materials. The possibilities truly are endless. It helps you experiment with new styles and materials in a guided environment.
  • The stepped process helps you focus on one piece of the design at a time.
  • There are several options to split the product to handle zippers and other split front garments.
  • Having a visual representation of the design on the side really gives you that what-you-see-is-what-you-get experience.
  • The ability to create a complete custom product in one place and submit the order really is a time saver.

What Could Be Improved
  • It took me several tries with the font size options to understand what was possible. Each size selection has restrictions on number of characters. Those restrictions are only visible after selecting a size. Understanding the restrictions up front would have cut down on some time and frustration. Also, the block font style was not available in some situation and there was no explanation as to why.
  • The font selection and layout steps should be next to each other in the process, as they are related. Currently these steps are separated by the distress and materials sections.
  • When making layout choices the mockup isn’t updated immediately. To see the result of various selections I had to repeatedly move forward and back in the process to force an update to the mockup.
  • While there are some guides, tips, and Q&A available, I think a quick 3 minute tutorial video would go a long way to help educate users on the use of the tool.
  • I didn’t see any easy way to save the design mockup for presentation to a customer. Additionally, there didn’t seem to be a way to save the design for ordering at a later date.


Stahls’ ID Direct has created a great new tool to help apparel decorators deliver new product options to their customers. The self-serve focus allows users to get in, get the job built out, place the order, and move on to the next job on their list.

One final concern I had was that most of the examples shown include embroidery. Someone new to these types of applique may not understand that while Stahls gives you the option to purchase a sew disk with your design, to achieve many of the advertised looks you must have embroidery capabilities.
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