There are literally millions of promotional products, understanding how they are printed will help you ensure your artwork is presented in the best way possible. Here are a few of the most popular decoration methods:

1. Pad Printing


Pad printing is a process in which a plastic, glass, ceramic, metal, silicone, or wooden item can be decorated. The image is transferred from ink filled etched images in a printing plate to the part by way of a silicone pad. While transferring the image to the part, the silicone pad wraps around or takes the shape of the part without distorting the image. Pad printing normally take up to 4 spot colors (pre-mixed ink colors). It is the most common decorating method.

Examples of promotional items done by pad printing: pens, water bottles, stress balls.

 

2. Silkscreen Printing

silkscreening
Screen printing technique

Silkscreening, also known as screen printing is a printing technique that uses a porous mesh screen that has an ink blocking stencil transferred onto it. The stencil creates blocked and open areas in the screen that allow  inks to flow through them and onto a substrate. Nearly any single ink image, logo or design can be transferred onto a screen. Additional colors require new screens. Silkscreening is printed with spot colors (pre-mixed ink colors).

Examples of promotional items done by silkscreening: apparel, tote bags.

 

3. Full Color Digital Printing

When a logo contains many colors and gradients, screen printing is not capable of printing such image. This is when we use digital, or full color printing. This process does not use screens and generally allows you to print over the entire surface. Digital printing is also referred to as CMYK, full-color printing, color burst, and 4-color process printing.
Examples of promotional items done by full color digital printing: buttons, posters, banners.

4. Heat Transfer

Trucker cap that is printed with heat transfer
Heat transfer is a process similar to using an iron to press a decal onto a shirt. Printers use intense heat to press the ink into the material, making sure that your logo isn’t going anywhere.
Examples of promotional items done by heat transfer: full color printing on hats, full color wrap print on mugs.

5. Laser Engraving


Custom glass award

Laser engraving on promotional products are often found on wood, acrylic, textiles, stainless steel or glass products. The engraving method requires no consumerables such as inks, and is fast with very little setup time. Therefore a lot of products with personalization is laser engraved.

Examples of promotional items done by laser engraving: stainless steel keychains, glass or acrylic awards.

6. Debossing


Deboss on leather
Deboss has been done for a long long time. Dies are constructed from metal in the shape of your logo. The product is then placed between them and heat and pressure push and form the material into the impression you want. For an additional cost, you can also add color to the logo.
Examples of promotional items done by debossing: silicon bracelets, leather portfolios.
7. Embroidery
Embroidery cap
Embroidery is stitching your logo onto a piece of garment. Any cloth product, and especially corporate apparel, looks sophisticated with embroidery. In the embroidery process, your logo is changed to a digital image comprised of stitches and then assigned color threads. Then the garment is placed onto the embroidery machine which will execute the digitalized logo into threads. Read about our embroidery process here.
Examples of promotional items done by embroidery: jackets, hats, blankets.