Imprint Processes: Which is Best for Your Promotional Items?
I know that sometimes the choices given for imprint areas and processes can be a little overwhelming. What’s the difference between debossing and embossing? Will a screen print or laser engraved logo look better on my promotional pen?
To make the selection process a little easier, I put together this quick guide on the different imprint processes and some of the products that they look best on.
Screen Printing. This process makes use of spot colors (premixed inks with a standard recipe) and a screen to transfer your logo onto your selected item. A screen made of nylon or polyester is covered by the inverse of your image, so ink can only be printed as your logo. The ink is then spread across the screen and transferred to the surface. Screen printing is generally the most inexpensive option.
Digital Printing. When you want to print your logo in a whole bunch of colors, screen printing isn’t going to cut it. That’s when you have to take a step up and move to digital, or full color, printing. This process makes use of physical printers instead of screens and generally allows you to print over the entire surface. HINT: Digital printing is also referred to as CMYK, full-color printing, color burst, and 4-color process printing.
Best products to use with digital printing: Mouse pads, magnets, and note pads.
Heat Transfer. If you ever used an iron to press a decal onto a shirt, then you know the basis of a heat transfer. Printers use intense heat to press the ink into the material, making sure that your logo isn’t going anywhere. Heat transfer is sometimes the only option if you want to create a logo with more than one color.
Best products to use with heat transfer: Tote bags and t-shirts.
Laser Engraving. This process creates sharp, crystal-clear logos that are unable to be peeled off. Without ink or tool bits, this process is simple, clean, and easy. Logos are programmed into the laser software and then executed onto your items. If available, you can also opt for oxidation, which adds a little more color to your logo and makes it a touch more distinctive.
Best products to use with laser engraving: Metal pens, wood items (like cutting boards), glass awards, and corporate gifts with metal plaques.
Debossing/Embossing. Debossing and embossing give your logo a 3-dimensional element. For both processes, 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. Embossing rises from the product, while debossing pushes into the product. For an additional cost, you can also add color to the logo.
Best products to use with debossing/embossing: Leather portfolios, vinyl pouches, custom chocolates, and backpacks with leather or vinyl patches.
Embroidery. Texturize your logo by choosing embroidery. Any cloth product, and especially corporate apparel, looks great with the vibrant stitching. In the embroidery process, your logo is changed to a digital image and then assigned color threads. Your garments or blankets are placed in the embroidery machine, the needles go to work, and then excess threads are cut off.
Best products to use with embroidery: T-shirts, blankets, hats, backpacks, and towels.
What processes have been used on promotional products that you’ve received? Do you have a preference? Any items to add to our suggestions?
Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on Google+