Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

4 Misconceptions About Imprints and Imprint Areas

It doesn’t matter if you’ve just placed your first order with us or are a longtime Quality Logo Products customer; chances are you have some questions about how everything works around here.  You might be wondering how we take an art file you give us and get it imprints ready to put it on hundreds of products.

I’m not exactly talking about imprint methods where we physically put the logo onto the product. We actually have a whole series explaining all different types of imprint methods, including screen printing, debossing, embroidery, full color, and more. I want to clear up some questions you might have about imprints and logo artwork themselves. For example, have you ever wondered why your logo will look different on a stress ball compared to a pen? Or why there is a set area for where your imprint can go on a specific item?

That’s what I’m hoping to clear up. So we’ll look at a few misconceptions you might have about imprints, and hopefully next time you go to order everything will be all that easier!

1. The Effect of Materials and Processes on the Imprint

The misconception here is that a logo or imprint design will look the same regardless of the type of promotional product used. Truth is, your logo can look slightly different from product to product for a couple of reasons.

Joyride Coffee

First, how your logo will look will depend on the shape and material of the item you order. If your logo has a lot of smaller details or is really intricate, it will print better on a flat, rigid surface like a notebook or magnet. Those intricacies and details could get lost on a softer material like neoprene or on nonwoven grocery totes. Keep in mind, even if your logo is fairly simple, it won’t look the exact same printed on a stress ball as it will on a USB drive.

That leads to the second reason why your logo will look different: the imprint method.  Every product we have uses a specific imprint method. An embroidered jacket obviously won’t look the same as a screen printed t-shirt, but even methods that both use ink will still vary in appearance. For example, pad printing, which is done on most stress balls, uses PMS color to match your logo colors, and logos are stamped on one color at a time. A full color imprint uses CMYK color, and can be used on a wide variety of promos, so the imprint might look slightly different.

2. The Size of the Imprint

It’s always our goal to make your logo look the best that it can, and increasing the size of an imprint area isn’t as easy as it might seem. If you’ve looked on our website, you’ll see that each product has imprint area dimensions. Machines at our suppliers’ factories are all set to a specific size depending on the product that will be imprinted. Imprint sizes can actually vary from factory to factory even for similar products. So while the Apple Stress Reliever and the Apple Stress Ball look nearly identical, the imprint sizes aren’t the same.

3-minute storyteller

Our factories are physically limited with their printing capabilities and it’s not possible to just make the area bigger. If we were to try to make the imprint size larger, it would most likely distort your logo. Anything outside the set dimensions could also be blurry, hard to read, or not at all printable. Just like the clarity of a logo, the size depends on the type of product you choose and the material you’re printing on. Even when you have two different tumblers, the circumference can affect how the imprint will look when completed.

While we’re on the subject, the size of the imprint will also affect the amount of information we can print. If we try to squeeze the name, phone number, and website of a law firm with a really long name onto a pen, things can get a little crowded. However, a tote bag has a lot more room to add more information. So it’s best to keep in mind what information you want on your giveaway, and choose one that can fit all of that into the given imprint dimensions.

3. The Location of the Imprint

Just like increasing the size of the imprint area is difficult, so is moving the imprint. All of our suppliers’ factories set their own specifications for where an imprint can be located.


Again, it’s put in a place that is meant to make your logo look the best that it can. Everything including the shape, size, and material is taken into account.

On really rare occasions, we are able to work with factories and suppliers to move the imprint location. It will most often come with additional charges, but we will try the best we can to make it happen. So if you really want the location moved, it’s always best to talk with your sales representative to see if it can be done.

While most products only come with one possible imprint location, some products can easily have two or more imprints. The additional imprints do cost a bit extra, but if you really want to show off that logo on your Koozie, we can make sure it’s on both sides and depending on the can cooler, on the bottom as well!

4. The Color of the Imprint


This last misconception deals with choosing a color for your imprint. Occasionally, customers will ask us if all the colors in their logo can be imprinted. Answer is, for most imprint methods you can get just about any color you want, though you might have additional charges for each color added.

This comes back to the different imprint methods available. Nearly every method we use requires one color to be applied at a time, and because of that, you’ll notice with some imprints there’s an extra charge for each additional color you want.

Still, if multiple colors are an option, it’s a way to make that logo really stand out. If your logo just happens to include every color of the rainbow in different shades, I’d suggest a full color imprint, as it would be the most cost-effective. Be sure to stay tuned for continuing updates with our website because we’ve got some exciting changes coming up that will make choosing an imprint color incredibly easy!


We will always tell you the upfront costs before we even get started on your products. You’ll never get hidden fees or wonder where some charges came from. We pride ourselves on fully answering customers’ questions. That’s why we’re here to make sure your order comes out exactly as you want it every time. One way we can make sure your logo looks exactly how you want it to look is by providing a free art proof (click on the PDF below for closer look at a sample art proof).


Usually your art proof will show you the exact size your imprint will be on your promotional item. We even provide a scale near the bottom of the proof in case you want to print out a hard copy. Sometimes you just have to take your eyes off the computer screen and see it on paper.

We’re sure there are more questions out there from customers we’ve helped, and ones we’re looking forward to helping. So don’t hesitate to give us a call by phone (866-312-5646), by email (, via live chat, or by leaving a comment below.

Did I miss anything? Find anything interesting about imprints? Let us know in the comments below!

Thanks to our customers Joyride Coffee, 3-Minute Storyteller, Hilton Garden Inn North Shore/Evanston, and LeRoy Collins Leon County Main Library, for all their promo product examples.

expand your brand


Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. Rondell Caraos

    Great article Shaun! This would help explain to clients that have no idea how this process works. Every Item on the site has a different Decoration Area location and size so it nice to see an explanation of how it all works out and isn’t magically imprinted on an Item. Being in this industry for a little bit now, it all makes sense but I remember when I first started… I really had no clue other than what I learned in an art class that I took in high school. Wow, I did remember a few things but nothing in great detail of how you explained it. Every situation is different… it all depends on the Artwork, the amount of Imprint Colors, and the size of the Decoration Area. Once we have all that info, we will work on a Digital Mock-Up and make it look good! 🙂

  2. keith

    Wonderful article! This really helps describe the entire process to customers. Each item has its own unique imprint area and size. All of the items are tested to determine what location and what size will help have the best possible result when a logo is printed on that particular item. I also did not have much of an idea about this process when I first started but now is make perfect sense to me. Very information and great article as always!

  3. Kevin

    Very informative! Printing multiple colors always looks the best but you can achieve great results with just one color too! Some of the most known logos in the world are only one color. And imprint areas are the backbone of the industry… We have to use them to make sure everything looks good and nothing gets chopped off 🙂

  4. Jay

    Woo! This is another great one we can send to our customers. It’s like you were reading our minds (maybe you can?)! Thanks for this, Shaun! A lot of times it’s difficult to get the customer to understand the little nuance-y things we know all about but then again, most of our customers don’t work in a printing industry! Had I not ever worked here, I would know none of this stuff. I would like to add ONE little thing…. PENS!

    A lot of customers want their logo on pens, which we totally understand. After all, the word “logo” is in our company name. However, a lot of times there’s no room for a logo on a pen, but in reality, it’s usually to your detriment (unless you’re Nike, Apple, BASF or other companies with super simple logos that can go on anything). The most important part imprints and imprint areas on pens is to use that little space wisely. In most cases, your logo doesn’t make the phone ring… but the phone number does! Your logo may not also send people to your website, but your URL does! We can usually get the company name, phone number and website on almost any pen, so if you’re reading this, customers, we don’t dislike your logo, it’s probably awesome! We just want people to remember your phone number so you can make some money off your promo pens!!!

  5. Leo

    This blog was very interesting and informative. I feel like it captures and explains what QLP does in a nutshell. What was most interesting to me and makes sense is how the same logo might look completely different on a flat surface as opposed to a porous surface like a tote or stress ball. On top of that the way in which the logo is imprinted. Whether it’s embroidered on fabric, for example, and has a raised, textured look, or if it’s imprinted with a laser and might have a cleaner, sharper look to it. When it even comes to the size of the logo it’s important also because there could be a large logo or one that has a lot of information and can either get too crowded or seem very blurry. Choosing what product to giveaway, in that sense of the logo size, can be just as important. Picking a skinny pen to put a company’s information on might not be the best choice but a stress ball might be perfect. We here at Quality Logo Products pride ourselves in the knowledge of promotional logoed goods. We are here to help you choose the best item for your needs.

  6. Ashley

    When it comes to the promotional product business, there truly are a lot of facets in play for you to understand to achieve the perfect look your company might be looking for. That’s what we are here for =]. So Shaun, this one is a great start to finish process description to send to all of the inquiring customers. Your work on this article is definitely going to be noticed for a long time.

    There’s definitely an overwhelming aspect when it comes to ordering these personalized goods considering the order process isn’t quite a click and buy (although at QLP, we come pretty close to that!). Undoubtedly, you want to be able to have a big imprint and on a location of the object that will stand out to anyone who may decide to hold on to these useful products. These sizes and locations differ from item to item of course. Yet, even on similar items, the difference can be so unbelievably great. That is why the FREE digital mockups we offer at QLP are so important. If you don’t have a great reference of how your promotional products are going to look, how could you trust them? No worries, though. You can trust the QLPeeps. Just like this article will show you, we take care of you here!

  7. Angie

    Great article Shaun. I will use this one to forward to customers that aren’t understanding why they can’t increase the size of their logo. They see all the negative space around the logo, and insist that we should be able to fill all of that space to the max.

    The free, digital mockups we provide here at QLP should help paint a clearer picture.

Leave a Comment

Copyright 2003 - 2019 Quality Logo Products, Inc., Registration No. TX7-524-201. All Rights Reserved.