Do you want to go back to school and learn some new vocabulary? Well, then you’re in luck! This is your ultimate guide to all the jargon, words, and phrases you’ll find in the promotional products industry.

Does the word “aglet” ring a bell? Can you tell an “imprint” from a hole in the ground? Get ready to kiss your confusion goodbye with this helpful guide!

What Are Some Random Words in the English Language?

You may have never heard these words before, but they are part of the things you use every day, from the supplies at your desk to the clothes on your back. The funniest names for common things include:

  • Aglet
  • Armscye
  • Barrel
  • Crimper
  • Carabiner
  • Ferrule
  • Fourchette
  • Grommet
  • Gusset
  • Keeper
  • Koozie
  • Nib
  • Plunger
  • Punt
  • Zarf


The aglet is the small plastic or metal part of a shoelace or hoodie string. It’s designed to help guide the strings through the holes.

The aglet was rumored to have been invented in the 1970s by Harvey Kennedy.


Who knew the hole in your t-shirt sleeve had a name? This is the space where your arm squeezes through.


Most barrels are made of wood, so it only makes sense that “barrel” would define the wooden part of the pencil.


These metal links are commonly found in mountain climbing, but they also make it easy to attach water bottles or keys to a bag or backpack.

The word carabiner comes from the German karabinerhaken and was first used between the 1920s and 1930s.


Your stapler wouldn’t work without a crimper, which is the random metal piece at the bottom that helps push the staple through the paper.


This is a less common way to refer to the shaped piece on the sides of the fingers in gloves.


A gusset is a diamond or triangular piece of metal or fabric that adds durability and eliminates stress from certain areas in a variety of products.

Gussets are used to make blue jeans, porches, skyscrapers, and bridges.


The metal rings at the top of your pencil under the eraser are called ferrules. This comes from the Latin viriola, which means “little bracelet.”


The holes in your shoes for the laces, or the small metal piece at the bottom of a drawstring bag, are also known as grommets.


Your pants are kept from falling down thanks to the keeper! This is the loop on a belt under the buckle.


No party is complete without a koozie, which is a fabric or metal sleeve that keeps a can or bottle nice and chilly!


Also known as the “clicker,” this is the top part of the pen that you push down when you’re ready to write.


The nib is the tip of the pen. Without it, you’d have an inky mess every time you try to write!


This is the dimple or indentation on the bottom of a bottle that provides structure and stability on a surface.

The earliest pens were known as quills and were made from goose, turkey, or swan feathers.


Commonly referred to as a sleeve, this is the piece that wraps around a coffee cup to keep it from burning your hands.

The word “zarf” comes from the Arabic language. It refers to a metal coffee cup that doesn’t have any handles.

Which Terminology is Used When Ordering Promotional Giveaways?

You might hear or see the following words and phrases when you’re ordering promotional products:

  • Blank
  • BPA-free
  • Double-sided imprint
  • Imprint area
  • Logo colors
  • Proof
  • Rush production
  • Rush shipping
  • Setup fee
  • Wrap imprint


Blank products are exactly as they sound, the item’s missing any kind of identifying design or text.


Products that are made without bisphenol A, a plastic that’s rumored to have harmful effects, are known as BPA-free.

Double Sided Imprint

This is when a custom design is printed on the front and back of a product. It works best for items like coolers, tote bags, and keychains.

Imprint Area

The space or area where your message or design is printed is called an imprint area. This will vary in shape, size, and location from product to product.

Logo Colors

These are the colors used in your design and printed on the product. Don’t confuse them with the “item color,” which is the color of the product itself.


Think of this as proof that your design looks good. It’s a virtual mockup of your design on your item of choice, usually sent virtually via email.

Rush Production

An item in rush production will spend less time being customized at the factory. Note that this typically requires an additional fee.

Rush Shipping

If you’re in a pinch, rush shipping is a good option as it reduces the number of days an item is in transit. It’s also referred to as expedited shipping.

Setup Fee

This varies from product to product, but the setup fee is the cost for the ink, machines, and labor that goes into customizing your items.

Wrap Imprint

A wrap imprint is a customizing option, usually for drinkware, where the design and text is printed on a PET film that’s applied directly to the bottle.

How is Your Logo Added to a Promotional Product?

Your custom design or message is added to a promotional product using a variety of methods including:

  • Digital printing
  • Emboss/deboss
  • Embroidery
  • Heat press/transfer
  • Laser engraving
  • Pad printing
  • Screen printing

Digital Printing

An image, usually in full color, is printed directly onto your product via an Inkjet printer.

Also known as:

  • Full color transfer
  • CMYK printing
  • Four color process printing


Customized metal plates are heated to temperatures as high as 212°F and are used like stamps on the products, creating an indented or raised look.


A machine stitches your design or message onto fabric products like hats or t-shirts.

Heat Press/Transfer

A giant industrial iron at about 300°F transfers your design onto an item.

Laser Engraving

As the name suggests, this is when your item is engraved using a laser. The process results in a design that won’t chip or fade over time.

Pad Printing

Sometimes referred to as an “ink imprint,” this process involves a giant industrial stamp being used to decorate your products.

Screen Printing

Green goo called emulsion is spread over a mesh screen and covered with UV-shielded ink to create a negative image. Colored ink is then spread over the screen to create the final design.

Also known as:

  • Full color transfer
  • CMYK printing
  • Four color process printing

Graphic Design Vocabulary Words

If you’re adding a design to promotional products, you may come across common graphic design terms like:

  • Font
  • Pantone colors
  • Bitmap/raster
  • Vector


This is the style of the text printed on your promotional products.


Bitmap, or raster, images are lower in resolution and made from a collection of pixels. A good example would be the image you save from a Google search.

Pantone Colors

Pantone is an organization that developed their own distinct color system. Each color is assigned a special formula and number to distinguish it from a similar shade.


These are mathematical algorithms that allow graphics to be scaled and modified without them becoming blurry and jagged. It requires the use of programs like Illustrator or CorelDRAW.

What Are the Different Materials Used in Promotional Products?

A variety of materials you use every day are used to create promotional products. These include:

  • Bamboo
  • Canvas
  • Ceramic
  • Cotton
  • Denim
  • Different types of plastic
  • Fleece
  • Glass
  • Leather
  • Neoprene
  • Paper
  • Rubber
  • Various metals
  • Wood

Why Should You Know All The Jargon?

A little knowledge can go a long way! Being able to understand the vocab helps you become a more informed consumer when shopping for promotional products. At the very least, your friends will be impressed you know the name for that thing on their shoelaces!

Stats for Success

The average adult knows between 20,000 and 35,000 words.

A word needs to be repeated 10-15 times before it becomes part of your vocabulary.

Studies show learning a new word triggers the same area of your brain associated with pleasure, motivation, and reward.

The Bottom Line

From aglets and zarfs to imprints and vectors, there are a lot of crazy words in the world of promotional products. Add this new vocab to your personal dictionary!


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About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.