Not sure what branding method would be best for your next project? There are many different branding, or what we call ‘decoration’, technologies available so we’ve assembled this quick guide as a handy reference.
Embroidery is the age old craft of stitching thread into a garment or fabric. Multiple colours can be applied in one image. Embroidery is a very resilient branding option as it’s simply thread stitched into the existing thread of a garment.
Pad printing uses a silicone pad to transfer an image to a product from a laser etched printing plate. Pad printing is one of the most practical and popular ways of branding promotional products due to its ability to reproduce images on uneven or curved surfaces and print multiple colours in a single pass. Close PMS (colour) matches can be achieved on white surfaces but as the colour of the product gets darker the ability to match PMS colours diminishes.
Screen printing involves forcing ink through a mesh screen with a squeegee onto the product or substrate and is excellent for large print areas on flat or cylindrical objects. Close PMS matches can be achieved on white surfaces but as the colour of the product gets darker the ability to match PMS colours diminishes. Screen printing is best suited for spot colour reproduction and is not recommended for logos with half tones in them.
Laser engraving gives a permanent finish and creates a higher perceived value than direct printing. It is ideal for metal and glass items and because it is a digital process can be used for personalising products with individual names. Different materials produce different effects when engraved and if you are uncertain about the engraved finish please ask for a pre-production sample.
Also known as Laser Engraving.
Resin Coated Finish
Resin coating an image produces a stunning 3-dimensional effect and elevates the perceived value of any product. Vinyl labels are resin coated which produces a very durable weather proof label that is almost indestructible. Resin labels can be printed in full colour and used very effectively to brand a large variety of products. As they are digitally printed, only approximate PMS colour matches are possible.
Full Colour Label
Full colour labels are used for products with substrates that are difficult to print successfully with any other method. Full colour labels are either printed with a digital inkjet printer if they are vinyl or a digital printing press for paper labels. Only approximate PMS colour matches are possible with digital printing.
Full Colour Heat Transfer
There are several methods of producing heat transfers. They can be printed and cut to shape on a digital inkjet printer. The disadvantage of this method is that the transfer can look like a label when heat pressed onto the product. Other methods are screen print, offset or full colour digital printing onto a release media. These methods give a finished print very similar to direct printing but the image is often much sharper and can reproduce finer detail. Heat transfers are commonly used to brand textile surfaces and bags. They are heat pressed onto the product and produce a permanent bond. Only approximate PMS colour matches are possible with digital printing.
Sublimation is achieved by heat transferring a digitally printed full colour image from a paper transfer to the product. This process can reproduce stunning, vivid, full colour graphics but there is limited control over the colour outcomes which makes reproducing PMS colours very difficult and, in some cases, impossible. Only certain surfaces and materials can be branded with sublimation printing.
This production method is used for printing media such as paper, vinyl and magnetic material used in the manufacture of labels, badges and fridge magnets etc. Both digital inkjet and digital printing presses are used in the production of digital media. It is difficult to reproduce PMS colour matches with digital printing.
Kiln Fired Decal
Kiln fired decals are transfers printed with a ceramic ink that are applied to coffee mugs and glassware which are then fired at high temperatures in a kiln. The advantage of kiln fired decals is that the print becomes part of the surface and is permanent. They are also good for decorating mug handles and the inside lip as well as producing larger print areas on irregular shaped mugs or glasses. It is possible to obtain approximate PMS colour matches.
Decoration – Horses For Courses
What decoration you choose comes down to the image you want to portray, the limitations for printing on the product you’ve chosen or the longevity required from the image.
Luckily, your local branding experts have these conversations every day so, tell them what you want to achieve and they’ll give you the lowdown on the best decoration options.