When the time comes to choose among the various Printing Methods offered for promotional products, companies often wonder which option they should choose. There are benefits and drawbacks to each, thus this is the first thing a company must consider. Furthermore, the type of finished product desired plays a role in the decision-making process, as certain methods are best for specific objects. Finally, the budget must be taken into consideration, as a company wants to get the best return on investment possible when making a purchase of this type. Following are four popular Imprinting methods, the benefits of each and the types of items each is suitable for.

Pad Printing

Pad printing

Remember the days of using an ink pad and rubber stamp to transfer an image to an item? Pad printing is similar to this in many ways, as ink is transferred from a pad made of silicone to the desired item. A machine is employed to hold both the product and the stamp steady throughout the process, and the result is a crisp image. This printing method is suitable for items made of ceramic, wood, plastic, metal, glass and silicone, and is excellent for shaped items, as the printing process won't distort the image.

Screen Printing

Screen Printing

Screen Printing is a process which involves the use of a mesh screen or stencil and premixed inks to transfer a design to the desired item.

The screen, made using either polyester or nylon, carries an inverse image of the final print, and the ink is spread across this screen with the help of a squeegee before it is transferred to the promotional product.

Multiple colors may be transferred in this way, yet each color requires its own screen to achieve the final product. Typically the most cost effective option, screen printing is great for t-shirts, plastic pens, reusable shopping bags, stress balls, tote bags and water bottles.

Digital Printing

CMYK Printing

Certain items and logos require a multitude of colors, and screen printing typically cannot accommodate more than three colors. Thus, full-color digital printing tends to be the preferred option, as it allows for many colors to be used and is ideal for posters, mouse pads, banners, magnets, buttons and more. No screens are necessary when this process is selected, and the image may cover the entire surface of the promotional product.


Laser Engraving

Laser Engraving is best for those items that are to be used for years to come or passed down from generation to generation. This printing method supplies a crisp, clear image that cannot be removed from the item once it has been put into place. No tool bits or inks are required to complete the engraving process, as it makes use of a software program and an engraver. There is very little setup time required when this option is selected, making it ideal when a wide range of products need to be printed in a short period of time. The option of adding oxidation is also available, and many customers select this add-on to provide more color to the image and to make it stand out. Items that one may wish to choose laser engraving for include metal key chains, awards made of glass, metal plaques and plates like those found on company gifts, wood items, acrylic gifts and pens made of metal.

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Promotional Product Printing doesn't have to be confusing. Take into account the above information when deciding which method is best for any given circumstances and inquire about other available options. What is used for one product and event may not be suitable for another, therefore companies shouldn't choose one method and adhere to it at all times. Be willing to adapt based on the particular circumstances of the purchase and review all options. Doing so ensures the right printing method is selected each time.