Logo branding on promotional gifts is somewhat complex and the supplier needs to be very clear on what method to use when printing on various materials. The general printing method includes silkscreen printing, pad printing, decal heat transfer printing, decal sublimation printing, laser engraving, emboss/hot stamping and embroidery. Other newer technologies includes UV Cure Flatbed Inkjet printing.
Printing on Various Materials
To be a successful wholesaler of corporate and premium gifts, you need to be very clear on the logo branding methods on a wide range of materials. Clients do not always understand why certain printing method can be done on certain products while some cannot. You need to highlight to them all the limitations and problems in printing for each material. The printing method used for the various types of materials are as follows:-
- Plastic - Plastic is one of the easiest to print as they can use various type of methods including pad printing and silkscreen printing to create your logo. Ink is easily bonded on plastic products so just the normal ink will do for printing. This includes plastic pens, plastic containers, mugs, etc. For plastic, laser engraving is not preferred as the effect does not look as good as metal.
- Metal - Metal products are fairly easy to print, but not as easy as plastic as a special type of ink together with a ink resin hardener is required to be mixed together to create a permanent bond on metal items. If you use the normal ink for plastic, the printing will easily comes off. As such, the cost of printing is slightly more expensive than for plastic materials. Uses also the pad / screen printing method or can be laser engraved as well.
- Ceramic/Porcelain/Glass Items - These materials are one of the toughest material to print as inks does not cure easily and be permanently affixed onto ceramic and glass products. This includes ceramic mugs, glass cups, vases and other glass and ceramic ceramic items. To fully print a permanent and long lasting logo onto your souvenirs, the best way to print is via decal printing with heat firing process, that is fired in a kiln for 1 hour or so at temperatures around 400 degree celcius. This will create a permanent bond on ceramic items. This method of printing is much more expensive compared to the rest.
- Leather/PU Leather - As silkscreen printing does not look very classy on leather products, embossing with a hot stamping machine and die is the preferred method for leather products. If colour is required, a foil in colour can be used (typically gold or silver) to stamp your logo on the leather gifts. This method is called hot stamping.
- Silicone - Silicone material is one of the hardest material to print as most ink do not bond on silicone. As silicone is also flexible, there tend to be flaking if the silicone is stretched. For printing on silicone, silk screen printing can be used but they must use a special type of silicone ink to be fully cured.
- Cloth/Fabric – For fabrics, heat transfer and silkscreen can be used to affix your logo on the product. Even though expensive, thread sewn embroidery is typically the preferred method of fabrics such as tshirts, bags and towels as they are very long lasting even when washed many times.
- Paper/Cardboard - Paper is the easiest to print on and most methods can be used (except those with firing). If they are in a sheet form, it can even be printed using a home inkjet printer. For items such as gift boxes, foil hot stamping and silkscreen is the preferred option.
Stay Tuned for Part 3 – Logo Branding