Imprint Techniques

Promotional Products are decorated using one or more of over 50 printing methods. The printing method is determined by the product, the quantity of imprint colors and some times the content of your logo or design, if any. By describing the imprint techniques and methods used in the Promotional Products Industry, you could be familiarized with our decoration processes and help you make the right decision when selecting and buying promotional items online.

The Graphic Arts is a huge industry, and we don't pretend to describe, analyze or recommend any process deeply. Is our intention to slightly mention all methods we can imprint your promotional message in our products, and make easy for you to choice a copy that will stand behind your competition in your promotional event or campaign. If you need more specific answers, or you have questions or concerns not covered in our support pages, feel free to contact our customer service department. We will be more than happy to analyze and recommend the best for you. We have spent almost 20 years in the Graphic Arts industry, and we have the capacity to provide you with the best solution.

Imprint Techniques

To reproduce images, text, clipart and other forms of designs into a promotional item, one of the following two techniques are used.

• Spot color printing
• Full process color printing

Spot color printing

Spot Color printing is the technique of using each plate generated from a color separation where each color contains values of one single color, for example; a design in three colors; Red, Blue and White. When a color separation is generated, it will produce three plates, each plate containing the values of each color.

• The Red plate will contain values of red
• The Blue plate will contain values of blue
• The White plate will contain values of white

Values are defined by percentages, from 0% to 100%, where 100% is full opaque, and 0% is totally transparent. Using this technique it will be possible to print a solid Red (100% value) and a halftone of the same Red (50% value) which will looks like a pink. Spot color is determined at the design stage and not when the printer is doing the separation.

Through this technique, promotional products can be imprinted in several spot colors, match precisely corporate colors (PMS), get more contrasting between the item color and the imprint color and bypass the transparence issue of process colors when printed over dark background.

Full process color printing

Four color process printing is the technique of using the four plates generated from a color separation to reproduce a design containing continuous-tone color images, pictures and text. These four colors can be combined to create thousands of colors just as your computer printer does, but with a high quality output. Also known as C-M-Y-K (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black), full color process, or 4-color process.

Typically, 4-color process is reserved for offset printing, screen printing, pad printing, and digital printing. Other imprint methods can use a 4-color process, however, the full color printing is done by one of the methods mentioned. Examples are heat transfer and decal, where a full color process artwork is transferred to the sheet using the screen printing method, then the sheet is transferred to the promotional product by heat or pressure sensitive material.

Not all promotional products can be imprinted in full process color. Actually, T-shirts and other apparel products, Ceramic Coffee Mugs, Travel Mugs, Calendars, Magnetic Business Cards, Christmas Cards, Mouse Pads, Pens, Key chains, 3-M Post-it Notes, Cube Pads, Scratch Pads, Bags, Bumper Stickers, Decals, Postcards, Business Cards and others are decorated in full process color.