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Printing Methods

Do you ever wonder how your promotional merchandise is printed ?

There are many different branding methods and the most appropriate one depends, amongst other things, on the type of product being branded, the number of colours to be branded and the expected life-time of the product. Some of the most common branding methods are listed below.

Laser Engraving: 

This is used most commonly on crystal, glass and metal products such as metal pens and metal drinkware items to achieve a quality and lasting finish. Laser engraving is now widely regarded as the most accurate and economical way of reproducing fine design work, although machine engraving may still be used to excellent effect.

If your choice should be a Metal Promotional Pen, Generally laser engraving to the body or clip will work best for your pen. Usually to the barrel, some metal composites can show through after laser engraving as a different base metal for additional effect. For example; some Metal marketing Pens may show a brass base metal underneath the Silver body, or a darker grey. You can request this information from your Promo Pen supplier.

Engraved Corporate Pens are proven to have a higher perceived value when presented to receivers, the metal build and engraved personalisation will add additional prestige to the owner.

Depended on the style of the pen, laser engraving to the barrel, clip or side of the clip allows a generous branding area, averaging 45 x 25mm. 360-degree engraving is now being completed on a small selection of metal pens.

The only downside to Laser etching into Metal promo items only works  with a mono design, consider if your Company Logo or design will work well as a monotone only, or if this method will not best replicate your brand due to the mono limitations.

Digital Printing: 

Should your logo need to be reproduced in full colour then a digital print will be your best branding method, speak to your promotional product supplier about items which are suitable for this printing method as not all pens  and branded are suitable for the Direct Digital printing method, 

This involves printing your design directly on to a product using a specialist printer. It is possible to print an ever-increasing range of products using this method due to developments in specialist printers. This type of printing is generally suited to short runs, in full colour where longevity is not the main concern.

What items can be Digitally Printed ?

The most common items that can be digitally printed are pens, highlighters, stress balls smaller quantities of flexible fridge magnets, rulers to name a few.


This is used on promotional pens, flat plastic items and PU, some bags and clothing, particularly T-shirts. Ink is applied to the product by pushing it through a screen (or stencil) containing your design.

Pad (or tampo) printing: 

This is generally used on odd or curved shapes. Ink is transferred onto product by way of a rubber pad. An increasing popular method due to the flexibility and number of products it can mark.


Foil Blocking / Embossing: 

This is used to brand leather goods in particular. A metal block (die) is pressure stamped onto the product, usually with a gold or silver foil, to leave a lasting impression of your design. Alternatively, the process can be performed without foil, just leaving your design in plain relief. This is known as blind embossing, This Method is generally used for diaries or conference folders.


This is a great way to achieve quality personalisation on most clothing and headwear. Modern machinery offers speed and multiple colour possibilities. A typical design is based on a stitch count of around 5 to 10,000 stitches. Embroidered branding on clothing tends to be more durable than screen-printing or vinyl transfer. 

Die stamping: 

Usually used on metal products like stainless steel or similar products. Like with blocking, a metal die is pressure stamped onto your product leaving an impression of your design. It can be left plain or filled with colour.

Vinyl transfer: 

This is usually used on clothing. The design is cut from vinyl by a computer-controlled plotter. The vinyl is then heat-pressed on to the garment. Vinyl-transfers are great for short-run jobs but it can be tricky to brand in more than one colour. Also, vinyl is only available in a limited range of colours.