How do you help your customers decide which type of decorating method to use when so many possibilities are available for their customized apparel and products? Each decorating choice has various advantages. In this blog, we’ll break down the most common decoration methods so you can help inform your customers to make the best possible choice.
First things first, what is decorating?
Decorating is the act of customizing or personalizing a promotional product to display a logo or marketing message on an item.
What are the types of decoration methods?
There are many different types of decoration methods for all types of promotional products!
- Screen Printing
- Heat Transfer
- Laser Engraving
- Custom Patches
- And more!
Break Down of Decoration Methods
Ever wonder how each decorating method is performed? Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular techniques!
What is Embroidery?
Embroidery is a decoration method that uses a needle and thread on fabric or other fibrous materials to incorporate a design. First, the logo has to be “digitized”; essentially, this is a process that converts a logo image into a stitch file for an embroidery machine using the specifics of the design’s colors and details. After that, the correct thread colors are selected, a trial stitch out is performed, and embroidery machines are used to stitch your logo precisely to the requirements in the final digitized file.
- Perfect for custom polo shirts, hats, jackets, backpacks, and towels.
What is Screen Printing?
An easy way to think about this is as a photographic stencil process. The most common method of screen printing is to create a stencil on a mesh screen and then apply layers of ink directly onto a product by stamping or scraping the ink on top of the stencil, and transferring the logo or design to the print surface underneath. The result is the screen’s image transferred to the print surface, except in areas impermeable to the ink. The versatility of this decoration method allows it to be used on a wide variety of items.
- Perfect for custom t-shirts, activewear, drinkware, pens, and notebooks.
What is Heat Transfer Printing?
Heat transfer, recognized as digital transfer and thermal printing, stands as an excellent selection for affordable design alternatives, boasting limitless color possibilities for decoration. This type of printing uses heat or pressure to transfer an image to a product or apparel. The two most commonly used methods use vinyl or ink.
- Perfect for custom t-shirts, activewear, sweatshirts, backpacks, team wear, and uniforms.
What is Debossing/ Embossing?
Debossing/embossing gives your logo a 3D element. Dies are constructed from metal in the shape of a logo. Debossing incorporates heat and pressure pushed into the product to form the material into the logo impression. Embossing is where the pressure will be applied from the back to create a raised impression of the image on the front. This decoration method produces stunning and sophisticated results and is perfect for leather decorating.
- Ideal for notebooks, home goods, leather items, and waterproof apparel (cannot be used across seams or zippers).
What is Laser Engraving?
A unique application where the laser removes a thin layer of fiber or pigment to create a design dye. By adjusting the intensity and speed of the laser, it sculpts dimensions into the design, resulting in stunning clarity and precision.
- Perfect for custom pens, drinkware, and tools.
What are Custom Patches?
Custom patches are a great way to add some texture and depth to a logo! A logo is debossed on a leather patch, and then the patch is embroidered to the product OR an embroidered patch is created and attached to an item via sewing, adhesive backing, or heat transfer.
- This is a great option for hats, bags, jackets, and more!
Decoration methods are vital to a successful branded promotional product campaign. Want to see the pros and cons of these methods or check out even more ways to personalize promo? Check out our Guide to Decoration Methods and stay tuned for Part II coming soon!