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Matching Materials with Product Imprinting Techniques to Create Long-Lasting, Impactful Branded Merchandise

Product Imprinting Techniques

We use a variety of imprint methods to achieve the desired look for each material or substrate type used, as well as to ensure your branding stays clear throughout the life of your branded merchandise.

Decoration Methods

Let’s explore a few of the most common imprint methods in the promotional products industry. Some of the methods give you great flexibility, while others can be more restrictive.

Pad Printing

Pad Printing is one of the most commonly used imprint methods because it works well on cylindrical products. 

With Pad Printing, you can imprint an area up to 3-inches by 3-inches in multiple colors and clearly print smaller text. 

All products go through a drying oven to ensure the imprint area—and your branding—stays intact for the life of your branded merchandise.

Screen Printing

Screen Printing is a product imprinting method commonly used on flat custom promotional products, such as T-shirts, clipboards, mouse pads, and stadium cups. 

Multiple colors and even full-color process imprints can be achieved through screen printing. Screen Printing is not recommended for artwork with very fine detail, which can sometimes be lost in the printing process.

Digital Laser Printing

Digital Laser Printing is a product imprinting method that reproduces multiple colors and fine detail with laser precision and great clarity. 

It is a relatively simple printing process. The products are loaded into trays and then move into the imprint chamber where a laser passes over the products, transferring your imprint. 

It’s an ideal printing method for quick-turnaround promotional products.


Embroidery is a commonly used decoration method for apparel products like polo and dress shirts and jackets. Cats, hats and even backpacks and other fabric bags.

Embroidery is done with thread, not ink, which means letters are never perfectly reproduced like with other imprint methods. Logos with a color gradation will not be able to be reproduced in thread the same way they are on paper.

Off Set Printing

Off-Set Printing is used when printing paper-based custom promotional products, such as calendars, journal books, and other paper products. Off-set printing can be used to imprint almost any design with a high degree of detail and no limit on colors.

Laser Engraving

Laser Engraving is generally used on metal and wood products that are cylindrical or flat. 

The laser cuts away the product’s exterior finish to expose the raw material for imprinting. 

This produces an extremely durable, one-color imprint. This method is not well suited for very fine detail or small letters, which may fill in and become unreadable.

Hot Stamping

Hot stamping is generally used on vinyl and leather products for one-color logos. 

A die containing the desired imprint is made and then attached to a press where heat and pressure are used to melt foil onto the product, leaving a rich reproduction of your logo. 

Artwork with small type fonts and fine detail are not well suited for this imprint method.


Like Hot Stamping, when the Debossing imprinting technique is used, a die is made of the imprint and then attached to a press where heat and pressure leave a depression. 

This technique can also be done from the backside to leave a raised impression of your logo in paper, leather, vinyl, and some apparel fabrics. 

This imprinting technique is not well suited for small type and fine detail, which may fill in and be difficult to see and read.

Die Striking

Die striking is an imprinting technique for metal materials. 

A reverse die of the image you want to create is hand-carved and oven baked. The die is then mounted in a high-relief press where the image is stamped into the metal. The metal is then trimmed and polished and sometimes color-filled. 

This is a very elegant form of imprinting, oftentimes used on high-end business gifts, such as compasses, watches and commemorative coins.

Heat Transfers

Heat Transfers—also called heat sealing—are used on fabric products like can coolers, mouse pads, and many apparel items. 

This imprinting methods is great for artwork with fine detail and multiple colors. Your imprint is reproduced on a paper transfer and then applied to the product with heat and pressure.

Chat with a Member of the Strategies team

Have a project in mind or just checking out options?    

At the end of the day, we want to help you find a product that resonates with your audience and is something they’ll use (not something that is thrown away)!    

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