FAQ with Laurie O’Shea: Imprinting Questions I Get Asked Most Frequently

imprintingThere are a lot of choices when it comes to imprinting, so it’s no wonder customers have so many questions. Here are the imprinting questions I get asked most frequently:

1) What is the difference between Pad Printing and Screen Printing?

A pad print is basically an ink stamp while a screen print is more like a stencil being filled in. A pad print is usually used for one color imprint on a smaller item that has a smooth surface. A screen print allows for additional colors to be laid down and can be used on different materials (from plastic to non-woven bags).

2) Why is a Transfer better for multi-color imprints?

A transfer is similar to an iron-on that you can buy in a craft store. It is used for multi-color logos. Your logo is first reverse-screened onto a paper-like transfer material and then applied to the material’s surface with heat and pressure. It’s ideal for bold, colorful logos with sharp lines. Unlike the Pad/Screen print, the Transfer uses heat so you cannot use this method on all items.

3) What does Laser Etching and Laser Engraving look like?

The laser engraving imprint method uses a controlled laser beam to vaporize material on an item resulting in a permanent mark of your logo or message. Laser Etching is the same process, just not as deep. Most commonly laser etching/engraving is in metal items (pens and picture frames) but you can actually laser etch into other items such as apparel or wood as well!

4) Why Deboss?

Debossing is my favorite method of imprinting on items that allow for it (leather, durahyde, ultraHyde, scuba, recycled rubber and paperboard products). The imprint gives the item a higher-end perceived value and never can come off as it is pushed permanently into the material. Just keep in mind that the debossing does not allow for an imprint color.

5) What is pricing for Embroidery?

Embroidery cost is dictated by how many stitches your art work takes. The more stitches, the higher the cost. On certain shirt materials we do recommend embroidery over the screen print/transfer purely based on how it will look. Embroidering a polo shirt looks much nicer than an ink imprint; however, on a $3.00 white t-shirt sometimes the cost to embroider ends up being more than the shirt itself. In these cases the sales rep will suggest the best way to imprint.

6) What is an Epoxy Dome?

I find that most people don’t know what an epoxy dome is, but at the same time everyone has something that has been imprinted this way. Epoxy domes are great for a full-color logo. The art will be printed on high grade vinyl paper and then covered with a clear, high gloss polyurethane dome. The finished dome will then be affixed to your item, resulting in a smooth, polished look. Common items that have an epoxy dome are buttons, pens, and badge reels.

7) How can I get all my colors and shading printed?

Digital Imprint! Within the past few years digital imprinting has become more popular and easier to print on products. With special machines, printers are able to print multiple colors with gradients directly onto an item (as opposed to printing on a label and then putting the label on the item). This allows for more complicated pieces of art to be printed accurately.

There are more ways to imprint, but these methods are the most commonly used. For additional information please visit the Motivators website. And if you have any more imprinting questions, give us a call!


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