Selecting the right decoration method for your product is important. While there are a range of options available, some techniques are better suited to particular materials and/or products. The team at SCOODA will always recommend the best form of decoration for the product in question, taking into consideration the relevant artwork, lead time, and target demographic. Some popular decoration techniques are outlined below.
Sublimation printing is a recently developed printing process that allows very complex designs to be printed on to a range of materials and products. This form of decoration is cost-effective, able to reproduce detailed designs, photographic images and logos with shading and tonal work.
A sublimation printer is a computer printer which utilises heat to transfer dye onto the desired material. The name ‘Sublimation’ refers to the process used: the dye transitions from a solid to gas state without going through a liquid phase. Sublimation Printing uses Full Colour or CMYK printing. Sublimation Printing requires white substrate and is widely used on sportswear and banners.
First used by the Chinese almost 2,000 years ago, screen printing is an ancient and highly effective form of decoration. It is a popular printing method for t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags, caps and a range of other products.
Mesh is used to transfer ink onto a product, except in areas that are blocked by a stencil or “screen”.
Colours are printed one at a time. Striking multicolour prints can be achieved where enough drying time has been allowed for between each screen. However, very fine detail and half tones are unable to be achieved via this method of printing. Screen printing is able to be used on products where the area being printed is able to be flattened. For items with a curved surface, rotary screen printing is another printing method available. If screen printing on a dark substrate, a white under-base is required.
This form of printing permits a 2D image to be transferred to a 3D object using a silicone pad etched with the desired image. Pad printing is traditionally used for pens, USBs and stress shapes as it is ideal for printing on curved or uneven products.
Pad printing one of the most common decoration techniques in the promotional industry and very affordable. However, due to faster production times and ability to produce more complex designs, the recent advances made in digital printing have seen this technique take over traditional pad printing.
Rotary Digital Printing
This form of decoration permits images to be curved around a cylindrical item. It is the perfect printing choice for solid or spot colour branding and designs on drink bottles, pens and other cylindrical items.
This type of printing utilizes UV ink, applied via inkjet print heads directly onto the product. This process enables it to detailed artwork to be reproduced with closely matched spot colours and full colour branding. Rotary digital printing can be applied to a variety of substrates including paper, cardboard and plastic.
Also known as offset lithography, offset printing is economical and fast and well suited to high volume jobs. Another major benefit of this technique is the high quality of the printing.
Images are forged onto metal plates and transferred or “offset” onto rubber blankets or rollers, before being printed onto a substrate – paper, cardboard, wood or plastic. The printer has a high level of control over the ink flow, creating high quality results.
Embroidery is a popular and attractive way of branding bags, apparel and other textile products. Rayon thread is stitched into the product, producing a slightly raised finish. Embroidery can also incorporate pearls, beads, quills and sequins and can be done in a 3D format.
Finished products present with a high perceived value and luxury brand quality, with many high-end clothing brands utilise embroidery in their signature ranges.
Laser engraving is the practice of utilising lasers to cut lines into a hard surface. Laser engraving is typically used on metal products, creating subtle and sophisticated branding. Variable data, such as individual names, can be easily accommodated.
During the laser engraving process, depending on the amount of exposure, the colour of the material will either change, creating a distinct contrast, or completely evaporate; the resulting engraving is permanent and abrasion resistant. A coloured under-base can also be used to generate greater contrast and produce a more striking outcome.
Debossing (sometimes referred to as embossing) is created by pressing a hot engraved metal plate onto a product, leaving an impression of the artwork. When applied to a product, debossing creates a high-perceived value for the item and the brand it represents. Due to the sophisticated and professional look it creates, debossing is commonly used on high-end corporate items, such as diaries and notebooks.
Thermo debossing is also available on certain products. This process uses additional heat to create a unique two-tone finish.
Producing glamourous, shiny images, it is impossible not to notice a foil stamped product. Foil stamping is very popular on wedding invitations and cards. The process produces a wonderful sparkling image that boasts beauty and importance, highlighting a special occasion.
The process of foil stamping is similar to debossing but in addition to imprinting the product, a thin metallic film is applied. There is a timeless and glamourous look to this form of decoration.
Epoxy Doming is the application of a clear, glossy polyurethane resin over the top of a printed paper or plastic substrate. It is commonly used on badges, magnets and other items that require durability. The protective coating forms a clear dome over the printed substrate shielding it from deterioration.
The three-dimensional appearance of epoxy domes catches the eye, highlighting the colourful images it protects.