Apparel Decoration Guide.
There are a number of different ways you can choose to decorate your merchandise/apparel.
Screen Printing: This is the most commonly used print technique for T-Shirts and it is both efficient and cost effective (esp. for larger orders.) The versatility of this decoration method allows it to be used across a whole range of branded merchandise. The choice of ink (water-based/plastisol etc) will determine the final look/feel of your design.
How does it work? A screen stencil is created which is then used to apply layers of ink directly on to your chosen product. Only one colour can be applied at a time, so a new screen is made for each colour and lined up to make a multi-colour design.
Good to know: This decoration method is best for logos with 4 colours or less (because complex designs with lots of different colours require a different stencil for each colour). Due to the set up process it is not usually suitable for small orders.
Heat Transfer Printing: This print technique is perfect if you are looking for a cost-effective option with unlimited colours available. The minimal set up costs/equipment also make it suitable for smaller or individually personalised orders. It is environmentally-friendly and allows for finer details and smaller text than embroidery.
How does it work? This type of printing uses a combination of heat and pressure to seal your design/logo on to your merchandise.
Good to know: Certain synthetic materials are not suitable for heat transfer and you are unable to use an iron on the printed area of the garment.
Dye Sublimation Printing: A popular method of printing which produces a high-quality end result. Perfect for use on nylon/polyester apparel branding it with beautiful and long lasting colour.
How does it work? This method of printing transfers a design from sublimation paper into a piece of fabric or material using a combination of pressure and heat.
Good to know: 100% cotton and other natural materials are not suitable for this type of decoration as they lack the pores required for the ink to be absorbed into. There is no white ink for sublimation so white cannot be printed onto coloured apparel.
Embroidery: Embroidery is a popular and versatile style of decoration perfect for polos, shirts, caps, bags, towels and jackets. It is a strong/durable method of decoration that is more resistant to damage than many and because the product does not need to be laid flat (like it would be in printing) it is better suited to items such as hats and bags. The added texture and intricacy of the design gives embroidered branded apparel high perceived value – perfect when looking to create merchandise that stands out.
How does it work? After choosing the appropriate thread colours, your logo is “digitized” (mapped out for the embroidery machine) to ensure your logo is matched to your exact specifications. A sample stitch is run and approved by you before proceeding.
Good to know: Embroidery is only suitable for use on fabric merchandise and might not be the right choice if your design includes small lettering or very fine details.
Debossing: Ideal for decorating leather, cotton, polyester and fleece apparel, debossing creates depth and detail by depressing your chosen design onto the material. Perfect for sweatshirts and outerwear as well as leather notebooks, journals and luggage tags
How does it work? A die is constructed from metal in the shape of your logo and heat and pressure are used to transfer it onto your product.
Good to know: Detailed designs and small lettering does not work well with debossing.
Laser Etching: This style of decoration gives a subtle tone-on-tone effect to your chosen apparel. Your logo/design will be in the same colour but darker.
How does it work? Laser technology is used to burn your design/logo right into the fabric.
Good to Know: Medium-coloured fabrics achieve a stronger/more distinguishable design than light or dark fabrics.
Laser Engraving: Laser engraving creates designs that are highly durable. Ideal for high-touch promotional products such as custom engraved pens, water bottles and flasks. The most frequently used decoration method for metal products.
How does it work? A computerized laser uses energy to cut, charr or vaporise the chosen surface to create the required engraving.
Good to know: Only suitable for wood or metal surfaces.
Thanks for reading our apparel decoration guide. If you need any help with your next merchandise purchase get in touch with one of our decorating experts today.