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Merchandise Branding Processes

Branding onto Promotional Merchandise might be our “thing” but it’s not everyone’s thing, is it? 
To help you decipher your DTG’s from your transfer prints, we created this helpful guide to the branding processes that can be used to create your company merch.  
 
In this guide, we explain the wide range of print processes available at Totally Branded, which products go “hand-in-hand” with these processes. You might be wondering “Why is this person going on and on about print processes, I haven’t even found what I’m looking for yet?” If you’re looking for company branded merchandise, you’re in the right place! Take a look at our homepage! Alternatively, check out our page all about what branded merchandise is, and what branded products would be best for your marketing campaign. 

What is Printing?

In general, printing is a process for mass-producing text or imagery using a master form or template. It allows the same design to be reproduced again and again; involving the transfer of a design onto another surface like material or paper, using ink or other printing mediums. 

There are many different printing methods which are used globally for clothing and decorative purposes; as well as advertising and branding purposes.  
Printmaking itself has a deep history which can be traced back to the year 220 AD. However, industrial printing has come a long way since then, with the help of advances in technology and skills we can make prints quickly and professionally.
Some common types of printing that are used in the branding industry are digital printing, screen printing and transfer printing. We are going to talk about all of these and more in this article. 

Digital Printing

Digital printing involves the reproduction of images on physical surfaces and can be done with industrial and desktop sized printers. Although, this would depend on the product that is being printed. Using computer software, images can be enhanced and easily edited with full colours; which allows for a full colour digital print on the product. This is a great option if you want to have a highly detailed design on your product.  
We have a DTG machine (Direct to Garment) which we use for our digital printing of bags and other fabric garments; it is a large printer with ink jet technology. It can print in full colour photographic prints onto cotton fabrics, but not polyester.  
UV Printing is a type of digital print process that utilises ultraviolet light to dry the ink on the product as soon as its printed. This method can be used for a wide range of products. Essentially, if it fits in the machine, it can be printed in this way. The beauty of digital UV printing is the incredibly quick drying time; the ink to bonds to the product immediately. This is a godsend when we need to produce branded merchandise with fast delivery. Another benefit of full colour digitally printed merch is the low setup cost. There are no screens to be produced or ink to be mixed so we can have a jig of promotional Curvy pens printed in as little as 4 minutes; from loading the design into the software.   

Screen Printing

Screen Printing is the process of transferring a stencil to a garment, paper or product through a thin mesh using ink. This is a simple method of mass-printing but effective. Screen printing can be done on a large scale with a larger screen; or a smaller scale with a smaller screen. This method can also create bright bold artwork and fabrics, as well as clothing, accessories and other products.  
One of our more common screen-printed products is bags. Screen printing is often limited in how many colours each design can have (1-4 but in some cases up to 16 colours), in our experience screen printing fabrics such as printed tote bags, promotional t-shirts etc on quantities above 100 pieces are far more cost effective to be screen printed as opposed to digitally printed.  

A further benefit of screen-printing tote bags and branded clothing is that silkscreen printing offers very solid, bold colours due to the amount of ink that is applied through the screen stencil.  

Transfer Printing

Transfer printing is a branding process that allows us to apply your design to custom products using a special printed vinyl paper. This paper is then placed and set onto your products using heat, transferring your design. This allows for a full colour print without having to sacrifice the colourful details of your design. 
Here at Totally Branded we have a range of different heat presses, which allow us to transfer designs onto all kinds of different products, including branded mugs, printed caps, branded coasters, and so much more.  

Debossing

Debossing is the process of imprinting a product with a logo or design. The imprint left behind can be left as a sleek and stylish imprint in the product, or it can be filled with what looks like ink to make the branding pop, this is known as foil blocking. We have an impressive range of branded notebooks, some of which we deboss in house within our debossing and foil blocking department. These are really popular with customers as debossed notebooks are still branded but offer a really stylish and executive branding appeal. 

Pad Printing

Pad printing, also known as tampography, or tampo printing, is a process that allows us to transfer a 2D image onto a 3D product. This is done by transferring the image on to a silicone pad from a laser engraved printing plate; which is then used to print the design onto the product. We use this type of print on things like bowls and plates as this type of printing fits to the curves of the product.  

Engraving

Engraving is the process of carving into metal or other hard surfaced material to create a design deep set into the surface. Modern day engraving uses laser engraving machines. The laser itself carves the material, acting as a chisel when it connects with the surface. Laser engraving machines are also more capable of producing highly detailed designs. Engraving creates a really sleek and stylish look on your product and is ideal for anyone wanting a subtle or executive style product.  

Embroidery

Embroidery is a way of transferring a design on to a garment or product which is made of fabric using a needle and thread or yarn. This can be done by hand or by machine on a larger scale.  
Machine embroidery still uses thread and needles but involved a preloaded design onto the machine which then automatically embroiders that design onto a fabric, which will have been pulled taught in the framing system. The framing system ensures that only the area within the frame gets embroidered;  keeping the material in place during the process. Here at totally Branded we have a great in-house embroidery team. They work hard to reproduce the best embroidered designs on all sorts of products, from fleeces and jumpers to beanies.  

Our in-house embroidery machines are modular machines which allows us to run multiple different designs across our machines simultaneously. The beauty of the modular machines is that this allows our embroidery service to operate with a no minimum order quantity, meaning our customers can order as little as one embroidered polo shirt if required.   

We're Here to Help!

We hope that this has helped explain some of the processes that go into making branded merchandise; and has provided you with some context behind the pros and cons of each print process. If you’re still not sure, we are always happy to help, so don’t hesitate to contact us. 
Maybe you’ve got your heart set on a product already but not sure where to start, check out the “How it works” page. Alternatively, select “Fast quote request” on the product page and fill out the form; one of our merchandise consultants will be in touch.

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