Promotional Glossary ~ The Lingo
Promotional Product manufacturers have their own unique terms. Since you may not already be an expert, we are here to make sure your order gets completed without a problem, but in case you wanted to know the lingo, here are some of the most frequently used terms that apply to promotional products. In addition to these explanations, we have more in depth explanation pages available in the links outlined below...
 
Decorating Types Explained:

Screen Printing /
Silk-Screening


An image is transferred to the printed surface by ink, which is pressed through a stenciled screen and treated with a light-sensitive emulsion. Film positives are put in contact with the screens and exposed to light, hardening the emulsion not covered by film and leaving a soft area on the screen for the squeegee to press ink through. Also, you must create a different screen for every colour you are going to print, and then screen each colour separately allowing drying time in-between.
Embroidery
Stitching a design into fabric through the use of high-speed,computer-controlled sewing machines. Artwork must first be "digitized," which is the specialized process of converting two-dimensional artwork into stitches or thread. A particular format of art such as a jpeg, tif or bmp, are very difficult to convert in to an embroidery tape. The digitizer must actually recreate the artwork using stitches. Then it programs the sewing machine to sew a specific design, in a specific colour, with a specific type of stitch. This is the process known as digitizing.

Deboss

Achieved by depressing an image into a material’s surface so that the image sits below the product surface.
Emboss
An image is impressed in relief to achieve a raised surface.

Hot Stamp

Setting a design on a metal relief die or plate, which is then heated and pressed onto the printing surface to achieve a deboss.
Etching
Using a process in which an image is first covered with a protective coating that resists acid, then exposed, leaving bare metal and protected metal. The acid attacks only the exposed metal, leaving the image etched onto the surface.
Laser or Foil Stamp
Applying metallic or coloured foil imprints to vinyl, leather or paper surfaces. Usually with a deboss.
Die-casting
Injecting molten metal into the cavity of a carved die (or a mold)
Die-striking
Producing logo’s and other flat promotional products by striking a blank metal sheet with a hammer that holds the die.
Colourfill
Screen printing an image and then debossing it onto the vinyl’s surface.
Pad Printing
A recessed surface is covered with ink. The plate is wiped clean, leaving ink in the recessed areas. A silicone pad is then pressed against the plate, pulling the ink out of the recesses, and pressing it directly onto the product.
4-colour Process
A system where a colour image is separated into 4 different colour values by the use of filters and screens (usually done digitally). The result is a colour separation of 4 images, that when transferred to printing plates and printed on a printing press with the coloured inks cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black (CMYK), reproduces the original colour image. These four colours can be combined to create thousands of colours just as your computer printer does.
Laser (Engraving)
Imprinting method by which art or lettering is cut into a material by a laser beam that vaporizes the portion exposed through openings in a template.
Sublimation
Dye transfer process where the image consists of a coloured dye permanently embedded into the material surface of pores. Used to imprint messages, graphics and photographs on a variety of items, primarily mousepads, mugs, T-shirts, caps, and trophy medals.
Decal
Artwork is produced on a transparent decal, then applied to product.
Offset Printing
A process of transferring ink from a metal printing plate to a rubber-covered cylinder. Used on more complex artwork and for higher quantity runs.
Printing & Industry Terms

Pantone Matching
System (PMS)

A book of standardized colour usually in a fan format used to identify, match and communicate colours in order to produce accurate colour matches in printing. Each colour has a coded number indicating instructions for mixing inks to achieve that colour. Please feel free to use our Colour Chart as a guide if you do not have access to a PMS Chart.
Personalization
Imprinting an item with a person's or companies name using one of several methods such as mechanical engraving, laser engraving, hot stamping, debossing, sublimation, or screen printing, just to name a few.
Set-up Charge
Screen Fee
Plate Charge
A fee charged by the manufacturer for labour and materials needed in order to transfer your logo to the printing method. A silk-screen requires a screen fee for every colour, this is required to manufacturer the screens needed for printing your logo. A deboss or hot stamp requires that a metal plate is made for which the machine makes the imprint which is otherwise known as a plate or a die. Digitizing for embroidery is the most expensive process, a digitized tape has to be made so the stitching machine can recreate your logo on fabric. We get these setups done by companies who specialize in correctly making these items, and the fees are the costs for this service. Normally we will keep your plate, screen, or mold on hand for a few years for reorders, this way you will not have to pay the full setup charge again.
Exact Rerun
Usually there is no setup charge on exact reruns of an order.
Colour Match
Sometimes the manufacturer will have to charge a small fee to custom blend a special colour that you have requested. If you select from their normal colours, you will be able to avoid this fee.
Camera-Ready
Artwork that is black and white and has very clean, crisp lines that make it easy to scan and suitable for photographic reproduction
Paper Proof
Impression of type or artwork on paper so the correctness and quality of the material to be printed can be checked. All of our non rush orders receive a paper proof to make sure your order will be completed as you desire.
Pre-production Proof
An actual physical sample of the product itself produced and sent for approval before an order goes into production. This process has high costs (£30.00 - £200.00) due to the labour involved, and having to slow production at the factory to make the sample.
Production Time
The amount of time needed to produce and ship an order, once an order has been received and approved. Stock products with a one-colour imprint usually ship within 12-15 working days. Custom products and those with multi-colour imprints can require longer production times.
Overruns/Underruns
The number of pieces that were printed in excess of the quantity specified or the production run of fewer pieces than the amount specified. The industry standard on most products is + 3 to 5%, with the exception being on paper and plastic bags. They can range from +10 to +25%. Suppliers bill on the actual quantity shipped. Most suppliers will print more than ordered in case there is a problem with a few items so you do not have to leave someone shorthanded during an event. Also you will have extra items onhand for warranty purposes.
Copy Change
A fee charged for changing the imprint copy on a product either at time of the original proof approval or upon a re-order.
Quantity Pricing
These are the prices for which we discount your items based on the quantity you would like to purchase. They are usually always made clear at the time of order.
Drop Shipment
Where we ship direct from the manufacturer to your location. An order shipped to more than one location will be charged an extra carriage fee for each additional destination. This option is not always available on all products.
Halftone
An image produced by breaking the subject into small dots of varying intensities of gray ranging from white to black.
Bleeds:
Printers cannot print right to the edge of a paper sheet. To create that effect, the printer must use a sheet, which is larger than the document size. Then the printer prints beyond the edge of the document size (usually 1/8”), then cuts the paper down to the correct document size.

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