How will your order be printed? What printing methods will be used?
The majority of the business gifts and promotional items in our range are printed at our own print shop within our head office in the Netherlands. Here there are more than 80 advanced printing machines, operated by our expert printing team. Each material type requires a different printing method. How does this method work and how will your item be printed? What is a silkscreen print? Tampon print? What is doming? Are you curious to know the answers? We are more than happy to inform you. Below you will find videos which show the diverse printing methods, used for various materials, together with a brief explanation.
Domed stickers are vinyl stickers with a full-colour print on which a layer of artificial resin is poured. This creates a spherical sticker that is scratch-resistant and has a fancy look. The domed stickers can be produced in nearly any shape and size and—thanks to an extensive variety of foils and printing techniques—almost any effect is possible. The IGO domed stickers are waterproof, colour-proof, UV-proof, self-adhesive and durable.
Pad printing is an indirect way of printing in which the ink is transferred by means of a silicon pad (tampon). The great advantage of this printing technique is that the pad is flexible and adjusts itself to the object on which you wish to print. This means that it is possible to print on round, hollow and other curved objects, for example. Set-up costs are charged for pad printing because the machine must be set-up/adjusted and because a flat plate with layers must be created (cliché). These layers are filled with ink that is absorbed by the pad. The top layer, which will have dried a little, becomes a bit sticky which makes the ink stick to the pad. Then while the pad moves towards the product, the wetter side also dries and becomes sticky. Ultimately, the ink is applied to the item because the silicone pad has ink-resistant qualities.
Screen-printing is a printing technique used for graphics as well as for industrial purposes. Textile can be printed with this technique, but also print plates and solar cells. For screen-printing a fine piece of mesh is stretched over a frame provided with a layer of photo-emulsion. The logos that you want to print are laid on the frame during exposure so that the dark surfaces can be washed out after exposure. These washed surfaces are permeable areas on the screening frame through which the ink is pushed. When the ink has been applied to the frame it is brushed over the fine mesh with a squeegee. The ink goes through the mesh in the washed areas and is pushed onto the item.
Embroidery is a technique with which a text, logo or image is stitched onto an item with needle and thread. This is done with polyester threads so that the embroidery does not shrink and is colour-resistant. Embroidery is applied to sports shirts, jackets, caps, towels, bags and many other items to provide them with a logo and an exclusive look.
With digital printing it is possible to print a full-colour logo straight onto an item. Printing gradient fills and colour transitions are no problem at all. The digital printing technique is already fully incorporated in conventional offset printing work. The technique is also becoming increasing popular for printing corporate gifts. With digital printing, the colours of the digital file are transformed into CMYK colour values. The advantage of digital printing is that you can print relatively fast in full colour, even when printing small quantities. However, it is not always possible to print exact PMS colours such as is possible with pad and screen-printing. Colours composed from CMYK can deviate marginally from the PMS values in your colour palette.
Laser engraving is a popular technique for providing promotional items or corporate gifts with a logo or even an individual’s name (personalisation). The laser engraving machine is controlled by a computer on which the logo or text must be programmed. This computer-controlled laser is very precise so that laser engraving of relatively small and fine designs is also possible. The advantage of laser engraving your commercial item is that the engraving is scratch-resistant and has a chic look. Laser engraving cannot be done in colour. The colour depends on the material and the under-layer of the material because the laser removes the upper layer making the under-layer visible.
Blind embossing is a printing technique that doesn’t use ink, which is why it is also called embossed stamping. Blind embossing creates a relief in the material, which gives the item a chic look.
Transfer printing is a printing technique that is extremely suitable for multi-coloured detailed prints. With transfer printing the print is first applied in mirror image on paper (transfer paper). Using a printing press, the item and paper are pressed against each other at a high temperature. Because of the heat, the ink comes off the transfer paper and attaches itself to the item. Basically, there are two types of transfers: a screen transfer and a digital transfer. With screen transfer, the print is applied to the transfer paper colour by colour by means of the screen technique. With digital transfer, the print is applied in one go to the transfer paper by means of a colour printer.
Sublimation printing is a printing technique in which a digitally printed image is gassified into the material by means of a heat press. The special sublimation dyes have a special quality that turns them from a solid state to a gas at a certain temperature without going through a liquid state. Sublimation printing is only possible with polyester, which opens up at a certain temperature so that the dye can be absorbed into the material. When cooling down the material seals the dye making the print extremely wash-proof. The image is not on the surface, but rather part of the surface.
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