Artwork & Printing

For most items we can prepare artwork for you from the elements/logos that you supply. Then we schedule printing and production to ensure that we dispatch the completed order on time as promised.

 

Printing of Promotional Products

Most promotional products are not just flat sheets of paper. This means that they can’t generally be printed with conventional (offset) printing machines or processes. Most items such as pens and pencils can be pad printed in 1 - 4 spot colours. Set-ups and plates are required. Reprints require reprint set-ups. Other items such as calico bags and some notebook covers are screen printed; while Flyers, Bookmarks, Envelopes and Presentation Folders are offset printed.

 

Pad Printing: The printing process and machines and inks used for most promotional products are completely different to printing on flat sheets of paper (offset printing) as they print more slowly, one at a time, on a huge variety of surfaces, each of which needs a special ink. This is called Pad Printing (an indirect photogravure printing method) and involves the application of a very thin layer of ink (about 4 microns) with more pigment/dyes than offset inks onto the surface of the object using a silicone pad for transfer. Each colour requires a separate plate and print run.

None of the dyes or constituents of the inks contain heavy metals. The nature of the process requires quick transfer and drying, tackiness and adhesion which can't be attained using water as a solvent.  Typically these inks contain esthers (alcohol), dyes and synthetic oil-based resins. We haven't heard of any successful replacement of the resins with soy-based products. We are however always on the lookout for developments in this area, and if more environmentally preferable methods, processes or materials become available we will of course use them.

Wrap or Rotary Printing: for uniformly round objects such as round pencils and pens, a larger print area is achieved by ‘wrapping’ the image around up to 2/3 of the object.

Screen Printing: To print larger objects such as paper bags, notebooks etc, a different process is used which allows for a larger print area. Each colour is applied over a screen containing the image and pressed through the screen to form the image. This results in a more solid print with more ink coverage than in conventional offset printing.

Offset Printing: For flat single sheets of paper, this involves the transfer of ink from a printing plate to a rubber-covered cylinder and then to the paper (hence ‘offset’) and is generally used on more complex artwork of high volume production runs of branded promotional products such as brochures, flyers, cards, posters etc. Up to 4 colours or more can be applied in a single print run. Plant or soy-based inks are now very commonly used in offset printing. Waterless Printing is also available as an option: it is world's best practice for low impact printing. It avoids use of isopropyl alcohol (a volatile organic compound) which when used with water in traditional printing, evaporates and expands into greenhouse gases. Waterless printing is just ink on paper. It is however still a higher cost option.

 

Other forms of printing may also be available depending on the product and the print run. These include: laser engraving, embossing and debossing, decal printing and sublimation (on cloth/bags etc), and cloth embroidery.

 

 

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Types of Printing Machines

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Examples of printed promotional products

Artwork

For most promotional products we can prepare the artwork for you from the logos/elements/text that you supply. For example, for pens, pencils, rulers, erasers and accessories we can layout any text or logos you want printed and email drafts for your approval. Artwork files you send to us, preferably by email, should be either EPS or Illustrator .ai Vector files, or high resolution (300 dpi) TIFF files. High Res JPEGs may also do at a pinch if we can successfully convert them to the format needed.

For high volume offset printed jobs, such as Presentation Folders, Flyers, Bookmarks, Envelopes and pre-printed paper Carry Bags we generally need print ready artwork, eg a print ready PDF.

Lead Times: these vary depending on the product involved but generally are around 3-4 weeks from approval of artwork. Let us know however if you have a more urgent deadline!

 

 

 

 

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