Promotional Merchandise Personalisation Processes

Printed promotional merchandise hero

Our Branded Promotional Products can be personalised in many different ways, below is a list of the most popular processes used to apply your company logo to our products.

Screen Printing

One of the oldest forms of printing this technique originates back to China during the Song Dynasty between 690-1279.

Recognised as one of the most cost effective and diverse forms of printing it is widely used in all walks of life including manufacturing, signage, and the production of promotional gifts, particularly personalised clothing, branded plastic gifts and printed ceramic mugs.

Screen printing works by forcing ink through a tightly stretched mesh which is attached to a frame called a screen, hence the name Screen print. This screen is coated with a photo sensitive emulsion or film, onto this is placed a stencil or photo positive of the image. Then the screen is subjected to Ultraviolet light which cures the emulsion, all parts of the screen are cured apart from the image. The screen is then cleaned which then allows ink to pass through the mesh onto whatever substrate being printed.

This process is used for printing one colour at a time. To print numerous colours a different screen is required each time, and the process repeated again.

This printing technique allows you pantone match colours with accuracy and precision and is widely used by us here at Total Merchandise for both flat bed and cylindrical printing.

Below you can see a screen in use in one of our printing factories.

Screen printing promotional merchandise

Foil Blocking or Foil Stamping

Promotional foil stamped merchandise
Foil stamping machine

Foil Blocking is a personalisation method used frequently by Total Merchandise when branding promotional folders, wallets, or in fact any type of leather or imitation leather gift.

A blocking die is created using the logo required then a layer of foil is placed between the die and the product, heat and pressure is applied which allows the foil to adhere to the product. This method is not suitable for multicolour printing or designs with very fine detail. Pantone colour matching is not available with this method, we would normally brand your logo in Gold or Silver, creates an exceptional superior impression.

Laser Engraving

Laser engraving promotional merchandise

A permanent, unchangeable and precise personalisation is obtained with laser engraving on different types of material although the best results are seen on promotional metal products, such as branded keyrings, engraved glass products and awards, branded mobile phone stands, clocks or engraved pens. The laser technique is where the surface of the personalised item is eliminated and the colour of material below determines the colour of the imprint. This style of personalisation creates a unique tone on tone look for your branded gifts.

Promotional merchandise laser engraving
Laser engraved merchandise
Promotional merchandise engraving machine


Embroidering promotional merchandise

This process allows multicolour decoration of flexible fabrics by using a needle and threads. The calculation of costs is based on how many stitches are required to recreate the branded logo. Pantone colour matching is not available but close colour matches are possible from the multitude of thread colours available.

The goddess Athena has been credited by Greek Mythology with passing down the art of embroidery along with weaving, so this personalisation method has been around some time! However, these days Total Merchandise use it mostly for embroidered clothing, such as custom Polo Shirts, personalised Hoodies and embroidered Caps, and even personalised towels. Embroidered Business Gifts can be personalised on both flat and irregular surfaces, ideal for promotional clothing using left breast, right breast, back, front or even side line images.

Promotional merchandise embroidery process
Promotional clothing embroidery process
Embroidered promotional hat
Embroidering process for promotional merchandise
Branded Embroidered Products

Digital Printing

There are a number of different digital printing techniques, the most popular being Direct Digital and Digital Transfer. This Full Colour Process allows Total Merchandise to personalise items such as promotional stress toys or branded bags and umbrellas using an almost unlimited range of colours, shades and gradients and even photographs!

Direct digital printing uses modern inkjet technology to fire microscopic droplets of ink directly onto the surface of the product. In digital transfer printing, images are printed onto a specially formulated film and then heat transferred from the film to the product surface. This method allows photographic-quality full-colour reproduction and is especially useful for wrapping prints around curved edges. Digital printing is ideal for lower runs when you need to print in full colour as other routes can be prohibitive.

The world of Digital Printing onto Promotional Merchandise also encapsulates Digital Full Colour epoxy Doming, for items such as promotional sweet tubs, as well as Dye Sublimation printing, which uses unique sublimation dyes transferred onto transfer paper with a liquid gel ink through a piezoelectric print head. This branding method is particularly useful for the personalisation of ceramic mugs, where the client needs to use a full colour process logo.

Digital transfer printing process

Embossing and Debossing

An Embossed Promotional Product is where we raise your company logo against the background creating an almost three-dimensional look, whereas Debossing is where we sink your logo into the product itself creating an interesting effect on the right gift.

These methods of personalising promotional gifts work particularly well on promotional conference folders, embossed silicon wristbands, promotional keyrings, wallets, custom travel card holders, debossed diaries and personalised leather goods.

A great example of this process would be Government bodies using embossed seals on Birth Certificates or postage stamps.

The three most significant areas to control when using these personalisation processes are Pressure, Heat and Die Depth, thankfully our experts do this day in and day out, so they are used to that!

Promotional merchandise with debossing
Promotional embossed merchandise
Total merchandise debossed notebook
Debossed promotional notebook

Additional Terminology

You may have seen certain terminology being used in the promotional merchandise industry “set up charge” or “screen charge”.

This is a general term referring to the makeup of the screens, dies, templates or jacquards used in the process of applying personalisation details to a product. In a lot of cases these are free, but in some cases a small charge may apply.

We hope this has given you some insight into the world of promotional merchandise and the personalisation methods used by Total Merchandise to brand your logo onto our selection of business gifts.

Please use the link below to browse our branded promotional gifts collection.

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