To make our site easier to understand we have put
together a glossary of terms that are commonly used in the promotional products industry. Once you have finished reading
them you are sure to be an expert!
C D E F
G H I J K L
M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A useful or interesting item of merchandise usually carrying an imprinted
advertising or promotional message and given with no obligation. Another,
though older, term for promotional products.
Also known as debossing. This is a process where an image is depressed into
a material such as paper, leather or suede, so the image sits below the
product surface. Ink may or may not accompany the stamp (colour stamping).
Merchandise given by a business in goodwill, without obligation to its
customers, employees, friends and the like. Unlike promotional products, the
business gift often is not imprinted with the advertiser's identification.
Metal emblems that are stamped from a die. A coloured paste made from ground
glass is applied into the recessed areas of the emblem. The emblem is then
fired at 1400 degrees and polished by stone and pumice to achieve brilliant
colour. Gullies and ridges separate each individual colour, so fine lines
between colours are difficult to achieve. This is considered a very
high-quality product, and is slightly more costly than other alternatives.
Used in emblematic jewellery and pins.
Cost Per Thousand (CPM)
The cost of reaching one thousand units of a media vehicle's circulation or
audience with a particular advertising unit. Thus, the cost of an
advertising unit divided by the circulation or audience (however it is
defined) of the media vehicle in which it appears. Since promotional
products are advertising media, one can calculate their CPM just as one
would in traditional advertising.
Premium or other reward given by manufacturer to retailers or distributors
in return for a specified bulk purchase.
The image is depressed into a material such as paper, leather or suede, so
the image sits below the product surface. Ink may or may not accompany the
stamp (colour stamping).
A water-soluble decal, printed on an offset or letterset press, is submerged
in water and slid onto the product to be imprinted. The decal is rubbed with
a cloth or squeegee to remove any excess water and air from between the
product and the decal. The product is then kiln-fired. Once fired, the decal
becomes fused with the glaze. Hairline registration and superior
reproduction of detail make it an excellent choice. This imprint withstands
washing very well. This method is labor intensive, since each decal must be
aligned and applied by hand. Used in when many colours and tight registration
are desired on less than perfect porcelain, ceramic and glass products.
A mold into which molten metal, plastic or other material is forced to make
a special shape, such as pen barrels or rings. Also a tool made of very hard
material used to press a special shape into or onto a softer material such
as coins and emblems.
Molten metal is injected into the cavity of a carved die (a mold).
The use of sharp steel blades to cut special shapes from printed sheets.
Steel plate engraved with desired image used to “stamp” (apply) gold or
A method of producing emblems and other flat promotional products. A blank,
cut from a metal sheet, is struck with a hammer that holds the die.
A die is used to press an image into a softer metal such as brass or gold.
The die is put into a press, and the press is released and actually squeezes
the metal into the recess of the die making the imprint on the metal. The
height of detail is not as deep as casting; the letters and images are
shorter. Fine detail and deep images cannot be achieved because the lines
and gullies in the die may break during the striking process. Used in metals
such as medals, coins and belt buckles.
An item given free with a purchase at the time of the purchase. Includes
on-packs, in-packs and container premiums as well as those given separately.
Direct Response Advertising
Advertising that seeks an immediate response from consumers by mail or
telephone usually outside established channels of distribution. Direct
response advertising may be carried by mail, by the broadcast media or by
the printed media.
Materials such as a product replica, for example, are suspended in a clear
substrate, usually poured acrylic or Lucite(r).
Stamping an image on a material, such as paper, leather or suede, so the
image rises above the surface of the object. As in debossing, ink may or may
not accompany the stamp.
"A design stitched onto a material through the use of high speed, computer
controlled sewing machines. The design is reproduced with tightly-stitched
thread. Embroidery is most commonly used on wearables and some bags. It
gives your item an added perception of quality. Very fine detail is
difficult to achieve. The minimum letter height that can be embroidered
clearly is 5mm.
A wide variety of thread colours are available. Unlike process printing
exact PMS colour matches are not available. Instead a thread of the closest
'fit' is used.
Pricing is dependant on the number of stitches in the design. If you are
unsure what category your logo falls into please send a copy to us for
The cutting or etching of designs or letters on metal, wood, glass or other
materials. There are three engraving techniques. hand-engraving,
hand-tracing, and computerized laser engraving. Engraving is performed with
a diamond point or rotary blade that cuts into the surface of the product.
Engraving offers a permanent imprint that will not wear off because it is
cut into the metal base. Used in metals such as trophies, pens and
Encapsulated Post Script. A file format that supports both PC and MAC
images. EPS format is used to transfer artwork between programs. It allows
the decorator to change the size of you logo without losing resolution.
The product to be imaged is coated with a resist (a protective coating that
resists the acid). An image is exposed on the resist, usually
photographically, leaving bare metal and protected metal. The acid attacks
the exposed metal thus leaving the image etched into the surface of the
metal. Very fine lines can be reproduced by this process and the only
tooling is a piece of film, so spec samples are easily-made.
A flexible rubber plate is wrapped around a cylinder for speed and control.
As the paper moves under the printing plate, it is pressed against the
printing plate by another roller, and the ink is transferred onto the paper.
A separate plate is needed for each individual colour. Typically done on less
expensive materials than screen printing. The inks are very thin and not as
durable as those used in screen printing.
Also know as hot stamping. Method is which type or designs in the form of a
relief die are impressed with heat and pressure through metallic or
pigmented foil onto the printed surface. It is used to decorate fabric,
leather, paper, wood, hard rubber, coated metal and all types of plastic.
The collection of a typeface including the lower case, caps, numbers and
special characters having unified design. This can be an important
consideration when copy includes foreign terms or names with special
characters. The different kinds and quantity of characters in a font will
vary according to the manufacturer of the typesetting system.
The reproduction of full-colour artwork through the combination of four
process ink colours - magenta (red), cyan (blue), yellow and black - in
specified intensities. Colours are separated into individual colour plates so
that when printed in register, they produce a full-colour illustration.
Four-colour separations refer specifically to the process colours: magenta,
cyan, yellow and black.
The process of packaging and shipping an order for a distributor.
Fulfillment may be performed by a supplier, a distributor or an independent
A process in which a piece of glass is covered with a template that has a
design cut out of it. The glass is then sandblasted while the portion of the
item not covered by the template is protected. The template image is thus
etched into the glass.
The reproduction of a continuous tone artwork (such as a photograph) done by
filtering light through a screen that converts the image into a pattern of
dots of varying size.
Heat Transfer Printing (Direct Transfer Process)
Image is screened on a transfer substrate which is then laid directly on the
material to be imprinted. The image is then “transferred” from the substrate
to the material through the use of heat and pressure. Works best on cotton
and cotton blends.
Heat Transfer Printing (Sublimation)
"Image is screened on a transfer substrate which is then laid directly on
the material to be imprinted. The image is then 'transferred' from the
substrate to the material through the use of heat and pressure.
Heat transfers allows you to print more complex logos or those with multiple
colours and graduations."
Method is which type or designs in the form of a relief die are impressed
with heat and pressure through metallic or pigmented foil onto the printed
surface. It is used to decorate fabric, leather, paper, wood, hard rubber,
coated metal and all types of plastic. Hot stamping is a “dry” imprinting
process meaning the object can be handled immediately after the stamping
without fear of smearing the imprint.
Advertising designed to make its recipients feel more favourable toward the
advertiser by portraying the advertiser in a favourable light.
Reward for a purchase or performance; as it applies to promotional products,
it could be, depending on the response required, an ad specialty, premium or
A printer that reproduces by projecting ink onto paper without the
mechanical impact of plates.
Coated with a clear plastic or two separate sheets of paper joined together
as a single sheet to provide a special thickness or varying colours from side
"A process in which an optically-read or stenciled art/copy is engraved
(burned) into a material by a laser beam. Laser engraving is commonly used
on wood, aluminum and metal.
The effect of laser engraving on aluminum objects is subtle. If you require
a more pronounced effect we recommend oxidising. Oxidising is the blackened
finish that goes over laser engraving."
A process of creating multi-dimensional, animated or bi-view effects by
photographing with an extremely fine screen and placing plastic made up of
tiny lenses over the top. Sometimes called xography.
The original method of mechanical printing, still used though to a lesser
extent, based on relief printing. In other words, the ink is transferred
from raised metal or rubber to the receiving surface. Also called
A generic term for printed material. Most typically used to refer to offset
printed paper that is intended to be mounted to a display.
A firm's registered symbol, outline, drawing, picture, brand, abbreviation
or unusual type style of letter, word or brand name. Used in identifying and
advertising and becomes recognized as synonymous with that particular
company, brand or service.
Offset Lithography (Offset Printing):
A printing method in which an inked image on a flat plate is transferred to
a rubber surface before being pressed on the printing surface. The plate
surface is treated to accept greasy ink in image areas that resist water and
to accept water in non-image areas while resisting ink. In this method of
printing, the ink is less likely to rub off after an object is handled as
often happens with letterpress printing.
An additional number of products in excess of what was originally ordered.
Five to ten percent is generally considered customary and acceptable.
A recessed surface is covered with ink. The plate is wiped clean, yet the
ink remains in the recessed area of the plate. A silicone pad presses
against the plate and pulls the ink out of the recesses. The pad then moves
and presses directly against the product. Pad printing is excellent for
imprinting small, unusually-shaped objects for which screen-printing is not
practical. This is not the most highly-recommended process for imprinting
large areas; screen printing is better for large areas of ink coverage.
Commonly used on plastics, paper, ceramics, glassware, pens, leather and
Photo Etching (Metal)
Process in which an illustration and/or copy is imprinted into metal,
usually aluminum, by acid and then sealed by an anodizing process. This is
popular for awards and plaques.
An image carrier, rubber or metal which transfers the ink to the printing
Point-of-Purchase Advertising (POP)
Advertising materials - displays, cards, etc. - which are placed within
retail stores at the place where purchases are actually made.
A product imprinted with the specified design and copy of an issued purchase
order. Its purpose is to clarify the appearance of the product and the
imprint prior to manufacturing.
A product or service offered free or at a reduced price if the recipient
performs some task, such as purchasing an item, meeting a sales quota, etc.
Useful items that can be imprinted with the name of a company or individual
and given free to the end user without obligation.
A screening process, using “puff inks.” After screening, the product is
exposed to heat. A chemical additive in the ink will cause the ink to rise
as it is heated to dry. This process must be used on a cotton weave material
where the ink has something to latch on to. Therefore, it cannot be used on
nylon. Used on wearables, such as caps and hats, T-shirts.
Register / Registration
Positioning of elements in printing so their images will be located
precisely as desired on the printed sheet especially with reference to
applying additional colours.
"Also known as silk screening, screen printing is a method where ink is
pressed through a fine mesh screen, leaving a colour imprint on the
Ideal for logos with limited colours and patterns. Pricing does differ
between logos with spot colours (colours directly referencing a PMS or
permaset colour) and those with process (graduated) colours. Price also
differs based on the surface is being printed on. Some surfaces need to be
pre treated to ensure that the ink 'sticks'. Dark fabrics have to have an
additional layer of ink screened onto the surface so that the logo can be
Screen printing can be used on irregular shaped objects. Glass, plastic,
fabric and wood are popular materials on which to screen-print. "
Set Up and Running Charges
Special charges added to certain products that are priced in the catalog
without printing included in the price. The set-up charge covers the cost of
preparing type for the copy on the press; the running charge covers the
Another, older name for promotional products.
Step and Repeat
The same image is printed continuously in a pattern on the same sheet of
A process for imitating copperplate engraving, such as on calling cards, by
dusting the freshly printed ink surface with resin powder which, when
heated, fuses with the ink to form a slightly raised surface. The finished
product is very similar to embossed printing in feel and appearance but is
much less expensive.
A number of products less than what was originally ordered.
Most of the information above is courtesy of Promotional Products