Methods of Decoration Glossary


Ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric in different shapes and patterns are heat sealed and sewn or stuck onto a larger piece to form a picture or pattern.  Applique is a great way to save on stitches for a larger embroidery design. Great for highly detailed logos on apparel. 



Debossing gives your logo a 3D element. Heat and pressure push into the product and form the material into the imprint you want. Debossing is done by imprinting a custom design or logo below the original surface of the product. Works extremely well on leather apparel or surfaces. Ideal for paper products and folders as well.


To emboss is to raise the surface. An embossed imprint is a design that’s raised up from the material by pushing it through a metal plate from underneath with another plate on top, creating a raised-up look. This process creates dimensional depth that is ideal for paper products, folders, and leather. 



Embroidery is the process of creating your logo into a stitched pattern. Your design is uploaded onto a computer and the machines read the digitized file and embroider your logo to its exact specifications. An embroidered imprint looks crisp, distinct, and professional. Embroidery is typically done on apparel, hats, blankets, towels, etc. 


Foil Hot Stamp

A specialty printing process, foil stamping is when a metallic (gold or silver typically) or pigmented foil is heated with a magnesium dye and then stamped with enough pressure to seal a thin layer of foil to the surface. The polished and glossy finish stands out on any color surface. Commonly used on labels, folders, and napkins. 


Heat Transfer

Heat Transfer is a method by which a design is transferred to a synthetic fabric by heat or pressure. The digital heat seal decoration method utilizes regulated heat and pressure to thermally bond graphics onto a material’s surface. Allows for finer details and smaller text than embroidery. This method is ideal for t-shirts, umbrellas, and bags. 

Laser Engraved

This method creates sharp, crystal-clear logos that are unable to be peeled or worn off. The image or logo is programmed into the laser software and then engraved onto the item. During this application, the laser removes a thin layer of fiber or pigment dye. Designs are extremely durable, making them ideal for frequently handled items. Laser engraved is ideal for name badges, pens, mugs, and tools. 


Offset Printing

During this process, images are printed onto metal plates and then transferred to rubber rollers. The rollers transfer ink to the image areas of the image carrier, while a water roller applies a water-based film to the non-image areas. Ideal for rough surfaces. Commonly used on posters and hand fans.


Pad Printing 

Pad printing is a decoration technique in which ink is transferred from a silicone pad onto the item’s surface, similar to a rubber stamp. This technique is a gentle method, making it ideal for fabrics and materials that may be delicate. This is typically used on stationary, golf balls, and drinkware. 


PVC Transfer

In this process, designs are laser cut from PVC material and applied with a heat press. This is a thin and more stretchable imprint, feeling like part of the garment. This soft touch is ideal for apparel graphics.


Sand Etching

This is created when the smooth surface is sandblasted to create a recess. This recess then becomes a deep frosty-looking imprint and brings forth a stunning design, making the area more tactile and prominent than the surrounding area. This method requires a mask. It can be used on nearly any material, including granite, marble, crystal, and glass.


Satin Etched

This process imprints a frosty color effect on glass. Satin etch looks and feels like the glass was etched with intricate detail, creating a clear matte imprint. The imprint is permanent and will never scratch off.  Ideal for glass drinkware.


Screen Printing

During this process, a screen is burned with your imprint, then the ink is passed over the screen, allowing it to go through the screen where the imprint was burned. Screen printing is the most cost effective decoration for larger custom apparel orders. Commonly used on apparel, drinkware, pens, and bags. 


UV Printing

UV printing is a unique method of digital printing utilizing ultraviolet (UV) light to dry or cure ink. In UV printing, mercury/quartz or LED lights are used for curing instead of heat. The high-intensity UV light closely follows as the special ink is distributed, drying it as soon as it is applied. The high-gloss UV coating allows for superior quality and vibrant color. UV Printing is ideal for just about anything, including wood, glass, metal, and plastic.