As a general rule, the cost of decorating any item is based on the number of colours involved in the image, whether there is more than one position or image to be applied and the number of items to be decorated. The main exception to this rule is embroidery where it is the number of stitches that determines the price, not the number of colours involved. Pad Printing, Screen Printing, Plastisol Transfers, Decals, Off Set Printing and Embroidery all have multiple colour options.
Set Up Fees
Initial set up fees apply with virtually every form of decoration. Most of these fees are quoted separately to the decoration costs as they generally apply only to the first decoration run. Some decorators will also charge a reduced set up fee for repeat decoration runs.
Set up fees are charged to cover the cost of putting an image onto positive or negative film, making a printing plate for each colour and setting up a jig to ensure each item is decorated in exactly the same position. This can be a lengthy process which is why it is usual to have up front fees on the first run rather than amortise these fees into the decoration costs and pay them again and again on repeat runs.
Set up fees will vary from decorator to decorator depending on what is involved in setting up a job for the form of decoration chosen.
Pad printing is a process of using a silicone pad to lift up an image from a printing plate after it has been inked and transferring the image to another surface. Each colour requires an individual plate. There are restrictions on how large an image can be depending on the type of product. Items traditionally pad printed include pens, pencils, keyrings and a wide range of small promotional and gift items.
Embroidery is a method of stitching a logo onto clothing, hats, bags, towels and many other items. Multiple colours are available and it is the only multiple coloured process that does not have a separate charge or separate set up fee for each colour. The logo being reproduced is digitised by using specialised embroidery digitising software. The cost of embroidery is based on the number of stitches in the design and the number of items being embroidered.
Screen printing is a process where an art screen is placed over an item, i.e T-Shirt and ink is then applied over the screen. Each colour requires an individual screen.
When a full colour printed logo is required, process printing provides excellent reproduction quality and is durable and hard wearing. Ideal for back packs, sports bags and t-shirts/apparel.
Sublimation is simply a process of transferring a photo or picture and applying it to a ceramic object i.e coffee mugs. Photos can also be sublimated onto other items like t-shirts, etc.
Decals are normally used to decorate porcelain, glass and ceramic items. These decals with one or more colours are produced, then applied to the item i.e. coffee mugs and placed in an oven for up to 6-8 hours at a temperature of 800 degrees. This almost melts the image onto the mug leaving a very permanent decoration.
Laser engraving is used primarily on metal type objects. Stainless steel items and silver or gold metal objects are often laser engraved with an image as an alternative to pad or screen printing.
Leather, PVC and paper items are often embossed. The process of stamping an item i.e a diary or folder with either an image in silver or gold foil is what embossing is all about. A block is made of the image and then the image is stamped onto the object. Certain objects i.e leather items can also be blind embossed leaving an image indented into the product without either silver or gold foil involved.
Plastisol transfers involves a process of applying a transfer (sticker) with one or more colours to an item. Transfers are often used on products that have a rough surface i.e. bags or hats, where screen printing cannot give you the registration or fine lines that may be part of the image being reproduced.
Etching is a similar process to laser engraving and is used as a method of decorating glassware with a permanent image. The image appears to be coarser in comparison to the rest of the glass.