Sunday, August 17, 2014

5 'Other' Ways You Can Imprint a T-Shirt

T-Shirts are a big part of my business and the main reason for that is they are such an effective promotional tool.  After all, a T-Shirt is literally like a blank billboard. You can fill it however you choose, and your message will be seen by anyone who comes in contact with the shirt.  If the shirt is imprinted a clever or memorable message, it will be noticed.

However it's also easy to stay in what I call the 'One Color on a White Shirt' mindset. I'd say the vast majority of orders that any printer prints on a given day will be of the one ink color variety.  And that makes sense, as one color imprints work perfectly fine. Your target audience still gets the message and the per shirt cost gets kept down, so everyone wins.
But there are other imprint techniques available that can transform a simple T-Shirt into art, and if your budget allows, you may want to at least consider one of the following techniques for an upcoming order:

Four Color Process

This print method literally uses 4 Process Inks (as opposed to spot color inks) -- Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black to achieve a multi-colored design. The transparent inks are applied directly on the shirt in a dot format that uses half-tones and the blending of colors to achieve a look with many colors, shading and fine details.  High Resolution Screens are needed due to the nature of the inks and expect some significant art prep. But whether it's a design like the one shown above, or one with a photo, 4 (or full) color process is the technique to use.



Heat Transfers

This is a great alternative to 4 color process screen printing when small quantities of multi color designs are needed.  There are some limitations with this technique, but for many full color designs this is an option worth considering. Basically you're printing a full color digital image onto a piece of vinyl transfer material. That material is then heat transferred onto the shirt via a special press. You pay more per shirt, but you don't have an screen charges. Need a dozen shirts with a complex art design for an event next weekend? Your most cost effective option is a transfer imprint.  


Vintage Soft Hand Screen Printing

This technique prints with a washed down appearance and vintage quality, especially when combined with distressed artwork.  To achieve this look a soft based additive is incorporated into the ink mixture and the design is printed without the use of an underlay of white ink.  The National Football League has done a terrific job marketing vintage apparel with versions of team logos that were used in past decades. This is the imprint method they use.  


Foil Ink

This is an overlooked, yet terrific technique to really make a logo shine (literally). It involves an adhesive, that looks like a white paste, getting screened onto the shirt. Then a special type of foil is heat transferred onto the white adhesive. Run it through the dryer and you get a look like the one pictured above.  

Reflective Ink

Got an event happening outdoors at night?  Consider reflective ink.  This is an ink that literally contains microscopic glass particles.  Shine a light on it in the dark and your design really pops.

These are just a few of many imprint techniques which can help turn your T-Shirt design into something that people are going to want to wear. There are many more. If you need some help with the creative aspect of this, please contact us.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Charge It!

I'm not sure whether its that the big iPhone update earlier this year did a tune on batteries or just an indication of how much we've come to rely on mobile, but the hottest promotional item around right now the portable charger for mobile devices. The demand for these is so big at
present that the suppliers are struggling to keep them in stock.

If you're a would-be buyer of chargers for branding purposes, the amount of of choices can be confusing. And inevitably, when any promo item gains popularity - the 'we have the cheapest ones' companies will be out on the internet doing what they do.

One important thing to keep in mind however is that appearances can be deceiving. Not all chargers are alike - in fact there are significant differences in performance and quality that are easy to miss unless you read the fine print (i.e. the specs).

Among the key figures to look at:

Milli amp Hour (mAh) 
This is How you assess battery capacity. Think of it as the gas tank in a car. Not only do chargers have different capacities, so do the devices that they charge, The iPhone 5S for example has a 1560 mAh internal battery while the Samsung Galaxy S4's is 2600 mAh. 

With tablets the differences are even greater. The iPad 1's battery is 6600 mAh for example. The iPad 3's meanwhile is 11,560! 

Other Factors-

Input Current- How quickly a charger charges itself.  The lower the number, the longer it takes.
Output Current-  How quickly a charger charges a connected device.  A charger with a 1 Amp output will charge an iPhone at the same rate as the phone's wall charger.  But it won't come close to charging an iPad which requires a 2.1 Amp output.

UL/ETL Certification- Last year there were reports of people being shocked and fires even being caused by some low-end generic chargers.  UL/ETL certification comes from independent laboratories that ensure that the chargers are safe to use. Pay particular attention to this certification when buying from anyone stating 'we have the cheapest chargers'. If it's not there, you're putting your brand needlessly at risk.

Here are 3 solid choices in the 3 main price categories:


Slim and easy to carry, this charger also packs a punch -the 2,200 mAh internal battery can fully charge an iPhone and its 1A output means it charges at the same rate as the iPhone's wall charger. Price range: $13.00+

Zoom Mini
Another diminutive charger that really packs a wallop.  It fits in a pocket, but the 2800 mAH battery will fully charge all smart phones and at the same time its 2.1 Amp output speed ensures that it will put a decent (though not full) charge on a tablet.  It charges itself in 2-3 hours and will hold a charge for 900 hours - over a month,of standby time.  Also takes a full color imprint.  Price Range: $38.00+

Zoom Energy
Small and compact but this 8,400 mAh Li-Ion battery device is powerful enough to charge all generations of iPad, Kindle and other Tablet/eReader Devices. It can also charge 2 Smartphones at once because it has two USB outputs.  Plus it's "Zoom" charging technology allows you to charge at an output speed up to 2.1 Amps, so you can quickly keep all of your mobile devices operational. It fully charges in 4.5 hours and will hold its charge for 900 hours. Price Range: $95.00

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bottled Up Thoughts

There has been a lot in the news over the past year or so about efforts by municipalities to ban single use plastic bags - the kind that supermarkets and drug stores have given their customers for as long as anyone can remember.  Now a similar movement is taking hold to ban single use plastic water bottles.

Concord Massachusetts made national headlines a while back when it banned the sale of bottled water within the town.  Now San Francisco has been in the news as last month they banned the sale of bottled water in 21 ounce or less containers at all events held in public places. This is an offshoot of the green movement, and like the plastic bag ban, I would expect the efforts to gain momentum in the coming weeks and months. Against this backdrop, the attractiveness of reuseable water bottles as a promotional item only figures to increase.

Some great options beyond the typical sport bottle include:

Pismo Aluminum Water Bottle

25 oz single walled water bottle with a great looking black matte finish. Bold color silcone center band accent.
Pricing starts at $4.99.

Contigo Madison Hydration Bottle

24 Oz Contigo branded Autoseal hydration bottle with carrying loop and push button opening.
Pricing starts at $11.99.  Order as few as 48 pcs.

Bobble Sport

New edition of the popular Bobble bottle with a carbon filter which removes the impurities out of tap water - This one is made for an active lifestyle with a soft touch cap and easy-carry handle.  Provides the equivalent of 300 single use bottles of water.  
Pricing starts at $9.98

Friday, February 21, 2014

What's Hot in Promotional Products? Impressions from Vegas

I recently traveled to west for the largest trade show in the promotional products industry - the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) show in Las Vegas.  The show is huge - and that's putting it mildly. But if you're serious about promotional products, this is where you need to be.

Here are some items that stood out for me:

Bright Colors- Bright neon colors are definitely in this year - a trend fueled, I think, by the athletic shoe industry.  Look at retailers like Zappos, Nike.  Its all about neon and trims and accents -- and this trend as found its way into promotional products for 2014.  


Performance Shirts from Zorrel- This is a great line of performance shirts and this year there's lots of color, like the 'Boston' and 'Vegas 2' shirts below. These shirts will all wick away perspiration and stand up to lots and lots of wear. This company has supplied Nike for years - so you get top brand name quality for a lot less.


Fluorescent Ceramic Mug 11 oz fluorescent ceramic mug with matte finish. Available in fluorescent yellow, green, pink and orange. How cool are these? There is no better way to make a mug stand out. These are a product of the Numo line.

Speaking of mugs- how about one as big a as a cookie jar? This 'Really Big Mug' from supplier, Sabina, is a prototype for one that's currently in development. Should be available relatively soon.

Also take a look at the Mix N Match Tumblers to the upper right. Many tumbler and lid colors to choose from. But again, bright colors.

I also really liked these:

It's the Ceramic Bling Glimmer Cafe Mug - Made in the USA and sure to get anyone's attention. And Bling is not limited to ceramic mugs. I also found some Bling Travel Mugs!

If you live in the eastern half of the United States this is probably the last thing you want to see given the weather we've had, but think ahead to summer. How about this Freezer Gel Tumbler to keep you cool when it really heats up. Toss this in the freezer overnight, pour your drink in the morning and you're ready to go.

Wine remains trendy (one of my favorite trends lol). This item I think is going to be a big seller - The Vino2Go Wine Tumbler. Keeps your wine at the temp you want it when you're out this summer - whether its chilled or at room temp. The double walled insulation will keep it at the temp you want it!

For more information on these and other promotional items visit our web site at