Your Guide to Decoration Methods: Part 1

  • Jun 25, 2024

How do you decide which type of decorating method to use when so many possibilities are available for customized apparel and products? Each decorating choice has various advantages. In this blog, we’ll break down the most common decoration methods so you can make the best possible choice. 

First things first, what is decorating?

Decorating is the act of customizing or personalizing a promotional product to display a logo or marketing message on an item.

What are the types of decoration methods?

There are many different types of decoration methods for all types of promotional products. Can you guess how many there are?

  • Embroidery
  • Screen Printing
  • Heat Transfer
  • Debossing
  • Laser Engraving
  • Custom Patches
  • And more!


Break Down of Decoration Methods

Ever wonder how each decorating method is performed? Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular techniques!

What is Embroidery?

Embroidery is a decoration method that uses a needle and thread on fabric or other fibrous materials to incorporate a design. First, the logo has to be "digitized"; essentially, this is a process that converts a logo image into a stitch file for an embroidery machine using the specifics of the design's colors and details. After that, the correct thread colors are selected, a trial stitch out is performed, and embroidery machines are then used to stitch your logo precisely to the requirements in the final digitized file.


  • Perfect for custom polo shirts, hats, jackets, backpacks, and towels.

embroidery blanket


What is Screen Printing?

An easy way to think about this is as a photographic stencil process. The most common method of screen printing is to create a stencil on a mesh screen and then apply layers of ink directly onto a product by stamping or scraping the ink on top of the stencil, transferring the logo or design to the print surface underneath. The result is the screen's image transferred to the print surface, except in the areas that are impermeable to the ink. The versatility of this decoration method allows it to be used on a wide variety of items.

  • Perfect for custom t-shirts, activewear, drinkware, pens, and notebooks.

screen printing example


What is Heat Transfer Printing?

Heat transfer, also known as vinyl or digital transfer and thermal printing, is a great decoration choice for an affordable design option with unlimited colors. This type of printing uses heat or pressure to transfer an image to a product or apparel. The two most commonly used methods use vinyl or ink.

  • Perfect for custom t-shirts, activewear, sweatshirts, backpacks, teamwear and uniforms.

heat transfer printing example



What is Debossing?

Debossing gives your logo a 3D element. Dies are constructed from metal in the shape of a logo. Heat and pressure push into the product and form the material into the impression. This decoration method produces stunning & sophisticated results and is perfect for leather decorating. 

  • Ideal for notebooks, home goods, leather items, and waterproof apparel (cannot be used across seams or zippers)


debossing example


What is Laser Engraving?

A unique application where the laser removes a thin layer of fiber or pigment dye. By adjusting the intensity and speed of the laser sculpts dimensions into the design, resulting in stunning clarity and precision. 

  • Perfect for custom pens, drinkware, and tools.m # RTIC-30


laser engraving example


What are Custom Patches?

Custom patches are a great way to add some texture and depth to a logo! Either a logo is debossed on a leather patch and then the patch is embroidered to the product OR an embroidery patch is created of a logo, and it is attached to an item via heat transfer.

  • Ideal for hats!

patches example


Decoration methods are vital to a successful branded promotional product campaign. Want to check out even more decoration methods? Keep an eye out for a future blog on part two!


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