Printing Techniques That Are Used On Promotional Pens In The Promotional Gifts Industry

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One of the most popular of all promotional gifts is the plastic promotional pen. There are a number of choices available when printing a company's branding on these items:

 Perhaps the oldest form of printing is screen printing which was developed in 1907. Today it consists of a mesh which is coated with a photosensitive substance. A photographic film positive of the required design is then laid over it and contact is made by a vacuum being applied. When it is exposed to a bright ultra violet light the exposed areas become bonded to the screen and the unexposed image areas can be washed out. When ink is drawn across the screen using a squeegee it is forced through the image areas and onto the object being printed. This method is usually used for reproducing solid spot colours as a new screen and film is required for each subsequent colour.

 Pad printing is one of the most popular forms of printing on pens as it is capable of imparting an image onto small and unusual shaped objects. The required image is transferred onto a soft, flexible silicone pad from an etched plate. The pad is then used to print onto the promotional object and is able to wrap around it giving up to 180 degrees of coverage. Only one colour is printed at a time but registration is good and four colour process printing can be possible using this method.

 Digital printing is a relatively new process which produces photographic quality images in full colour. The press receives an image from a computer which is then used to create a photographic imaging plate bypassing the requirement for films and plates. The image is then transferred to a blanket and from there to the product. When the process is finished the ink is immediately dry. The resulting image can give 100% coverage on a pen barrel.

These are the three main printing methods available today and each has its own merits. Obviously full colour digital printing offers the greatest degree of flexibility for adventurous designers and pens printed using this method need to be seen to be believed. If you have not seen products decorated in this way yet then why not request a sample from one of the many reputable on-line promotional pens suppliers who will be only too happy to oblige.

For those of you that require an altogether more upmarket approach laser engraving on metal pens may be more attractive than any of these printing methods.
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