Logo Decoration 101

Branded Merchandise: Logo Decoration 101

Hi there, Katie Duggan here. Part of my role is not only finding the branded merchandise you need but also knowing the trends and best practices in branding and logo decoration.

Now, you may be thinking, that’s a no-brainer, right? Well, have you ever had a bad experience with a decorator? Maybe your brand colors looked off on polos for your staff? Or a tumbler with your logo didn’t imprint correctly?

Oh, the anxiety.

That’s where I come in. I’m here to provide you with helpful information and tips for any type of decoration you may need. Let’s take a look at the popular decoration techniques trending right now.

Screen Printing

Let’s start with screen printing. This imprinting method is standard with apparel, where your brand or logo design is transferred to fabric. Now that can mean materials of all different types, whether that’s a standard sweatshirt or a team polo, but typically ink is squeegeed through a stenciled screen and stretched over a frame. Last but not least, the artwork finishes in a dryer. From one-color logos, front-and-back placements to full-color designs, this method is a decorating staple.

My Tip: Not all products can be screen printed due to heat sensitivity; make sure to select a durable fabric for top-quality results.


Another trend in apparel decoration is embroidery. This method involves adorning an item with a needle and thread or yarn. Logos are converted and digitized with online software to create precise and detailed stitch patterns, angles, depth, and stitch types to ensure it comes out just right. Standard thread options include polyester and rayon. Have a metallic logo? No problem, there are also metallic thread colors and even Nomex thread options for fire resistance. Embroidery is a high-quality decoration option for not only polos, jackets, and fleece apparel, but it looks sharp on hats, blankets, and bags, too!

My Tip: As a cost-saver, make sure to have vector or eps files of your logos or designs to save on digitizing charges.


Let’s talk about imprinting next. This decoration method is very similar to screen printing, but instead of apparel, this method is applied to hard goods. Specialized ink is applied directly to a branded merchandise item and solidifies after printing with an ultraviolet light that follows the print design. Items can be embellished with one-color or full-color artwork with this decoration style, too. From drinkware to bags to pens, a wide variety of branded merchandise options can be imprinted with your logo or custom design.

My Tip: Request the imprint area size dimensions for your items to make sure you know how large or small your logo will turn out and give yourself the ability to maximize if possible.

Laser Etching & Engraving

Laser etching and engraving are alternative decoration options popular with hard goods such as drinkware and upscale materials. This decorating process starts with tools that burn a logo or design into the item’s surface, giving it a subtle tone-on-tone appearance. The image the etching creates has a high-end look that is typically the same color but a few shades darker than the item’s color. Laser etching can also have a metallic finish as an option as well. Logos, both big and small, turn out nicely with this durable decoration method.

My Tip: Shopping for glass merchandise? This method is my go-to for glass drinkware because of the high-end finish.

Embossing & Debossing

Embossing and debossing methods are popular for office supplies or leather and suede items for a clean, professional finish. These methods use a metal-engraved die tool and a combination of time and temperature to create a design that will not fade or wash away. An embossed logo is created when the logo is pressed, creating a puffed or raised look. Debossing is the opposite; the logo is depressed and dented into the material of the item. This method tends to have a higher price point, but it brings an elevated look (literally!) and an upscale option to standard decoration techniques.

My Tip: Ask for a pre-production sample; this allows you to visually see and feel your embossed or debossed logo and have an accurate representation of the item before it’s sent off to production.

The beauty of working with me at Rhodes Branding is I have the industry knowledge, established partnerships with decorators, and pricing knowledge to make sure you’re within your budget without sacrificing quality. When you place an order with me, I’ll ensure your brand colors and logos come out just right.

I’m here to help elevate your brand. It’s my job not only to find the items you want and need on time and on budget but to help you navigate decorating your branded merchandise and ensuring quality is top-notch.

I look forward to working with you; reach out today and let me know how I can help you with your branded merchandise order.

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