Glossary:Terms & Concepts Relating to BRANDING PRODUCTS
Familiarity with these terms will help you make better use of your vendor’s catalogs and website. These terms will also help you bring new specificity to conversations with your vendor. Because an informed customer is an effective customer, you should check here whenever you encounter an unfamiliar term or concept or whenever you need to put your needs in language that will be understood by your vendor and by the factories he or she represents.
Advance Premium – given to a prospect before he or she takes action like sending a contribution or signing up to be a volunteer. This can be an effective incentive for core supporters of your mission – but will be a bust for those who are not already committed.
Appliqué – separately embroidered piece of fabric which is then permanently applied to a garment, tote bag or other item.
Art Proof – impression of type or artwork on paper, usually (not always) presented as an inexpensive black and white facsimile to be checked for errors before authorizing a press run. (Also called Paper Proof.)
Biowashed – to achieve a subtle used appearance, some shirts and caps are dyed normally and then put through a washing cycle with mild solvents and some rocks or similar clunky items to break down fiber and pigment and produce a subtle washed-out look that is highly valued in some garments and by some people.
Birthday Plan – some nonprofits do special mail solicitations to celebrate the anniversary of their founding, to invite the renewal of a contribution or to honor the anniversary of some other event. In essence they use the annual cycle to make a statement or request in support of their mission.
Blind Embossing and Blind stamping – these are similar techniques in which a die is used to create a design on a surface by heat or by pressure or by both. Often color is filled into the depressions. Without that color – the process is blind and the result is a subtle (and upscale) color-on-color bas-relief logo.
Bonding – two fabrics can be permanently attached through heat sealing to form a heavier bonded fabric with the surfaces of each fabric on alternate sides. This is a fine way to produce inexpensive, durable substitutes for more costly fabrics used in tote bags, portfolios and similar items.
Bounce-back – an offer for an extra incentive included with a premium sent in response to a recent contribution. The offer is intended to encourage an immediate follow-up gift.
Brushing – scuffing up the nap on fabric to provide a softer surface texture.
Buckram – that stiff material on the inside of a cap which makes the front stand up.
Butt Register – touching two colors in an imprint. While this is simple to achieve when printing on paper, it can be tricky when attempted on certain products, especiallywhen imprinting spot color on ceramics and glassware. However, there are production techniques and industry standards that minimize the problem. (For more information about this important concept, see Color Break, Ceramic Decals and Trapping.)
Camera-ready Art – any kind of graphic – photo, design, drawing, lettering – that is ready for the production process without any further adjustment to size, proportion or elements. A key factor in “camera-ready” is the resolution of the art – it must be appropriate to the printing process to be used. Low-resolution art, such as faxes, logos from business cards or letterhead, or web graphics are never acceptable as camera-ready art – but might be sufficient for digital media.
Canvas – available in several weights, canvas is a cotton fabric notable for its firm strong utilitarian feel. Canvas is best used in a natural (Cream of Wheat) color, with minute discolorations on the surface. That’s because the fabric will take dye well but then may release it when affected by moisture or abrasion. Consequently, colored canvas is not widely used. “Canvas” also refers to a type of weave of fabric, and can be in other materials besides cotton – typical examples include polyester or nylon “canvas” used in totebags and similar goods.
Casting – the process in which a liquid (molten) substance is forced into a mold, after which it hardens into the 3-dimensional shape intended.
Ceramic Decal – when colors in a multi-color graphic touch (Butt Registration) or are too close together, they cannot be screenprinted directly on a curved ceramic or glass surface. This problem is discussed under color-break – except that the challenge is greater with the curvature. To handle this situation, the image is first screenprinted on the flat surface of a special decal. The decal is then applied by hand to the ceramic or glass surface and sent to the kiln. The fierce heat dissolves the decal, leaving the pigment permanently heat-fused to the surface. NOTE: the magnificent EyeMax process has provided a better solution for imprinting complex multi-color art on kiln-fired ceramics. Check it out!
Clean-up Charge – some factories charge for cleaning up equipment after printing an order.
Cloisonné – a great look for emblematic jewelry, authentic cloisonné requires different colors of finely ground glass to be hand applied to a piece of metal that has been prepared with tiny ridges to separate the colors. When all depressions are filled, the piece is kiln fired at over 1200 degrees to melt the glass and create an even, glossy multi-colored surface. There are less labor-intensive, and therefore less expensive, variations to authentic cloisonné. Some, especially those that bake enamel on the surface, come pretty close in appearance to the real thing.
CMYK – printer-talk for the standard four colors that a printer will sequentially pass over a surface to build a full-color process imprint. Those colors are specific shades of cyan (light blue), magenta, yellow and black. (Be sure to check the definition of PMS and/or Pantone Matching System.)
Collateral Materials – broadcasting and print are likely to be the primary media a nonprofit hopes to use when distributing information about its mission. Although they gain some efficiency from targeting, when measured by retained impressions they are usually too expensive for heavy use by nonprofits seeking to enhance visibility, recognition and affinity. Collateral materials are all other media when used to supplement the messaging – conference displays, posters, skywriting, pamphlets, imprinted promotional products, billboards, bus signs, bill stuffers and dozens of digital applications via social media and websites.
Collectible Premiums – some fundraising incentives have a large long-term value to those with a high affinity level. Perhaps the most common example is a series of imprinted coffee mugs with graphics built around the organization’s mission and dated – one for each year.
Here’s a true story about how your core supporters can covet a rare memento of your organization: In our role as primary supplier to public broadcasting we produced 1,000 Carl Kassel Bobbleheads to celebrate the beloved NPR newscaster on All Things Considered and score-keeper of NPR’s Wait, Wait – Don’t Tell Me. This limited edition was kept in the family – NPR gave the bobbleheads only to station managers. But one canny manager realized that the artificial scarcity would make his (or her) bobblehead very valuable to an NPR fan and offered the Carl Kassel Bobblehead as a limited edition collector’s item on eBay. It was bid up to $750! For a $4.00 item!! Check here for video description of the event.
Color-break – the gap that can occur between spot colors because the imprint process cannot perfectly lay down one color next to another without overlap and/or gaps. So a precise break between the colors being printed is required. Example: in cloisonné jewelry little metal dams separate the melted glass or painted enamel. Example: industry standards require spot colors in a ceramic imprint to have a color break of 1/16 of an inch, although a couple really fine factories routinely work within closer tolerances.
Color on Color – an imprinting technique that applies a logo in a shade that is slightly – but only slightly – different from the color of the surface to which it is applied. In embroidery, because of the difference in texture, the identical color can be used and the technique is called tone-on-tone or tonal embroidery. Any way it is used, this subtle technique can be a very upscale application.
Color Separation – Sometimes called color seps, these are the basic films that determine the location and intensity of pigment to be laid down on each of the CMYK passes the press makes during a four-color process print run. (see CMYK) The cool thing is that graphic design software has not reduced the cost and complexity of producing color seps, thus making full process color less expensive.
Combed Cotton – fairly high-quality long-fibered cotton is knit or woven into a soft, tight fabric.
Continuity Program – a fundamental technique which builds repeat contributions by offering premiums in a series, the value to the owner increasing as each new item is acquired. For example, an organization celebrating a major anniversary could encourage successive contributions by rolling out a new coffee mug in each solicitation letter – each being part of a series imprinted with photos of the organization’s work in the good old days. (see Collectible Premiums above. AND, be sure to check this video!))
Co-Op Program – based on the word cooperative, this is an arrangement in which organizations band together to place a combined order that fills all of their needs. Example: the various chapters of a large association want to wear identical t-shirts at the national convention. Within certain limits the unit cost decreases as the quantity being produced gets larger. So each chapter, by ordering only for its own needs, will pay a higher price if it buys locally than if the national organization consolidated the chapter orders and gave the business to one supplier as a co-op order. The principle of price reduction through combined purchases is often built into an ongoing program.
Crop (& Crop Marks) – the process of cutting off a portion of a photo, graphic or other art. Crop marks are the indicators that show the printer where to cut.
Deboss – depressing an image, always with pressure and sometimes enhanced with heat, into material such as leather, paper or plastic. Debossing puts the graphic below the surface, producing a depressed image that can be color filled.
Die – 1) a hard shape which is pressed into softer material to register a design; 2) a mold into which molten material is poured so that when it hardens, it takes the shape of the die.
Die Charge – the cost of converting a logo into a die so that the image can be transferred to products through one of the several processes that require a die.
Drop Out – a print in which dark becomes light and vice versa. The trick is to let some features of the art or text drop out so the background color shows through. Think of it this way – you want to produce a three color bumper sticker with white, yellow and black print. The factory will just apply the yellow and black to white vinyl stock – and charge you for a two-color job – because some elements of your design will drop out to the white below and appear white in the finished product. You can check “reverse print” later in this glossary, but the explanation will be the same because it is a synonym for drop out.
Drop Shadow – a form of type that appears to be floating above the surface because another image of the same graphic appears slightly out of register (on one side) and looks like a shadow. This technique is primarily used in lettering, especially for emphasis in headings.
Dyed Garment – the garment is dyed after it has been assembled. This is likely to cause a slight difference in color between the fabric and the thread which sews the parts together. This creates a highly-prized worn and comfortable appearance. (A similar approach produces something called a pigment dyed garment.)
Eco Spun Fabric – a form of fleece that is made primarily from recycled materials that escaped the landfill after serving humanity as plastic bottles. Eco spun can be a big hit with supporters of green organizations.
Embedment – an item, often a logo, is embedded in an acrylic block which itself may be shaped to represent or relate to the subject of the embedment. Examples: a university logo embedded in a small acrylic football. Another example – at the right: a small metal disk cut from the old broadcast tower WHYY (Philadelphia radio & TV) replaced with proceeds from a capital campaign. WHYY offered embedded tower chunk paperweights as fundraising premiums.
Embossing – the opposite of debossing, this process raises the image above the surface of the material by pressing down the area around the logo’s elements. Like debossing, the image can be color-filled during the process.
Etching – a protective coating that resists acid is applied to a surface, but the design is allowed to drop out. This leaves that part of the surface unprotected. An acid wash then eats the design into the surface, creating a contrast to that portion covered by the protective coating and was therefore not eaten by the acid.
Flannel – wool or cotton fabric with a napped surface created by a heavy brush.
Flax – the plant from which linen is made.
Fleece – is fabric with a deep pile that adds no extra weight but makes the fabric extra warm and luxurious.
Four Color Process – the technique that makes four passes, each with one of the colors in CMYK to reproduce a full-color piece of art. (see CMYK and Color Separations.)
Frequency – the number of times your logo, imprinted on a branding product, is exposed to an individual. (AKA – the number of “impressions” it generates – the number of times it grabs a set of eyeballs.) Frequency, along with reach and impressions, is a way to measure the impact of all media – including branding products. Frequency is particularly important as a measure of impact on the product’s owner because of the benefits of cumulative impact on a brand. Research shows repeated impressions increase a constituent’s affinity for an organization and its mission.
Fulfillment house – a service bureau that manages inventory and picks, packs and ships merchandise to the addresses you provide. (Don’t confuse this with a “lettershop” or “mail house” that processes flat materials like solicitation letters. The two operations require different technology.) A fulfillment house may also process orders, provide telephone customer service, host e-commerce stores and supply its clients with additional, but related, support services.
Full Fashioned – an upscale knitting process which knits sleeves and collar into the body of the garment instead of the less expensive and less fashionable approach of sewing them to the body. (see Raglan.)
Garment Wash – the popular faded, worn look in casual clothing is obtained by washing garments in heavy industrial machines, often with rough objects and/or special enzymes added to the water.
Graphic Standards – your organization’s requirements for reproducing its graphics and branding elements on all surfaces. Stated in printer-speak and designer-speak, the graphic standards specify such things as color, font, spacing, proportion, location and placement. It mandates the size and location of certifications required by the organization’s lawyers and states whether and under what conditions the branding elements of your organization may be used with those of another organization. This is a critical tool. Failure to have one can destroy your career. Read more about it here.
Gusset – an extra piece of fabric sewn into the end seams of a tote bag to make it larger…. and sewn under the arm of a soccer or rugby shirt to make it roomier.
Halftone – can refer to 1) a monochromatic reproduction like a drawing, 2) a black and white photo, or 3) the result of breaking the original into a reproduction composed of tiny dots which gather to produce dark tones and disperse to create lighter shades. Observe with a magnifying glass the dots in a newspaper photo and you will see the world of halftones.
Hand – the term used by people in the ready-to-wear business to refer to the way a fabric feels, as in “It has a soft hand.”
Heat transfer printing – a printing process by which an image is applied to a sheet of filament and then, with heat and pressure, is transferred to the surface of a product. Also known as sublimation and direct transfer.
Henley – knit shirt with a multi-button placket extending from the throat to mid-chest, but with no raised collar.
Hot Stamping – process in which the design is incorporated into a recessed mold from which a die is created. That die, with heat and pressure, is then used to impress the design onto the printing surface.
Impressions – the number of times your brand elements (logo, positioning statement, etc.) are exposed to individual observers through print, broadcast or other media such as a promotional product. The number of impressions is one of three critical factors in measuring impact. The other two are Frequency and Reach.
Incentive – a reward offered for performance of a required act. In the nonprofit world, incentives usually carry the logo of the sponsoring organization, thereby increasing both the organization’s visibility and the appeal of the incentive to those who have an affinity for its mission. Fundraising premiums are the most common example of nonprofit incentives, but incentives are used to get people on a mailing list, to recruit volunteers and to gain readership for a blog or eBook.
Injection Molding – a hollow die is injected with molten metal, plastics like polystyrene or similar liquid which, when hardened, takes on the shape, dimensions and size of the internal cavity.
Interlock – a knitting process commonly used in fabric from which short sleeve shirts are made. Interlock knits feel and look like jersey knit on both sides.
Jersey – a single needle knit process with a soft, smooth exterior. This is the most common knitting technique for fabric used in short sleeve knit shirts.
Keyline – the outline drawing of material being prepared for flat printing.The keyline indicates the shape, position and size of the various elements like halftones, headings, line sketches, etc.
Lenticular Printing – a fairly uncommon process to produce multidimensional or semi-animated effects. With the right art lenticular printing can produce a stunning T-shirt.
Lycra – a primary fiber, usually cotton, blended with Spandex. The result is a fabric that has stretch and memory and is especially useful in form-fitting clothing or active-wear.
Make-Good – rerun of something that was produced improperly such as an advertisement that was printed up side down or coffee mugs that were imprinted in the wrong color.
Marketing Mix – the elements of a marketing program. Example: a marketing mix designed to support a fundraising campaign could include on-air advertising, billboards, newspaper interview with the founder, mass mailing of solicitation letters and announcement of this year’s award winner at the annual banquet.
Market Segmentation – dividing a market into categories with distinct characteristics such as age, income, purchasing patterns, education, etc.
Matte Finish – dull finish without gloss or luster. Glazed matte finish makes an especially distinctive and upscale coffee mug. The Duo-Tone Matte Finish coffee mug is becoming a sensational branding product. Check it out here!
Mechanical – final version of the pre-production steps that were processed for a print job – a pre-production representation with all elements approved, assembled and ready to go to press.
Metal Casting – production method in which jewelry or other material is shaped by covering a mold with molten metal. Pretty much the opposite of injection molding in which the mold is a cavity into which the liquid molding material is injected.
Microfiber – super fine polyester filament yarn with a fine hand and drape. Microfiber is durable, wind and water resistant and able to hold its color well.
Nap (or Pile) – the soft raised surface on a fabric, such as fleece, which is created by brushing or otherwise distressing it in a uniform manner.
Overrun – the better factories in the promotional products industry imprint a larger quantity than an order requires. In the post-production quality control process inspectors examine all products and remove the ones with substandardimprints. The client is invoiced only for the quantity shipped – and, because of this quality control practice, that quantity may be a bit larger or a bit smaller than ordered.
Pad Printing – an inexpensive method of imprinting logos on impermeable surfaces. This process is not suitable for all logos.
Panels – the sections of a cap that are sewn together. Except for fashion implications, this production variable should be of little interest to the client, but it is important to the supplier since the number and assembly of panels determines how and where screenprinting or embroidery may be applied – or not.
PMS – Pantone Matching System – this is the scheme used to precisely match colors for printing. It features hundreds and hundreds of gradations of color, each with a numerical indicator – called a PMS number. Each PMS number translates into a recipe for mixing ink to duplicate that specific shade. (NOTE: when assisting a client by phone the founder of VisABILITY, seeking to nail down the specific shade of blue in the client’s logo, asked her “Do you have your PMS?” Being new to the industry and unaware of the Pantone Matching System, she replied “Well, yes – not that it’s any of your business.” The embarrassed founder quickly provided her with the above explanation of the PMS system printers use to duplicate shades of color.)
Paper Proof – impression of type or artwork on paper presented as a facsimile of the finished imprint – but first to be checked for errors before authorizing a press run. (Also called Art Proof.) Digital proofs via email are replacing paper proofs.
Perceived Value – perceived value is just what the phrase implies – the worth someone assigns to an item because of its appeal or other intangible characteristic not related to its cost. A nonprofit’s logo carefully applied to appropriate merchandise can create an item whose perceived value to supporters greatly exceeds its monetary worth – while to non-supporters the perceived value will be nil. The enhanced (perceived) value is derived from association with a preferred cause or mission. This principle has enormous implications for nonprofit marketing.
Personalize – to imprint the owner’s name or initials on a product, often in conjunction with an organization’s logo.
Photoetching – the process of etching a photo into a metal surface with acid.
Pigment Dyed Garment – the dye incorporates resin binders which eventually leach out of a garment after repeated washings. This creates a highly-prized faded and comfortable appearance.
Pique – single knit construction also known as honeycomb or mesh. More upscale than jersey, pique is an open knit surface with a crisp slightly dimensional feeling and appearance – and is great for short sleeve polo shirts.
PMS Number – a number assigned to each specific color in the Pantone Matching System.
Polyester – a synthetic that by itself is a downscale fabric for apparel. But, when properly blended with natural fibers polyester adds wrinkle resistance, shape retention and durability.
Premium – a product offered to induce performance of an action, like making a purchase or a contribution. (see Incentive.)
Pre-production Cost – this is a catch-all term that may include dozens of factors like a graphic artist’s time to make adjustments to your art so it becomes more suitable for the imprint process being used for your order…the factory charge for creating a silkscreen of your art…the cost of dies or molds…the cost of various kinds of press checks or prototypes, etc. Each imprinting process requires that certain steps be taken before a quantity production run. These steps are variables that depend on the nature of the logo and the characteristics of the surface to which it is being applied. Since one or more of these steps will be required by the characteristics of the logo being imprinted, the cost of these steps must be a separate line on the invoice rather than be built into the product cost.
Pre-production Sample (or Pre-Production Proof) – a custom product sample carrying a prospective buyer’s imprint, produced with the expectation that the prospect will validate the quality of product and imprint and then order it in quantity – or reject the proof and require alternations and another proof before allowing the order to go into production. (See also Prototype and Spec Sample.)
Press Proof – prototype (pre-production sample) of a print job made with the process and equipment to be used later in the actual mass quantity production run after the proof is approved. (see Color Proof.)
Profile – height of a cap’s crown, with a rather small range between standard low-profile to standard regular profile. Nevertheless, these fractions of an inch are actually quite major fashion distinctions.
Promotional Product – an official definition from the industry: “a useful and/or interesting article of merchandise usually carrying an imprinted advertising or promotional message.” Research shows that nothing puts your identity in front of more people, more often and more positively AND with less cost per impression than quality promotional products. Having said that, we must point out that, after supplying 16,000 nonprofit fundraising and marketing campaigns, we know the way a promotional product is used is as important as the inherent characteristics of the product itself.
Proportion – the relationship of length to width of a design. Like color (PMS#), placement, and physical relationship to adjacent or nearby graphic elements, proportion is a basic element that should be specified by an organization’s graphics standards policy.
Prototype – a custom product sample carrying a prospective buyer’s imprint, produced with the expectation that the prospect will validate the quality of product and imprint and then order it in quantity. (See also Pre-production Sample and Spec Sample.)
Psychographics – a system of measurements and comparisons of psychological and lifestyle characteristics used by marketers when targeting individuals and/or households. This stuff has been heavily researched and is a reliable tool for astute nonprofits. (see VALS for a good example.)
Puff Print – a screenprinting ink that rises up like a blisterwhen exposed to heat during the production process . This is a distinctive application but should be used sparingly and only for certain logos. (Although usually cautious about this technique, years ago we used puff prints in a very upscale and subtle manner on a line of T-shirts and sweatshirts with the logo of NPR’s afternoon news program All Things Considered. We did a color-on-color puff print black on black and another white on white version.)
Raglan – in contrast with set-in sleeves where a tube (sleeve) is sewn to an armhole, the raglan sleeve is attached with a slanted seam stitched under the arm and in parallel lines leading from the armpit to the neck seam.
Random Sample – a product imprinted with the logo of an organization other than that of the client who wants to examine the product close-up. If the client likes the product, then a prototype can be made with the logo of his or her organization. The prototype then becomes a prelude to placing an order for a full production run. But inspection of the random sample comes first!
Reach – the size of an audience reasonably available to view your logo imprinted on a branding product. For example, if the logo is imprinted on a toothbrush, the reach is likely to be 2 or 3 people – but on an average baseball cap the same logo is likely to have a reach of thousands. Along with “impressions” and “frequency”, reach is a useful tool in making purchasing decisions.
Registration Marks – cross-hair marks (cross in a circle) applied to layers of negatives, artwork, photographs and other pre-production layouts. When the registration marks are fully lined up one over the other, the final print is perfectly registered and ready for printing.
Resolution – density of dots for any given output device. The unit of measurement is dots per inch (dpi) (see Halftone).
Retouching – a form of enhancement or correction by improving/highlighting/removing or otherwise adjusting details in a picture, photograph, print or drawing before printing it.
Reverse Print – a print in which dark becomes light and vice versa. The trick is to let some features of the art or text drop out so the background color shows through. Think of it this way – you want to produce a three color bumper sticker with white, yellow and black print. The factory will just apply the yellow and black to white vinyl stock – and charge you for a two-color job – because some elements of your design will drop out to the white below and appear white in the finished product. This is also called a drop-out.
Ring-spun Cotton – the technique that one made the HANES BEEFY-TEE become the standard of the Branding Products industry, this is a process of spinning cotton fibers which refines combed cotton to a much higher level of quality. It yields a softer, more even surface and a better ability to accept screen-printed colors uniformly. While HANES is no longer the supreme shirt label, ring-spun cotton is now available in several other moderate and upper price brands. Screenprinters prefer to work with the ring-spun because it holds its print better and longer.
Romance Card – a card or small pamphlet inserted in or attached to a promotional product. The romance card reinforces the product and gives it added meaning by providing information about the nonprofit whose brand it carries.
Sanforized – shrinkage controlled to less than 1%.
Sand Wash – a garment is washed in a mixture that includes sand. The light abrasion that results creates a subtle weathered look.
Screen – 1) series of dots used to reproduce halftones or blended colors. As the percentage of screen increases, the color prints darken. (see Halftone.) 2) the tightly stretched mesh through which ink is squeezed to create a screenprinted image. (NOTE: This will make more sense if you check the next two entries.)
Screen Charge – charge by suppliers for creating a silkscreen of the artwork used for imprinting products. (see Pre-production Coss.)
Screenprinting – imprinting method in which ink is squeegeed through a mesh screen stretched over a frame. (Think of a window screen with tiny holes.) Ink can be forced through only those openings in the screen that replicate the image being printed. Also called silkscreening.
Set-up Charge – the cost of preparing your graphics for the printing process being used on your order. (See pre-production costs)
Spec Sample – a custom product sample carrying a prospective buyer’s imprint, produced with the expectation that the prospect will validate the quality of product and imprint and then order it in quantity. (See also Pe-productionSample and Prototype.)
Spot Color – individual color imprinted in a specific shape, size and location as an element of a design. Most multiple color imprinting is an assembly of spot colors. In 4-color process printing, additional spot colors can be used for accent.
Step-and-Repeat – the same logo is placed all over the imprint area in a way that a pattern is created through repetition. Thus, the logo serves as both the basic graphic and as an element in a larger design. This is a cool technique.
Stone Wash – one more technique to get the distressed, faded or worn look that is in vogue today. This process places pumice stones (lava rock) in the washing solution to slightly beat up the garment.
Storm Flap – a wind barrier consisting of a strip of fabric sewn under or over the zipper or buttons on the front of a jacket.
Stratified Selection – Separation of a target audience into various levels or strata. (see Psychographics and VALS for more info.)
Sublimation – a dye transfer process that can imprint complex art in short production runs without the expense of color separations and 4-color process printing. It is wise to use only the highest quality factories for this process. Here is a video example of the extraordinary results that can be achieved with this process.
Temperature Reactive or Thermocromatic Imprinting – application of disappearing ink that reveals another graphic when heat is applied. Clever technique for mugs and less so for T-shirts – but in the end, after the trick has been seen a couple times, it becomes boring. This is a cool, but essentially meaningless marketing gimmick.
Thermal Engraving – uses heat to melt an image into metal or plastic, based on a die. Often used for small items.
Tonal Embroidery or Tone on Tone – upscale embossed look achieved by embroidering a fabric with thread that is the same color. (see Color on Color.)
Trapping – printing adjacent colors with minuscule overlap to allow for minor errors in registration which happen because of the limitations of the imprint process because materials stretch and shift as they are being printed. Careful trapping in a design can eliminate the base color of the item from showing through – however, one runs the risk of inadvertently creating a third color with the overlap. (e.g. by slightly overlapping yellow and blue prints, you might end up with a thin green line.)
Twill Tape – narrow herringbone twill weave tape that reinforces seams that receive a lot of stress and that is used as a design element in rugged garb like authentic looking rugby jerseys.
Underrun – shortage in the number of products delivered to the client caused by the quality control process at the factory. The better factories in the promotional products industry imprint a larger quantity than an order requires. In the post-production quality control process, inspectors examine all products and remove the ones with substandard imprints. The client is invoiced only for the quantity shipped – and, because of this quality control practice, that quantity may be a bit larger or a bit smaller than ordered.
Unstructured – caps without a buckram insert to shape the crown are unstructured. This is not only considered fashionable, it is also utilitarian – caps can be scrunched up and stuffed in a back pocket.
VALS (Values and Life Styles) – a personality test that identifies traits which affect consumer behavior in the marketplace. Because it deals with primary factors like motivation, values, beliefs, affinities, financial resources, etc., this can be a powerful evaluation and prediction tool for nonprofits to use with their markets.
Weight – visual impact of thickness or thinness in text, rules, logos and other graphics or combinations of graphics. Graphics standards policies deal with this kind of element.