Our guess is that you might not have heard of pad printing before – its name is not as familiar as embroidery, or debossing or laser engraving. But what you probably don’t realise, is that many products around your home have been branded using the pad printing technique. For example, the printed label on your T-shirt that’s replaced a scratchy tag; the text and graphics on your car’s indicators; the logo on golf balls, or the designs on holiday souvenirs. Pad printing is all around you.
What is pad printing?
Pad printing is a branding method that essentially allows the transfer of a 2D image onto a 3D object. It is a printing process that’s used for complex products that may have uneven, rigid or concave surfaces. Also known as tampography or tampo printing, the process involves the image being transferred using heat and a silicone pad.
The history of pad printing
Almost 200 years ago, a basic form of pad printing used soft gelatin bags to print an image. The first printing plates were made of copper and totally engraved by hand. In those days, the method was used to brand crockery and china plates – one of the earliest known applications of pad printing. In the Second World War, the technique gained popularity through the branding of watches. It was a way for watchmakers to print on the curved surface of a watch – the ability to brand on ‘unprintable’ surfaces is what made pad printing such an invaluable branding technique – then and now. Today, automation and digitisation have made the process a lot faster – there are no more painstaking hours of hand engraving complicated designs.
Why choose pad printing as a branding technique?
Each branding technique has its advantages with regards to the specific product or printing needs required, and none is better than the other. But if you’re looking to invest in promotional products or corporate gifts that have more complex surface areas that might make other forms of branding difficult, then pad printing is a good option. That’s because its main advantage is the use of the silicone pad, which can adapt to irregularly shaped surfaces and all sorts of materials from wood to pastic. But, aside from that, pad printing also promises the following benefits:
- You can expect high-quality image clarity and resolution.
- It works well for larger production volumes.
- The pad can be customised with any design requirements.
- Pad printing is an efficient process.
Which promotional products can be pad printed?
You name it, we can pad print it. Whether you want a photograph displayed on corporate gift coasters, or a multi-coloured logo printed onto a stress ball – there is an endless supply of products that pad printing works well on. Here are just a few great corporate gifts or promotional products that we think work brilliantly when custom-branded using the pad printing technique.
- Pens, pencils, erasers, pencil cases and stationary sets (see all stationery options here).
- Corkscrews (see all wine sets here).
- Hand sanitizers and lip balm
- Bubbles and yoyos
- Stress balls
- Water bottles and sunglasses
- Pill boxes
- USB car chargers and wall chargers (see all tech products here).
- Mugs (see all ceramic mugs here).
Get in touch
Looking for a pad printing specialist in South Africa or near you? You are in the right place. Browse our full range, give us a call and let us help.