Promotional Merchandise Glossary

Welcome to our very own Promotional Products Glossary which is here to help you define Promotional Products terms used within our industry.

Sometimes when you are you are new to a product or service as a customer, some of the words and terms that you encounter for the first time can be a little foreign and even daunting.  This is true for the Promotional Products Industry too so what we have done is made it easy for you to locate words that you may be having difficulty with and provide you with a definition of these unique words that relate to our industry.  What is the difference between a screen print and a full-color print?  What is Vector-Based Artwork?  Simply follow the easy-to-use A-Z guide below to find a brief description of the term that you are searching for and how it relates to the promotional products industry. 

Here at Boost Promotional Products, we want you to understand our industry the way we do.  We use jargon that you may not understand if you are a first-time buyer in the industry.  We also deal with regular clients that come across a new word, print method, or service that they never knew existed, so in effect we created our own unique glossary to assist you in any way possible.  We believe in our experience, skills, and approach.  Our expertise has always been Promotions and offering high-quality affordable Promotional Product Solutions to businesses, companies, and organisations throughout Australia.  If you have any questions regarding this section of our website, please feel free to phone or email with your comments.

Acknowledgment Form – This refers to a “Customer Acknowledgment Form” where typically the buyer of the products or items signs a special form to proceed with the purchase of goods or services.

Artwork –  This is typically an illustrated document, usually in an Adobe PDF format that is used to show clients exactly what will be placed onto selected products or items.  Once the “artwork” has been approved the job is placed into production.

Artwork Proof – This special type of “proof” displays your artwork, graphics, logo, or text.  It may also include telephone numbers and color specifications.  This document can be altered to make sure the client is placing exactly what you want onto a product or item.  This term can also be referred to as a “visual mock-up” 

Apparel –  Refers to clothing or garments which can be decorated with company names or logos.  This selection includes t-shirts, pants, singlets, jackets or any other type of material worn on the human body.  Materials are also vast and combinations co-exists for comfort purposes.  

Acrylic – These are synthetic fibers which are used to create clothing, textile or merchandise products.  Also these fibres have a similar appearance to wool, but are more cost affordable but just as durable.

Ad Copy – Text of a print or advertising message which aims to catch the attention of the reader, holding the interest of this person for a short period of time.  This can also influence ones buying decision

Award – These items are also called “recognition merchandise” They can be individually personalised in a number of ways.  Groups, organisations, businesses or companies typically use these for milestones or acknowledge performance.        

Backing – This can be used on bags to assist with fabric being embroidered or sewn onto the bag.  Clothing also uses backing.

Badge – A badge can be a personalised type of fashion accessory which can be decorated with insignias, lettering or small pictures.  They are also used for identification and can typically be sewn onto shirts, bags, compendiums and more.  Badges are made from a variety of materials.

Blind Embossing – Blind embossing creates an image or lettering that is not printed like any type of print e.g pad or screen.  The process uses uses a stamp usually made of brass or copper representing that logo or image by the client and then it is applied using heat and presure. 

Blind Stitching – Blind stitching is a machine or hand sewing technique that stitches one material into another.  People often call it a blind stitch due to the fact that it hides the stitching completely form ones view.  Blind stitching is used extensively in the promotional products industry.

BMP – Also known as a Bitmap image file and is a low quality raster graphics image.  BMP images are typically two dimentional and can replocate any colour.

Bonding – Bonding in the promotional products industry typically refers to one or more pieces of material or product being joined together with one of the following: heat, an adhesive, stitching, pressure etc, etc. 

Brushed Cotton – Is a cotton based fabric which is associated with greater thermal properties than standard cotton products.  It is thicker and warmer than normal cotton materials and is used on items such as clothing and hats or caps.

Business Gift/s – Also called incentives, a business gift or corporate gift is a product or item that is given out to clients or employees and can be any type of item in nature.  Typically in the promotional products industry we imprint these types of gifts.  

Calico – A soft material made from cotton.

Camera Art – Yes, we can take an image from your camera roll or storage and then reprodce this image onto your items.

Canvas – Canvas is a heavy duty plan woven type of fabric made from cotton that can be used on a variety of promotional merchandise.  These items include bags and boards for printing onto.

Chino – Caps and hats fabric.

Clients – Refers to a person using the services of a particular business or company.  Typically “you” are the client we are the vendor.  Relationships are constantly formed between these two parties. 

CMYK – CMYK is a colour process used for colour printing in the promotional products industry.  CMYK is based on four ink colours cyan, magenta, yellow and black.  Many different colours can be obtained by the printer for printing colours onto products.      

Colour Printing – Colour printing is reproducing an exact image or text onto a surface like a t shirt in colour.  Nearly all types of multiple colour images can be reproduced.   

Consumer Promotion – Consumer protection protects you as a client in Australia.  It warrants fair trade between both the seller and buyer and prevents business and companies trading in unfair practices.  

Contest – A contest or competition is also known as a sweepstake associated with promotional advertising for prizes to be won.  Products and services are often given by the sponsoring business or companies for contest prizes. 

Coupon Plan – A ticket normally distributed by the owner/vendor in exchange for a discount or rebate on the products or services one is buying.  

Customer – A customer is a buyer or purchaser of the goods and services that we as a vendor is offering.  

Dealer Incentives – A material type of reward that is offered to clients or prospective buyers.  Typically used to assist people with their buying decision.  Promotional merchandise make great dealer incentives. 

Debossing – Debossing is a technique used to imprint images on to materials such as leather, paper and viny.  Debossing simply raises the material being imprinted instead of stamping a material which is call embossing.  Special machines are used to carry out this process by a qualified printer. 

Decal Transfer – Decals are like stickers, which can be made from materials such as plastic, paper or cloth which have a pattern or images placed onto the surface.  Once they are made they are placed onto your items of choice using an adhesive type of backing.

Die – A die is typically a metal shape manufactured by a printer to cut out a particular shape.  Square shapes work well with dies.  Examples of a die used in the promotional industry include business cards.

Digital Artwork – Uses a computer to replicate images and text used for the printing process.  Also known as computer art it is commonly used by graphic artists and throughout the digital world.      

Direct Response – Marketing designed to convince the receiver to make or solicit a decision based on what they have received.  This is typical with the promotional products industry and brand advertising or marketing.

Direct Mail – Direct Mail or Mail Marketing is delivering advertising mail to recipients using the postal system in Australia.  Direct mail includes, merchandising, cd’s, small gift cards etc. 

Direct Seller – Direct selling is selling products direct to households and consumer without the need of an office or fixed location.  A type of we come to you business model.  Examples include Amway and Herbalife

Display Premium – his is typically a display stand offering a premium type of deal or offer that your company or business has on offer.  Great for trade shows, events and conferences.   

Embossing – Embossing refers to making a design onto the surface of a material or object.  Typically embossing raises the material being used to create a unique three dimensional effect.  Popular with leather and plastics.  

Embroidery – Embroidery is decorating fabric or materials with designs/logo or text.  Embroidery is typically used on clothing, caps, hats, business shirts and is done by a specialised machine process.    

Employee Award – This is an in-house company or business gift/award which offers recognition or certain skill sets or achievements by the employee.    

Employee Insentive – This is an in-house company or business program to entice the employees to perform specific actions i.e.: performance based, which is then rewarded by gifts or premiums.

End User – This is the person that uses promotional products for typical day to day use or can be called the consumer.

Engraving – Engraving is cutting precise groves, usually of a design nature onto hard surfaces products like metal, wood or steal.  Many people use this type of printing in the promotional products industry and is well suited to various merchandise. 

EPS – EPS stands for “Encapsulated Post Script” format used in the graphics or print industry.  This type of print file is preferred over traditional types of JPEG and PNG type file formats due to its high definition and ability to reproduce top quality logos and images.     

Etching – Etching merchandise uses a chemical based process combined with a metal instrument.  Etching is a very old method of decoration and requires a high skill set to do so.        

Fleece – Fleece normally relates to textile based products and is often associated with clothing.  It is often a deep pile type of fabric and can be made from wool, acrylic or a combination of synthetic materials.   

Foil Printing – Typically a metallic foil (gold , silver and many other colors now available) in the shape of logos/and or text applied with heat, pressure and time onto a wide range of promotional items.

Four Colour Print Process – A four colour printing process use screen printing to achieve to print a logo or design onto an item.  Typically each screen prints one colour.  One colour is applied at a time and then left to dry.         

GIF – GIF sands for “Graphics Interchange Format” an a file image that offers low quality print reproduction.   Typically a GIF image or text logo is altered into a EPS logo by our graphic department due to the low number of pixels it contains. 

Giveaway – Giveaways in the promotional industry are typically low cost items which higher perceived value.  They can be given to anyone to create brand awareness. 

Gusset – A gusset is found typically in the bottom of one’s bag and consists of additional material sewn into the sides which allows additional space to be added into any item.  Generally speaking gusseted bags a far more popular than non-gusseted bags due to additional amounts of space.    

Heat Transfer Printing/Direct Transfer Of Print – This involves transferring images using a heating process onto a large assortment of materials and surfaces.  Images are transferred from paper like material with designs on and then heat pressed onto materials.  Items that can be heat transferred include mouse mats, stubby coolers, banners, flags etc.      

Heat Transfer Printing/Sublimation – Dye Sublimation uses special paper to heat press onto a variety of fabrics and materials.  Logos and text images can be designed, printed onto the special paper and then heat pressed onto ones material/product of choice.    

Image Advertising – Image advertising attempts to create a memorable mental picture in the minds of your customers or clients.  These can increase customer awareness and familiarity of a particular brand. 

Imprinted Products – Imprinted products are simply products printed with your logo or decoration more commonly known as promotional products in Australia.  Often a logo, text or image is displayed on the surface of one of these products to create brand awareness.  They are used extensively in trade shows, conference and events.       

Incentive Program – Incentive programs assist with promoting or encouraging clients or other types of business relationships.  They can motivate prospective clients into buying or be used with your current employees to assist with better performance.   

Industrial Advertising – This type of adverting is targeted towards manufactures of a company or business.  Typically materials, equipment and maybe components may be used in this type of advertising and in conjunction with promotional items.

Institutional Advertising – This is often a type of promotional message advocating a brand for a corporation rather than a product or service.  It is used for creating public awareness and can increase ones reputation in any type of marketplace.                    

Jersey – A jersey is a garment worn by humans and is traditionally manufactured from cotton, wool or synthetic materials.  It is typically worn over the chest of a person and retains warmth.    

JPEG – JPEG stands for “Joint Photographic Experts Group” but is commonly used an image file.  JPEGS offer a medium type of photograph format and is widely supported by many types of computers.   It offers the users to store photographic images in this format.  

Knit – Knitted fabrics make up a large proportion of the promotional industry.  They are woven fabrics used for warmth.  Typical material used to make knitted fabrics include cotton and viscose.  Jerseys and t shirts also can be knitted products.    

Laser Engraving – This process allows an item with the appropriate surface to be marked with an image, logo or text using a powerful laser.  A special type of machine is used in our printing department for this type of decoration. 

Leather – Leather is a durable material made from tanning cow skins and hides.  Leather comes in various qualities and the price is matched accordingly.   Types of leather form most expensive to least include: Full Grain, Top Grain, Reconstructed, Split and many other types of manmade leathers including cow-skin and PVC types of combined leather.

Lettering – Lettering can be used in any type of print process to create words, sentences or names onto products.  Lettering is created through block type printing and then applied to materials.  Typically printers already have many types of lettering available at their disposal and in a wide range of fonts.

Logo – Logos can be symbols, graphic pictures or emblems used to create recognition of companies, business, clubs or organisations.  Logos can be designed by graphic artists and is a complex process using one or more type of computer artwork programmes.  

Marketing And Advertising – Marketing is planning to sell the products that you have on offer as a business or company.  Advertising is typically a paid announcement of your business or company message to buy or sell the products or services you have on offer.

Merchandising – Merchandising refers to the any process that assists a retail outlet with the sale of goods and services.  Promotional merchandising is also popular in this category and stimulates customer to spend or buy more of what is on offer.    

Microfiber – Microfiber is a synthetic or manmade material designed for commercial use.  It is commonly used in the textile industry (non woven bags) and has several interesting properties.  Firstly it is semi waterproof, easy to clean and is also very durable when crafting any product. 

MPEG – File Format – MPEG is an audio file which contains audio information.  This file format compresses audio and video and allows it to be replayed or sent to another computer.  MPEG has become a very common file type in the 21st century.  

Nylon – Nylon is another synthetic material with great properties relating to product durability and light weight.  Many of today’s modern materials include nylon in their makeup.  Garments especially have a high content of nylon in them.   

Offset Printing – This is a printing technique used for transferring an image typically from a plate to the surface of the item being printed.   Offset printing is a very low cost printing method and is commonly used by printers.   

Pad Printing – This is another printing process which involves printing onto smaller funkier objects.  Special pads are made from silicone rubber and then machine dipped into paint to transfer the 2 dimensional images.  

PMS – Pantone Matching System – A colour matching system used in printing and many other types of “paint” types of industries.  Colours are matched with numbers and letters to give reference to exact colours displayed within the PMS colour chart.

PDF – A PDF is a “Portable Document File” used for storing documents, tables and text.  This file format is commonly used today in the business and personal world for sending vast amounts of valuable information.

Personalised – Means to design, produce or customise anything that meets someone individual requirements.  Typically personalised products represent items that are unique one off items.

Plain Weave – This is one of the most common types of textile weaves used in the clothing and bags industry.  Spun from cotton it gives a crisscross like pattern.  It is durable, very strong and used in lots of applications.

Printing – Printing is a process which places text, logos or numbers onto a variety of surfaces.  Printing is normally associated with ink and the ink is transferred onto the item via a printing machine.  

Promotional Products Buyer – Typically known as “clients” these people range from companies, businesses and organisations printing selected merchandise that they have chosen and then these people distribute them to the end user. 

Promotional Product – This can refer to any items or merchandise that is selected by a client and then printed or decorated with a logo, insignia or business name.  The item is then given away or sold to promote ones activity, brand or name.  

Proof/Mockup – This is a print taken in the artwork process used for the client to view.  Artwork proofs or mock-ups can be altered and changed during this process and reflect the final draft of what needs to be printed.  

Puff Printing – Puff printing is a special type of print typically used on t-shirts to give a raised or 3d like effect.  This is a heat based transfer process and looks visually fantastic.  

Raster Graphics – This is a computer based graphics file, bitmap or data structure file with an basic outline of what in image looks like.  They offer a poor quality of image and low quality resolution for any image.  Raster images include: ANI, ANIM, APNG, ART BEF, BMP, BSAVE, CAL CIN, CPC, CPT, DPX, ECW, EXR, FITS, FLIC, FPX, GIF, HDRI, ICER, ICNS, ICO, ICS, ILBM, JBIC, JBIG2, JNG, JPEG, MNG, MIFF, PBM, PNG, PPM, PSD, RAD, SGI, TIF, WBMP, XCF, XPM.        

Rayon – Rayon is a semi synthetic fibre also known as viscose within the textile industry.  It is extensively used in apparel and has a shiny appearance.   It can be dyed for appearance changes and can look like wool, silk or cotton.      

Referral Program – A program normally associated with a business or company which pay a fee or commission for clients sent their way to perchance a product or service.    

Representative – This is a person chosen from a group or body or people to speak or act on behalf of others also known as a sales person for advertising.  

Safety Program – A promotional orientated program designed to increase safety awareness in a business, company or organisation.

Sales Contest – A sales contest usually involving merchandise, which is better than a cash incentive.  These types of contests with prizes in this nature can be much more tailored to the individual.  Sales Incentive – Sales incentive rewards or programmes are designed to motive team members or employees into selling more products or services.  These people are rewarded with merchandise. 

Samples – A sample is part of or a physically sent example of what you are purchasing as a client.

Screen Printing – A printing technique that uses a mesh screen and an ink-block stencil to reproduce images, text or logos onto selected items. 

Screen Printing Setup – This is typically a “fee” associated with creating the set up plates for the screen printing.  These plate setups have to be created by hand and is a delicate process.

Setups – Setups refer to printers set up fees for creating and implementing your logos and designs into the printing process.  Set up fees are typically $75.00 per colour/per print.

Shipping Date/Delivery Date – This refers to the time or date that your merchandise has been dispatched from our printing department and the delivery date refers to the date which you as a client shall receive the goods.  

Sublimation – This is a printing process that uses heat to transfer the ink or dye onto a wide variety of printable materials including wood, plastic, paper or fabric.   

TIF – TIF stands for a “Tagged Image File Format” and is very popular amongst computer image users and graphic designers.   Logos and text or images can be easily saved in this file format.

Trade Advertising – This is a type of advertising designed for consumer product advertising.  This form of advertising is very popular with wholesale or retail traders  

Vector Graphics – Vector graphics represent high quality images, lines and drawings used by the promotional industry as a standard type of printing format.  Unlike traditional Raster images, Vector Images offer superior curves, shapes and photos to be displayed.  Standard images such as Raster images can be transformed into Vector Images for high quality print finishes on any merchandise.     

Waterproof Fabric – This type of material is used extensively with clothing to make garments resistant to rain and keep one dry.  Many of these speciality type waterproof fabrics are also breathable.

Water Resistant – A material that is used in the fashion or garment industry to keep a person dry from the rain.  These are shower proof materials and have a limited water resistance. 

Wool – Derived from sheep and available in an assortment of colours sheep’s wool has stood the test of time.  More popular examples of wool include Marino wool, which offers very good thermal properties and is also quick to dry.

Yarn – A process which various combinations of fibres are spun using a machine to produce a single thread.  Yarn is used in sewing, weaving and embroidery.