The most effective and beautiful promotional items are manufactured using superior methods. Universal Links has defined some of the promotional industry artwork terms below.
Imprinting: This is the most popular printing technique for business gifts and promotional items. This process involves the engraving, etching and embroidery methods.
Aquatint: This is a printing technique used to produce unlimited tonal gradations to recreate broad flat tints of ink wash or watercolor drawings. This is achieved by etching microscopic cracks and pits into the image or logo on a master plate, which is typically made of copper or zinc. Aquatint is often used in combination with line engraving or line etching to create a remarkable effect.
Blind: This is a procedure that makes use of an un-inked plate to produce subtle embossed texture of a white-on-white image. The image is then highlighted by the shadow of the image on the paper. This technique is most commonly used for Japanese prints.
Collograph: In this technique, proofs are pulled from a block on which the artwork, design or image is created like a collage. The prints formed are used to make postcards, greeting cards, stationery or book covers.
Drypoint: This is a printing technique that uses the intaglio method to engrave an image on to a copper plate with a hard-pointed “needle” of sharp metal or diamond point, creating a burr. This printing method yields a characteristically soft and velvety line in the final print.
Iris or Giclée: Unlike a conventional printing method, this printing technique uses a digital file from which a Giclée print is printed with archival ink on to a heavy watercolor paper. Giclée printing offers one of the highest degrees of accuracy and color among reproduction techniques.
Lithography: In this printing technique, prints are pulled on a special press from a flat stone or metal surface that has been chemically sensitized so that ink sticks only to the design areas and is repelled by the non-image areas. This method is best used for creating books, posters, maps, newspapers and packaging.
Monotype: This printing technique produces a one-of-a-kind print made by painting on a sheet of metal or glass and transferring the still-wet painting on to a sheet of paper by hand or with an etching press. If enough paint remains on the master plate, additional prints can be made. However, the reprints are bound to have substantial variations from the original image, resulting in a unique image every time.
Offset Lithography: A special photo-mechanical technique in which the image to be printed is transferred to the negative plates before being printed on paper. This printing technique is very well adapted to color printing.
Woodcut: Here, the printing surface has been carved from a block of wood. The traditional wood block is a seasoned hardwood, such as apple, beech or sycamore. Dating back to the twelfth century, woodcut is one of the oldest forms of printing.
Artwork proofs for business gifts and promotional items: Once the printing technique has been selected, proofs of the artwork are created. This is specifically for the artist's personal use. It is common practice to reserve roughly ten percent of an edition as artist’s proofs. The artist’s proof is sometimes referred to in French as an Epreuve d'Artiste (EA) and can be distinguished by "AP" or “EA” written on the lower left side of the proof.
Cancellation Proof: This is the final print, which was once in an edition series. This proof has been finished to show that the plate has been marred or mutilated by the artist and will never be used again to make more prints of the edition.
Hors de Commerce Proof: This is identical to the edition print. Hors de Commerce (HC) is intended as samples for dealers and galleries. The proofs may be signed by the artist.
Printer’s Proof: This is retained by the printer as reference. Artists often sign these prints as a gesture of appreciation for the printer.
Trial Pro: These proofs are the precursor to a limited edition series and are pulled so that the artist may examine and refine the prints to the desired state. Trial proofs are generally not signed.
Fonts for business gifts: A font is basically the overall design for a set of characters and defines the size, weight and spacing of a character.