5 Options for Embellishing Swag Other than Screen Printing

Thomas Hilton

Thomas Hilton

Superheroes tee

While screen printing may be what comes to mind when you think of promotional swag and is the most popular method for customizing products, it’s by no means the only option available. If you’re looking for something “fancier” or less common than the standard screen-printed t-shirts we all envision when thinking of promo swag, read on to see some of Stitchi’s favorite, less common embellishment methods.


You’re likely familiar with embroidery - who isn't? Have you thought about what embroidery could do for your swag products to set your brand apart from the rest of the screen-printed masses?

The added texture that embroidery adds to items like polo shirts, jackets, woven shirts, hats, and bags makes for a more interesting stylistic presentation than you can achieve from regular screen printing.

Some of the benefits of embroidery versus screen printing designs are:

  • It’s suitable for hats, bags, and other items that can’t lay flat for screen printing.

  • Embroidery is a more intricate process that often evokes a higher perceived value and professionalism than screen-printed items. Great for company-branded work shirts.

  • Embroidered swag usually has a longer life expectancy than screen printing and other embellishment methods due to its durability and damage resistance.

Laser Engraving

Laser engraving is the most popular method for embellishing metal swag products and is generally only used on metal or wood. The laser engraving method removes a thin layer of pigment dye or fiber. Operators can adjust the laser’s speed and intensity to create different effects, such as sculpting dimensions into products that result in precise, clearly defined designs that never wash away and take a long time to wear away. If you’ve still got a metal water bottle that hasn’t worn away since you’re not 500+ years old, chances are the laser engraved logo is still visible, too. Contrary to what you might think, the laser engraving process is relatively cheap and quickly completed; it’s the machines that are expensive. Choose an established promotional products company with the machines or relationships with third parties that do. It should be a relatively inexpensive process that results in highly durable designs ideal for frequently handled items.

Custom Patches

Custom patches are a great way to add depth to your product designs that “class it up” with a contrasting component. Generally, your options for custom patches will be a debossed or embroidered leather or fabric patch.

Custom patches are ideal for hats: knit beanies, trucker caps, flat-brims, and snap-backs. That’s not to say these are the only items you can put a custom patch on; they’re just the most common and well-suited, generally speaking.

Other options might be baggage and accessories like luggage, backpacks, camera bags, or scarves and shoewear. Again, these are just ideas. It’s up to you to decide how to use this or any other embellishment method to best suit your organization and audience.


Debossing your product designs is a great way to give your designs a 3D effect with tangible depth. The process entails constructing metal dies in the shape of your logo or design that are then heat pressed into the product, leaving behind the impression of your design. Debossing is ideal for leather products like luggage tags, bags, portfolios, and notebooks. A drawback is small, highly-detailed designs are hard to make into clearly defined debossed embellishments.

Foil Stamping

Foil stamping is a printing process ideal for things like custom notebooks and stationery, business cards, and invitations. It’s commonly used on wedding invitations, where you’re likely to have seen foil stamping. The glossy, polished finish of metallic foils makes logos and designs pop.

The foil stamping process uses metallic or pigmented foil that’s heated with a magnesium dye. It’s then stamped to the product’s surface with enough pressure to leave a thin seal of foil in the shape of your logo or design. If you’re thinking about creating customized company leather folios, for example, you may consider going the extra mile with both debossing and foil stamping, which is sure to be a sharp look.

What’s the Right Embellishment for Your Swag?

So, what do you think? What swag will really pop for your audience and spread your organization’s presence and ideals? What’s going to be the most beneficial? Why not try out small runs of a few different types, and see what your audience responds to? There’s nothing like getting a realistic impression before going in on something and producing a whole product line. Many promotional product companies, like Stitchi, are prepared and happy to provide you with samples or limited runs of products at the onset of your engagement. Samples and limited runs are great ways to ensure you’re making the best choices for your business’s promotional swag program from the get-go and don’t waste time, money, and energy on stuff that just doesn’t work.

Get it right the first time with Stitchi.

Get the latest from Stitchi