You ask, We Answer

You have the questions, we have the answers…

Whether a seasoned marketing professional or a first time buyer, we know you have lots of questions and we’ll do our best to help & advise.

If you have a question please fire away, and for each we will try to create a knowledge centre to share with others in future.

Product Selection

We asked Dan, one of our Promotional Product Experts, “If you could only sell 6 printed pens which would you choose?”

Dan’s six promotional pens that can be printed with your logo can be found here:

 1. The Contour Promo Pen

At the budget end Dan has, of course, selected the very best selling printed promotional pen in the UK for the past few years we have the Contour Range of Pens.

Sometimes a pen just grabs the market’s attention and will be the best seller & The Contour is currently that pen!

With its soft grip and nickel plated trim its looks suggest quality and value that far exceeds its actual price and with the colour combinations available there is a pen to suit almost any brand.

The full range can be found here:

With white, coloured, translucent and silver bodies, screen printing and digital printing options with good print areas including full wrap this pen really has made itself attractive to the market.

2. The Liberty Ball Pen









From within Dan’s selection, he wanted the next level up of the plastic pen and choose the Liberty Ballpen from German manufacturer Senator.

This is a very uncomplicated design but the clip & plunger has an elegance about it which is clean and smart.

The Senator range includes polished, clear and white barrels depending on the base colour needs before printing.

To go upmarket and providing flexibility within Dan’s six a metal clip & nosecone transforms this promo pen but without blowing the budget.

3. Salina Ball Pen

Dan’s next pen is the Salina, a great value metal pen moving up in quality, feel & touch from the plastic Contour & Liberty versions.

Much like the Liberty & Contour the Salina has lots of alternative styles within the range with polished, satin, and soft touch barrel finishes suitable for both printing and also engraving giving a higher quality finish.

The Salina is available in ballpoint, rollerball, fountain pen nibs.

4. Bic Grip Roller

Bic is obviously the world’s most well-known pen brand, we’ve all held & written with a bic biro.

There are many Bic promotional pens that could have made this list but moving up in quality the BIC Roller ball pen provides a great Brand to associate your logo within a rollerball writing instrument available in 12 different barrel colours to match your brand.

5. Senator Nautic

Moving up in quality and price, Dan’s final two pens are in the £10.00 price bracket and represent promotional pens that sit within the Business Gift sector rather than advertising premiums.

Senator’s Nautic is a lovely quality twist action pen with either black or white soft end caps with coated bright metal chrome barrels that ooze quality.

6. Parker Jotter

With it’s Royal Warrant and long history within UK Retail sales, the Parker brand finishes Dan’s collection and in particular the timeless Parker Jotter which is almost as recognisable as the Bic biro.

A lovely promotional business gift.

When you want to make an impression, say thank you or present your gifts better, a box adds value, gets you noticed and adds a personal feel.

For the perfect bespoke business gift box just follow these 5 steps on our website:



Debossing & Embossing allows you to create a 3D impression of a design, logo or text onto a flat flexible surface using a combination of heat and pressure creating a raised or indented image.

It can be used on a number of different materials such as plastic, paper, rubber, leather and even on fabrics.

Embossing is to “Raise” an image

Debossing is to “Indent” an image

The Process:

Tools or Stamps are used to recreate the impression in products or materials, created in reverse and connected to a machine which uses a combination of heat and pressure to effectively mould the design or logo permanently into the product material.


  • Gives a high-quality finish to the product
  • Subtle branding rather than colours from print
  • Suitable for small logos
  • Permanent


  • Not suitable for intricate detail
  • Not suitable for a large branding area
  • Longer lead times due to tooling manufacture
  • It’s not suitable for a multiple coloured logo

For Promotional Products:

Very often both emboss and deboss are used to describe the same Deboss affect which is most commonly used within the promotional product sector.

Business gifts such as leather wallets, conference folders, and good quality promo items such as notebooks & diaries are typically presented with a deboss solution.

As per the benefits listed above, debossing enhances these higher value gifts where a printed colour logo potentially detracts turning a gift into an advertising premium and risks losing the gift gesture for something more self-interest in focus!

Case Study:

Many years ago I was asked to print a Red logo onto a beautiful leather wallet, nice and big, on the front! The wallet was the reward gift for signing up to an insurance policy.

Can you imagine a chap with his friends at the bar getting his wallet out with a huge red logo emblazoned on it, this was a reward gift, not an advertising premium.

Thankfully my client saw sense, and we change the branding to a much smaller, subtle, embossed impression, which the user of a wallet saw each time as a little reminder but it was only visible to the user.

Resin doming, also known as epoxy or bubble doming is a clear epoxy resin that is poured over a printed design to create a clear glassy protective barrier.

The design is typically printed in four colour process, CMYK, to a self-adhesive vinyl label which can then be kiss-cut to any shape using a plotter cutter so that the label shape can be peeled from its backing sheet and then stuck onto a product.

“Weeding” away from the excess label sheet and just leaving the printed shapes, epoxy resin is poured onto each shape and by capillary action, the resin runs to the edges where it stops and then with a little heat the epoxy goes hard and forms a clear permanent barrier with curved edges like a bubble.

The process has become a very popular way of producing short runs, in full colour, and is ideal where a recess exists on the product that the resin dome label can sit inside.

Name badges, Key fobs, USB Flash drives, Umbrella handles, Pin badges, ID badges, Zip pulls, Cufflinks, Sweet tins are just some of the products we are applying resin domes too.


  • Great way to decorate full colour, short runs
  • Photographic print quality, further enhanced by the resin
  • It increases the perceived value of the product
  • Creates a protective durable finish
  • Can be applied to a selection of products


  • Domed label sits on top of the product so can be easily picked off
  • Products with a recess suit doming better and give a more finished effect which can limit the number or range of products available

Promotional Products

These branded pitch fork repair tools are a great example of how a dome resin can be used to decorate a product.

Golf merchandise is typically needed for small groups on golf days, with a little indent on the product it creates a perfect little well for a dome resin to placed.

With printing up to full-colour decoration can cover any logo or be used to match a product and be made to look like an integral part of it creating a promotional product that looks almost bespoke and a lovely little business gift.

Providing us with a Pantone number helps us keep your logo/artwork consistent.

pantone coated and uncoated example

Pantone is a common colour matching system which allocated a printable colour with a number reference with 3 or 4 digits. Some Pantone is called by a name such as “Pantone Green”. This is because it is one of the basic colours that make up the Pantone matching system.

Some blue-chip companies and FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) brands have even registered their corporate colours in the Pantone matching system by name.

brand pantones cadbury starbucks

Pantones are only used in the printing of spot colours. When digital printing is needed, Pantone reference is not relevant and a CYMK reference should be required instead.

Many logos are made with Pantone in mind so ask your designers if you are unsure about what your Pantone colours may be. If you do not have the Pantone numbers, let us know and we can try and match your CMYK colours to the closest one we can.

The Pantone formula is made up from a formula of inks each given a number reference and is then followed with a C or U. These suffixes indicate the type of paper the colour will be printed on. These are important to indicate each ink type changed the finish once the ink has dried.


Pantone 485c and Pantone 485u have identical ink formulas however the visual difference when the ink is dry are caused by the ink reacting to the paper used.

C – COATED – Slightly shiny once printed

U – UNCOATED – Duller (this is because the ink is slightly absorbed by the uncoated paper)

pantone coated and uncoated example


Every promotional product has a “print area”, in some instances this will be the whole surface of a product where the design literally falls or “bleeds” off an edge.

For most products, however, there is a restricted print area that will be determined by the shape of a product or the size of the pad or screen used in printing.

Clips on pens, handles on mugs, access to bags all affect printable areas.

Please speak with the team and we’ll be able to provide a template for most products as a guide.

The instruction reads something like “original, vector artwork, with fonts converted to outlines, colours set to pantones, saved as an .eps .ai or .pdf file

….let’s break that down a bit!


The original artwork file will typically have originated from either Photoshop or Illustrator, so the artwork being supplied is coming from these original files, these will then be editable


the technical definition of vector graphics is complicated involving mathematical algorithms! For our purposes vector graphics allow an image to be resized without loss of image quality or resolution

Fonts converted to outlines

Fonts are text that relies on the computer opening the artwork to have that font saved in the hard drive, if the font is not held on the computer it “substitutes” for something else, converting to outlines changes the “font” to a graphical representation of the text and as such the computer no longer needs to hold the font to open it correctly it is just seeing a graphic. This does mean that the text is no longer editable, it isn’t a font, so web addresses & telephone numbers cannot be changed, to do so the artwork has to be re-supplied at the source.

Colours set to pantones

A lot of promotional product printing uses pad or screen printing techniques, these are wet inks, mixed to a formula set using the PMS Pantone Matching System, CMYK or RGB as below are different references and colours within supplied artwork need to be converted to a Pantone colour reference for products to be pad or screen printed.

CMYK is the colour reference for 4 colour process printing using Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black to make up any colour on the spectrum.

RGB is the colour system for monitors & TV using just Red, Green and Blue colours.

Saved as an .eps .ai or .pdf file

EPS stands for Encapsulated PostScript file which is a graphics file format that is flexible for importing into different packages where .ai is a proprietary vector file that can only be created and edited with Adobe Illustrator, .pdf stands for Portable Document Format developed by Adobe in the 1990s it allows electronic documents to be viewed independently of software, hardware or operating system.

Sussex Promotions prefers original vector pdf files as this allows sales, production as well as design to see files and design to edit as necessary using their software.

What about JPEGs?

A jpeg is a compressed graphic file which saves images as pixels (a raster image) rather than paths (lines or curves in a vector image), they are very difficult to work with and do not scale up or down like a vector image and in most instances are not suitable for promotional product printing.

Branded merchandise is a brilliant marketing tool for raising brand awareness, being remembered days, weeks, months after an event.

I love the story of my good friend Norman Mayhew from The Sussex Sign Company, he took a call where a gentleman exclaimed: –

“finally, I’ve found you!”

“was there a problem finding us sir?”

“Yes indeed, the telephone number on your printed coaster no longer works!”

“what number was that sir?”


“Sir that telephone number is over 8 years old!”

Creating a collection that works requires deeper thinking than we’ll have a mug & pen!

If you can answer the following questions, we can put together a visual of a suggested collection that works!

  • What does your company, charity, organisation do?
  • Who is the target audience?
    • As much information about the audience helps us suggest products that they will find useful
    • A builder v. an accountant
    • A public transport commuter v. a car driver
    • An office worker v. someone in the field
    • Are they Millennials, 30s, 40s, retirees, children?
    • Male, Female
    • Techy, technophobe
    • Active
    • Etc etc.
  • What is your message?
    • What are you communicating to the audience?
    • What action do you want from the audience?
  • What is your brand?
    • Colours
    • Logos
    • Is their photography, imagery that helps tell your story, communicates your message?
  • How will the merchandise be distributed?
    • Exhibition
      • Is there storage?
    • Events
    • Direct Mailing
    • Sales force
    • Retail
    • Charitable donations
  • What is budget?
  • What are the quantities?
  • Is the collection scalable?
    • Lots of low-cost items for large volume scatter
    • Medium item for taking action
    • High value for becoming a customer

By understanding the target audience you can present useful products that will ensure your message is seen on a regular basis, with a budget and some creativity these everyday practical items can be transformed into desirable, retail-inspired pieces that work.

We look forward to hearing from you.

When customers do not have original vector artwork, they may be a new business or the artwork was never created to be print ready in the first place our design studio can advise how best to create PR “Print Ready” artwork.

We might start from scratch, we may trace or redraw, we will provide an estimate for the process and time involved and charge in 15-minute intervals at £13.50 (plus VAT) per 15 minutes.

Please speak with the team and we’ll be able to provide a guide as to what is required to make you “Print Ready”.

When customers do not have original vector artwork, they may be a new business or the artwork was never created to be print ready in the first place our design studio can advise how best to create PR “Print Ready” artwork.

We might start from scratch, we may trace or redraw, we will provide an estimate for the process and time involved and charge in 15-minute intervals at £13.50 (plus VAT) per 15 minutes.

Please speak with the team and we’ll be able to provide a guide as to what is required to make you “Print Ready”.

Order Process

Lead Times



Behind this site we’re a small friendly team of promotional product experts wanting to help you source & design great promo items, do please reach out to us by phone or email…