Placement is the Key: Imprinting Tips

Experienced sports marketers know that logo placement can have a lot to do with how an imprint conveys its promotional message. Some people overlook how important where a logo goes as a consideration.

Location, Location, Location: Logo Placement Is Key

Experienced sports marketers know that logo placement can have a lot to do with how an imprint conveys its promotional message. Some people overlook how important where a logo goes as a consideration.

Of course, there aren’t always a lot of choices when it comes to logo placement. Some items may dictate where the imprint area appears, making logo location a non-issue. But in cases where there are options or with custom jobs you and your client need to figure out the best place for their logo early in the transaction.

What’s The Goal?

Jean Braun, co-owner of Independent Business Services (IBS), says that if a product has numerous logo placement options, she always discusses them with the team early on. “They need to be aware that there are options for them. It would be unfair if you didn’t show them your capabilities,” she explains.

Braun discusses logo location when she makes product recommendations. Placement can make a promotional product more effective, she continues, when it’s in sync with the team or sponsor’s goal for the promotion.

Clients may not realize that placement can emphasize a logo or make a message “pop.” Those who want to promote a new Web site, for instance, may assume the URL address should go right under their logo. “But if you take that Web address and move it somewhere else put it on the handle [of a mug], on the clip of the pen emphasizes that little added extra thing that your client wants to push,” Braun explains. That “added extra” can be the name of a new product or a new service, a slogan/tagline or a new company phone number or location, to name a few possibilities.

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Braun tells her clients that logo placement can also do just the opposite of making a message “pop.” For instance, because of our rather shaky economy, placement of a financial institution’s logo should probably be more subtle, like tucked inside a portfolio, for example. Subtle placement can communicate strength, stability and reliability. “They don’t want to do something that will jump out at you,” she notes.

Usage Is Key

Many times the location and size of a logo is specifically dictated by the supplier, says Garry Wolfe of AdSpec Inprinted Products.

But when there’s an option, he counsels clients to remember how the product will be handled. He uses a pencil as an example: “People forget that when you sharpen a pencil, the logo and the phone number eventually disappears. You want to make sure the information [you’re emphasizing most] is up towards the eraser end.”

Wolfe discusses the overall look of the product with a client. Do they want the logo visible but not “in-your-face?” Or do they want it to catch the eye from a distance? A degree in graphic arts and experience in newspaper advertising/production helps Wolfe coach his clients on logo placement so their products are aesthetically pleasing. With portfolios, for example, the choice may involve placing the logo on the top or bottom panel of the cover: “I think the bottom panel is classier,” he says. “I usually recommend that. The top panel screams at me and sometimes makes the piece look uneven. When you put the logo on the bottom panel, you put the graphic and information down there so it gives weight to the bottom of the piece, which doesn’t make it look awkward.”

In The Know About Logos

Bright, bold and highly-visible logos draw attention and catch the eye. Use for tradeshows, event sponsorships, golf-outings, new product or service launches.
Subtle logo placement is classier and conservative. Better for a corporate look or a service-oriented company. Can communicate that a company is strong, safe and reliable. Used for high-end and thank-you gifts, service awards, uniforms or other corporate identification purposes.

Unique logo placement (or multiple logo placement) adds the element of surprise and intrigue. Good for communicating that a company is innovative, cutting-edge or trendy. Could require custom work. Can be used to launch a new company, promote a special event, unveil a new logo or project, etc.

Sometimes Wolfe downloads a product image from the vendor’s Web site and superimposes the client’s logo on different areas to show the client what he means. He also helps clients manage the information that appears on the product (useful when the location of the logo is dictated by the supplier).

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“They should put enough information on [the product] to suit their purposes, because unless they’re a McDonald’s, Burger King or Microsoft, no one will be familiar with their company,” he notes, adding that viewers should be given a phone number or another way to get familiar with what the company does and how they can be contacted.

“Every piece that goes out is an advertising piece for the team and sponsors,” notes Wolfe. “The bottom line is, for the majority of promotional products out there the availability of placement for the logo is dictated by the manufacturer of the piece,” Wolfe says. “All you can do is decide how much information can fit at that particular point how is it best to make it more visible for them?”

Placement Considerations

Braun suggests that distributors and clients discuss the following questions when deciding where a logo will end up:

  1. What message is the client trying to convey?
  2. How does the client want to be perceived strong, dependable, innovative, trendy?
  3. Who is the target audience?
  4. What is the budget? (Logo placement options or custom jobs can add to the price of the item.)
  5. Is the client trying to emphasize a specific product, service or bit of information?

While there’s usually an added cost involved with putting a logo in a unique location or utilizing more than one location on a product clients have to consider what they hope to gain from that extra expenditure. Says Braun:

“If that added dollar is going to add to the promotional punch they need, it’s well worth the cost.” Even though clients can get “more bang for their buck,” they tend to overlook unique logo placement options, Braun continues. Placing logos in unique locations on a product takes them out of their comfort zone. “Most people are very careful about how they’re spending their advertising dollars right now,” she says. “They want to be effective. If that’s what they want, you need to give them options.”

Product Applications

Michael Crooks of Crooks Advertising Alliance believes logo position is a critical consideration for teams and sponsors. Echoing Wolfe’s point, Crooks counsels clients to make sure the use of the product doesn’t diminish the effectiveness of the logo. “One huge reason to use promotional products is that others will see the message on the product when the product is in use. That’s fine and dandy,” he says, “unless the logo or message is covered up when the item is in use.”

His rule of thumb: “Order samples and play with them. Once you actually use an item, you can then truly appreciate that item’s strengths and limitations regarding logo/message placement.” He offers the following insights pertaining to specific product categories:

Pens. If your client wants others to see the logo or message on the product when it’s in use, don’t place the logo on the spot where the pen is gripped. “It makes sense to place the logo on the upper portions of the pen whenever possible,” he notes.

Mugs and cups. Crooks prefers to put the logo/message on both sides of the item so the user and onlookers both get the message. “This is why using a competent supplier that offers a ‘wrap’ or a 2-sided imprint at no additional charge is great,” he says. Crooks would like to see more suppliers offer imprinting on the bottom of mugs and on the lid of travel mugs.

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Umbrellas. Encourage your client to open up the item, hold the handle and then decide where the imprint should be, Crooks counsels. Umbrellas are seldom held straight up and down. Though many assume the logo should go on front, when the umbrella is held tilted backwards (as it usually is) the logo will be too high for most to see. It’s better, in that case, to put the logo on the back so that the person walking behind the holder can see it.

Chairs. “People keep putting the logo on the seat back on the side where people actually put their back,” Crooks notes. When someone sits in the chair, no one will see that logo. Better yet, put the logo on the back of the seat back so it can be seen by onlookers.

Thunderstix® and Bam Bams. People hold on to the bottom ends typically, so if you have blank space to work with it may be best to leave some room at the bottom. Also repetitive logos work well on the long thin print area when your logos are square. We also often recommend limiting the colors uses, since costs rise with each color and this item is not often saved or reused.

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This interview was reprinted with permission from Counselor/IMPRINT/Advantages Magazines. Special Thanks to Carole Seymour Editorial Assistant and Cindy Ironson. From asi Briefings May 21, 2003 / Issue 826. Some parts edited for clarity in sports.

Understand how important good art work can be in making your items look great. Read why taking a logo from a web page will not work on printed products on our Vector Artwork Help page.

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