The Secret to Great Promo Product Artwork

The difference between a product and branded merchandise comes in the promo product artwork on the piece. Anyone can hand out a product they pick up at the store or order in bulk online. But without your branding, it loses its resonance. Not all products can be branded the same, either due to size, number of colors, price, or other restrictions. But you can find ways to create a collection that helps differentiate your brand from a competitor, be useful and appreciated by your audience, and tell your brand’s story.

Use these key pieces of advice to create artwork and place your order for the best promotional products:

Q. What kinds of imprints can I do on

We have 8 core decoration treatments available online, including:

  • Screen Print
  • Deboss
  • Embroidery
  • Foil Stamp
  • Laser Engrave
  • Heat Transfer*
  • Pad Print*

*These items will show as screen print on

There are countless more options for decoration available through special order. To learn about these, talk with your Staples representative or call 1-800-369-4669.

Q. What about using a photo for my product?

We have select t-shirts that can be decorated with a photo!

Q. What other types of files can I use to decorate my products?

We accept the following file types:

Uploaded to

  • EPS
  • AI
  • PNG
  • JPG*
  • BMP*
  • TIF
  • GIF*

Additional formats that can be managed by a Staples representative:

  • PDF
  • QuarkXPress*
  • CorelDRAW*
  • Publisher*
  • Microsoft Word*
  • WordPerfect
  • Microsoft PowerPoint*
  • WMF*

*May require an art charge based on format or quality of the file

Q. What is the best decoration treatment for fine details and/or several colors?

Ideally you would use a heat transfer/digital transfer treatment with decoration that features small print, intricate detail and/or several colors. This decoration treatment also works well on performance fabrics.

Q. What decoration style is timeless and has a high perceived value?

Embroidery may be your pick for this type of request. It is a traditional decorating style and is often seen as being high-end. It also stands up to extended wear very well. But consider the fabric you are purchasing, the weight of the embroidery on a lightweight shirt would not mix well.

Q. What types of screen printing are available? Can I order any of these types on

Screen printing has a wide variety of treatment options for apparel alone. Some examples of include:

  • Distressed: a great on-trend vintage look that is soft to the touch and stands up to extended wear. This style also looks great when using more custom decoration treatments and placements. Talk to your Staples representative about products that can be decorated uniquely.
  • Discharge: a process that removes a garment’s original dye resulting in a soft, slightly faded look. This style can only be don on dark cotton t-shirts such as black, navy, green and red. If you would like to use this style, search our Hanes® and Gildan® brands.
  • Simulated: using high-resolution images, this decoration method works best on chest or back decoration placement. Your color options are unlimited and it allows for creative and artistic design.
  • Foil: this attention grabbing style is unique and fashion-forward. It comes in a wide variety of colors and works well on cotton tees. But keep in mind that foil is best hand-washed and hung to dry to maintain the decoration.
  • Metallic: another eye-catching design that is great on almost all apparel. Works best with single-color logos.
  • Clear Ink: giving a subtle tone-on-tone appearance, this design is popular for adding bold logos to medium and light-colored apparel. This treatment can be done on any color t-shirt, but depending on the color and style of the shirt, it may take on a different shade.

To order any of the above specialty screen print styles, call the 800# on the site and discuss with a representative. Pricing on is based on standard screen print and additional charges may apply to specialty methods listed above.

Q. If I want to order and decorate on food, what are my options?

Food and Drinks come with several options for decoration. From decorating the wrappers, the box, to the food item itself, it just depends on what you’re looking for. Be sure to look for packages that include a complimentary product as well to enhance the gift!

Q. What does it mean to customize packaging?

You can decorate a box, a product’s wrapper, and other elements beyond the products with customized packaging. This is a great option for items that are too small to show off your design, or items that are just not ideal to imprint. Some items on are sold with customized packaging, such as many of our earbuds that come in pouches or cases. You can chat with a representative online or by phone to help you find more options.  Many of these additional items you can fully customize depending on your timing, budget and need.

Have additional questions on the best promo product artwork?

Check out the FAQ on Or give us a call or chat with a representative online. Whether it’s your Staples representative, or a representative available on we can talk you through your options to ensure you get the best solution.

This article is part of a series titled Promo Buyer 101. This series is perfect for anyone who is just starting to buy promotional products for their organization, or is a veteran buyer but is looking for tips and ideas for branded merchandise needs. Check out the other articles in the series and be sure to share with your colleagues.