Personalised mug printing. What are my options?

Personalised mug printing. What are my options?

Depending on what you would like printed on the mug and the quantity, there are generally four personalised mug printing options available to you. Let’s have a look at each one in a little more detail.

Direct printing
An image, which will usually be up to four line colours, is printed within a given area known as the ‘print area’ directly onto the rotating body of the mug. This method is used when the design is simple, i.e. there are no complex halftones (images that are made up of a series of dots), the registration is not too tight, and the design is not going to be larger than the print area. 

Direct printing is cost effective when ordering both large and small quantities, as several thousand items can be printed in a day.

Transfer printing
This process is useful when the mug has a very curved profile. The design is silk-screen or litho printed onto special wax coated paper which is then cover coated (a clear gelatinous layer to cover the whole of the print). The resulting print is treated as a water slide transfer and applied by hand to the ware. It’s slower and more labour intensive than direct screen printing, but is more flexible as colours are able to be built up with precision and control. When the ware is placed in the kiln for firing, the cover coat evaporates.

Transfer printing allows the print area to be maximised, as well as providing the option to print on the base, handle, or inside the rim.

Digital printing
An image is printed directly onto a specially coated paper in process colours and then printed out on a laser printer. This is then cover coated, becoming a water slide transfer which is applied to the ware (it is normal to see a fine key line on the cover coat when looking closely at the finished item.) There are limitations on the strengths of reds and pinks, but pastels and citrus shades look fantastic and digital print also lends itself to smaller quantities.

As the inks are a natural product, perfect colour matching cannot be achieved on repeat orders and it is not possible to match the primary colour chart. However, this technique is ideal for photographic reproduction.

Dye sublimation
This process enables you to have bright eye catching full colour designs on mugs, while maintaining bright colours. A four colour high quality photo finish is also possible with crystal clear results and bright impact colours. 

The technique uses organic colour dyes, giving you a more diverse colour spectrum with an outstanding gloss appearance. It is also environmentally friendly, avoiding the use of substances such as lead and cadmium. 

I hope you have found this helpful and gained an insight into personalised mug printing.

Here I chat to Nigel about how to supply your artwork correctly.