Screen printing, also known as silk-screening, uses a sharp-edged stencil to lay a specific color onto the drive’s surface. Each stencil lets us add another color, layering them to build an image from the ground up. Due to the complexities of multiple layers this method is limited to four individual colors. Screen printing can only produce solid color images with no shadows or gradients (see Full-Color CMYK for shadow and gradient printing).
Full-color CMYK printing functions just like a home printer – combining four colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black / Key) to offer a huge spectrum of colors. This allows us to print shadows, gradients, and any combination of colors. CMYK also offers photo printing, where you submit a digital photo and we print it directly onto your drive. This is the number one method for intricate logos or complicated images.
Pad printing presses your image onto the drive using a pad, or soft surface, cut into the shape of your image and dipped in ink. This is used for printing on curved edges where screen printing and CMYK just aren’t viable. Because each layer / color must be lined up perfectly with the one beneath it you are limited to two colors with pad printing.
This method uses a fiber or CO2 laser to permanently etch your design into the surface of your USB drive. The process reveals the underlying substrate of the material – so anodized or painted surfaces will turn a different color while wood will reach it’s flash point and produce a charred indentation. Keep in mind that this method cannot produce shadows or gradients and requires vector art.
Hot stamping is a debossing method that presses your design directly into leather drives. To produce this effect your approved vector art is machined, heated, and pressed into the surface of the drive. The result is a permanent relief that is protected from regular wear and tear. Note that this method produces wide dimensions, so small details might not transfer accurately.
UV Printing is similar to Full Color CMYK Printing, it allows you to print shadows, gradients, halftones, and any combination of colors. UV Printing also offers photo printing, where you submit a digital photo and we print it directly onto your chosen product. Additionally, it allows you to print white on a any colored material.
The vinyl decal offers the same look as a printed label but can be applied to a custom PVC USB drive. To make the decal we place a full-color print of your artwork directly onto a vinyl sticker and cut it to the right size. The label is then wrapped around the drive or applied flat.
When working with epoxy dome drives we use a special full-color CMYK printed vinyl that is cut out and placed underneath the epoxy. The result is a beautiful piece of branding with the additional depth and durability of an epoxy dome cover.
For our custom 3D PVC drives each detail is extruded separately and hand applied to the surface. While this produces some variation from batch to batch this does mean you are free to choose any color you want for your extruded detail. A few rules of extrusion detail are that extrusions cannot be taller than they are thick, must be wider than 0.25mm, and cannot be placed closer than 0.25mm due to machining limitations. Custom PVC drives are also restricted to 7 colors or less.