Promotional Product Imprint Colors: Do's and Don'ts

Decoration Methods Artwork Your Logo


Choosing the right imprint color for your promotional product is crucial to making sure your logo or message stands out and is easily readable. With so many colors to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is the best for your custom product. In this blog post, we will go over some tips on how to choose the best imprint color for your promotional product, whether you are printing your logo on a light or dark item.


Consider the Item Color

One of the first things you should consider when choosing an imprint color is the color of the promotional item you will be printing on. If you are printing on a light-colored item, such as a white or light gray t-shirt, you will want to choose a darker imprint color that will contrast well and stand out. Black, navy blue, and forest green are generally good choices for light-colored branded items. The color of the promotional item can significantly impact the visibility of your logo. You want your logo to stand out and be easily identifiable. Choosing a logo color that contrasts well with the item's color will ensure that your branding is clear and eye-catching.

On the other hand, if you are printing on a dark-colored item, such as a black or dark blue t-shirt, you will want to choose a lighter imprint color that will be easily readable. White, silver, and light blue are typically good choices for dark-colored customized items.

Different colors evoke different emotions and feelings. You want the promotional item to look aesthetically pleasing and appealing to your target audience. Aligning the item color with your brand's personality and target market can enhance the overall appeal of the promotional item.

Check out the example below: A black imprint looks great against a light grey t-shirt. The black is easy to read against the lighter color. By contrast, if we print the same black logo on a navy t-shirt, the artwork will appear too subtle and not easy to read. In the case of the navy custom tee, we would suggest printing a white logo for maximum readability. 

Contrast is Key

When choosing an imprint color, it is important to think about contrast. You want your logo or message to stand out and be easily readable, so choosing colors that contrast well is key. A high-contrast logo ensures that it stands out and is easily visible on the item. If there's insufficient contrast between the logo and the item's background color, the logo may blend in or become difficult to read, defeating the purpose of the promotional item. High-contrast logos tend to be more visually appealing and eye-catching. They draw attention to the logo and make a stronger impression on the viewer, increasing the chances of people engaging with your brand. Ensuring sufficient contrast in your logo is also crucial for accessibility purposes. People with visual impairments or color blindness may struggle to perceive low-contrast designs, making it challenging for them to engage with your brand.

High contrast color combinations include black on white, navy blue on light gray, or white on black.

Low contrast color combinations that you want to avoid include red on black, blue on black, teal on blue or yellow on green.

In the example below, the black promotional drawstring bag on the left has a high-contrast white logo printed on the front. This color combination is easy to read because of the light imprint on dark item. Unlike the branded bag on the right, which features a red imprint on the black drawstring. We do not recommend printing your red logo on a black item, because of the low contrast. In this case, we suggest printing a red logo on a white item. A well-printed logo with good contrast conveys a sense of professionalism and attention to detail. It shows that you care about your brand's image and that you've taken the time to ensure the logo looks its best. For your brand to be memorable, your logo must be easily read and recognized on your promotional product! 

Consider Branding Guidelines

When choosing an imprint color for your promotional product, it is important to consider your branding guidelines. If your company has specific colors that are used in your logo or branding, you will want to make sure that your imprint color matches these colors as closely as possible. This will help to ensure that your promotional products are consistent with your overall branding and messaging.

Consistency is crucial for building brand recognition. If your logo consistently appears on items with different colors that clash with your brand's color scheme, it can dilute your branding efforts. On the other hand, aligning the item color with your brand colors creates a cohesive and recognizable identity.

If your company's branding includes a specific PMS color(s), choosing a PMS Color Match for the imprint on your promotional item is ideal for matching the exact color of your company's logo. This will also create brand consistency when purchasing multiple promotional products.

What is a PMS Color? PMS stands for Pantone Matching System, and it is a standardized color matching system used in various industries, particularly in graphic design, printing, and manufacturing. The Pantone Matching System was developed by the Pantone company and is widely recognized and used worldwide.

PMS colors are "spot colors." Each spot color is a single, pure ink color, and they are not mixed during printing. In the PMS system, each color is assigned a unique alphanumeric code, such as "PMS 185" or "PMS 2935." These codes represent specific solid colors, and they ensure consistency and accuracy when communicating and reproducing colors between different parties, such as designers, printers, and manufacturers. 


Think About the Purpose of the Product

When choosing an imprint color, it is also important to think about the purpose of the product. Colors evoke emotions and can influence how customers perceive a product. Consider the product's purpose and the promotional objectives. If the product is intended for a specific event or campaign, the imprint color can align with the event's theme or the campaign's message. If you are giving away promotional products at a trade show or event, you may want to choose an item and imprint color that will stand out and draw attention to your booth or table. Bright colors like red, orange, or yellow can be eye-catching and help to attract attention.

If you are giving away promotional products to customers or clients as a thank you or appreciation gift, you may want to choose a color that is more subdued and matches your branding. For example, if your company colors are blue and green, you may want to choose a navy blue or forest green imprint color on a light promo item.

Regardless of whether you want the item to stand out with bold and vibrant colors or have a more subdued and elegant appearance, the readability of the imprint color on a promotional item is critical. 


Consider the Printing Process

Finally, it is important to consider the printing process when choosing an imprint color. Some printing methods, such as screen printing, have limitations when it comes to the number of colors that can be used. If you are using screen printing to imprint your promotional product, you may want to choose a simple color combination that will be easy to print.

In addition, some printing methods may have limitations when it comes to the type of colors that can be used. For example, metallic or neon colors may not be available with certain printing methods. Be sure to check with your promotional product vendor to see what colors are available with the printing method you are using.

In the example below, the OWL logo uses multiple colors in a gradient. For items that are decorated with screen print like this custom mug, a gradient is not achievable. For this instance, we would recommend simplifying the logo to one color in order to present an appealing color combination with the neon blue.

Choosing a simple option like white when you cannot print all your colors on a promotional product offers several advantages that make it a practical and effective choice. White (or black) is a neutral color that complements almost any logo or design. It serves as a blank canvas, allowing your logo or message to take center stage without any color clashing issues. A white (or black imprint) creates high contrast with most colors, making it an excellent option for ensuring the readability of your logo or message.

Virtual Artwork Proofs

A virtual artwork mockup provides a visual representation of how your promotional product will look once it's produced. It allows you to see the design, placement of logos or graphics, colors, and other details. This helps you ensure that the final product matches your vision and meets your expectations.

The mockup also allows you to validate the design before production begins. It helps identify any potential issues or errors in the artwork, such as incorrect or low contrast colors. By catching these issues early on, our team can help you can make necessary adjustments and avoid costly mistakes. Our Art Team at Executive Advertising will send you a virtual artwork proof to approve for every order. This is also our opportunity to offer you our expert recommendations when it comes to how your artwork will print on your promotional product. We are here to assist you in curating your perfect promo!


Choosing the best imprint color for your promotional product is an important decision that can impact the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. By considering the color of the item, contrast, branding guidelines, purpose of the product, and printing process, you can choose an imprint color that will help your logo or message stand out and be easily readable. Remember you can always reach out to our Customer Service or Art Team via chat or phone (800-338-7996) to ensure that your desired imprint color will be the right fit for your custom promo and the printing method you are using.


Shopping Cart
Interested in buying promotional products and have questions for us? Then the Quote Cart is perfect for you! Click the "Request Quote" button on any product page to start requesting your quote. Make sure to let us know any additional details in the questions section.
Loading Quote Items
You have not yet added any products to your cart yet. Time to start shopping! :)
If you have more than one ordering account, you may have created a shopping cart in a different account. You can toggle between your ordering accounts below:
Active Ordering Account:
Contact Us
(800) 338-7996
Contact Us Options
<< Back
Phone Numbers
(800) 338-7996 Toll Free
(615) 991-4000 Local Phone
Fax Numbers
(866) 323-8381 Fax
(615) 246-4198 Local Fax
Contact Us Form
<< Back
Physical / Mailing Address:
Executive Advertising
181 E. Main St.
Ste 4
Hendersonville, TN 37075
<< Back
Contact Us Form
First Name:*
Please provide a First Name.
Last Name:*
Please provide a Last Name.
Please provide a valid Email.
What can we help with?*
 Existing Order
What product are you inquiring about?
{{($select.selected.prd_name+ ' (#'+$select.selected.part_number+')')}}
+ {{viewed_product.prd_name+' (#'+viewed_product.prd_id+')'}}
What is your Order Number?*
{{contFrm.order.ord_grp_num}} {{contFrm.order.created_on | dateToISO | date:'MM/dd/yyyy'}}
{{contFrm.order.old_ordernumber}} {{contFrm.order.created_on | dateToISO | date:'MM/dd/yyyy'}}
+ 323455 ({{recentOrder.created_on | dateToISO | date:'MM/dd/yyyy' }})
323455 ({{orderproduct.created_on | dateToISO | date:'MM/dd/yyyy' }})
Load more orders
Please select an order.
to request help with an Order
Please provide Questions/Comments.
<< Back
Production Time
A standard production time for each product is listed on each product page. Production times may vary depending on decoration methods, number of locations, and product type. Production time do not include shipping transit times or artwork proofing times. On each product page you can enter your shipping zip code and see how long it takes for your order to be produced and ship to your location. Rush production options may also be available.
Report a Problem
First Name:*
Please provide a First Name.
Last Name:*
Please provide a Last Name.
Order #:
How can we help you today?
This can be an exact number, or you may wish to inspect a small batch of your items and check for a percentage that is affected.
To help expedite the claim, and show consistency in the issues described, please include a couple group images showing multiple items (5-10 if possible) within the photos.
{{}} x x Delete File
Please upload an image or video in one of the following formats: bmp, png, jpg, jpeg, gif, psd, ps, tiff, tif, ai, eps, svg, mp4, avi, mov, flv, wmv
{{rpc.inprogress ? 'Sending...' : 'Submit Question'}}
Provide your Feedback
We've recently launched a new website, and we'd love to get your feedback! Let us know your thoughts on how we can improve your customer experience.
Give our new website a rating:


Share your thoughts on our website:

Comment Sent. Thank you!
Click here to view our company's terms of sales.
Returning Customer
Log in to an existing account. If you are a multi-user account holder, any of your email addresses will work!

This website uses cookies

We use cookies when you visit our website that can recognize, collect, and transmit information that is associated with you, but which does not personally identify you. Read our Privacy Policy.