Say you are considering to purchase customisable gifts, do you know how to go about discussing the details with your suppliers? Terms such as 1C/2C/3C/4C, pantone colour, imprint type and lead time, might throw you off!

Here’s a guided train of thoughts that you can follow when planning and discussing for customising a corporate gift! It will save you lots of time when discussing with your suppliers if you are familiar with all these terms. If you need inspirations for corporate gifts, you can find them here.


#1 – Material

Typical materials used for corporate gifts range from leather, metal, plastic, rubber, silicone, cotton, non woven and paper to felt.

For non woven and paper, the unit of measurement used for the thickness of the material is GSM (Grams per square meter). Whereas OZ (Ounce per square yard) is used for cotton material. Know the type of material you are dealing with and its’ relevant unit of measurement.


#2 – Size

Length, breadth, width, depth and diameter are measurements that you would need to decide on. For items with capacity such as a cup or water bottle, ounce (OZ) or milliliters (ML) need to be considered.


#3 – Colours

Following the discussion about material and size, you will be asked about the colours you want. But wait, sometimes it’s not as easy as simply “red”, “green”, or “blue”. Countless shades of each colour awaits! Here’s the part where you will hear, “What is the pantone colour?”. Pantone colour matching system is used to standardise colours such that different manufacturers can match the colours without direct contact with each other. Of course, you can take the easier (and often cheaper) option of selecting basic shades of colours that your suppliers already have. Spare yourself the trouble if you are not too particular about the shade of colour!


#4 – Artwork

The fun and interesting part of customising the corporate gifts is that you are able to imprint any artwork (logos, texts, etc) that you want. Depending on the material and size of the gifts, you have to tweak your artwork accordingly. The artwork has to be saved and provided in Adobe Illustrator Artwork (AI) file format. If the AI file format is not available, PNG or JPEG format might suffice. In general, the more detailed the artwork is, the more you should provide the artwork in AI file format. At this moment, you might feel like giving up on this process as you do not have an in-house designing team to settle all these hassles! Stress not, certain suppliers can provide support for designing of your artwork.


#5 – Types and Colours of Imprints

Types of imprint include silkscreen imprint, hot stamping, embossing, debossing and etc. Depending on your artwork, some types of imprint would not be suitable. A colourful artwork would be more suitable and cost-effective with hot stamping. On the other hand, you can first consider about the types of imprint available before deciding on your artwork. Some materials might allow only certain imprint. For example, leather surfaces are most suitable with embossed and debossed logos. In this case, the artwork would not have any colours.

Number of colours for the artwork imprint is denoted by the terms 1C, 2C, 3C, 4C where it signifies 1 colour, 2 colours, 3 colours, and >3 colours respectively. Do consider about the number of imprints you prefer as well. For instance, a notebook could have only 1 imprint on 1 side, or imprints on both sides.


#6 – Packaging

Each piece of gifts can be packed in numerous ways: plastic packaging, white paper box, or premium leather box. Plastic pens intended for mass distribution would probably only require simple plastic packaging for each piece of pens, while premium fountain pens should be individually packaged in leather boxes. You can also request for an additional piece of brochure or notes to be attached with each package. All of these individual packages will be packed into cartons.

Take into consideration of the physical spaces required in your office to store all of the cartons. Due to physical constraints, you might prefer all of the cartons to be smaller than 30 x 30 x 30 CM instead of being 45 x 45 x 45 CM.


#7 – Total Time Required

Time need to produce and deliver the goods, or more commonly known as “lead time”, need be considered. Lead time is usually broken down into 2 portion: Sample lead time and mass production lead time. Before mass production, suppliers are obligated to produce samples according to your requirements, for your review. Only after your approval should they proceed to the mass production and delivery. Understanding the difference between sample and mass production lead time allows you to plan schedule.


#8 – Quantity

Straightforward. Quantity is the greatest determinant of price thanks to #economicsofscales.


#9 – Price

The final price is a result of the combined factors discussed above. Should the price be too high for your liking, do consider changing your requirements for some of the factors. Reducing from 4C to 1C artwork imprint, or having no individual packaging will help to save cost.

Be clear on whether the quoted price includes the cost of sample production as certain suppliers charge a separate fee for the production of samples. Also, do clarify if the quoted price is inclusive of GST.


#10 – Purchase

The final step is to make the decision for your gifts come true. Enjoy the process and see your concept turns into a real product!

Back to our question in the opening, say you are buying customisable gifts, now you can go through this train of thoughts to plan and place orders. Let’s end off with an illustration of how to describe a customised namecard holder.

  1. Material: Stainless Steel
  2. Size: 95 * 61 * 5 MM
  3. Colour: Stainless silver on the outside, Black on the inside
  4. Artwork: Provide in AI format
  5. Imprint: 1C, 1 side, Laser imprint
  6. Packaging: 1 plastic packaging per piece, 300 pieces per carton (30 * 30 * 30 CM)
  7. Lead Time: 7 days for sample production, 30 days for mass production
  8. Quantity: 5.000 pieces
  9. Price: For supplier to quote
  10. Purchase: Yes!


Now you are equipped with the knowledge and skills to make the best purchase for your ideal corporate gifts! Enjoy gifting!



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