Printed & Bespoke

As specialists in plastic glasses, Regalzone is frequently asked about bespoke shapes, specific colours, and printing. The answer we give most often is ‘yes - we can do it’. However the economics, the volumes, and the time available will often determine the best route to follow.

When Is The Deadline?

One-Two Weeks’ Lead Time?
The fastest turn-arounds are achieved by picking an off-the-shelf style (we have plenty to choose from) – that is in stock in the UK right now – and print it in 1-2 colours – in one position only. There is usually only time to produce relatively low volumes (1-10k pieces).

Here are some examples of one colour pad prints on to plastic glasses:
One colour pad prints on plastic glasses

Three-Four Weeks’ Lead Time?
At three to four weeks, the options begin to open up. We can still only consider off-the-shelf glasses but more times gives greater availability. The extra time enables the volume of printed glasses that can be delivered  to be significantly increased. Additionally , wrap-around prints in one colour or full colour (CMYK) pad and multi position prints become easily achievable.

Here are some examples of four, five and CMYK process colour pad prints on to plastic glasses:
CMYK full colour pad prints on plastic glasses

Five-Six Weeks’ Lead Time?
This time scale enables the dry-offset and flexo printing methods. Printed at the point of manufacture and sometimes even on the same manufacturing line, dry-offset and flexo printing of plastic glasses offers excellent value. Most factories have a minimum volume of 50k. However, these methods are so economical that it often costs less to take 50k via this route than to pad print 20k. With 360 degree printing, multi positional printing is available as standard.

Here are some examples of dry-offset printed and IML cups and glasses:
Dry offset printed and IML plastic cups and glasses 

Six-Eight Weeks’ Lead Time?
Along with all the previous options, custom colours now come in to play. Custom colours are only available on a limited range of glass shapes. It is important to remember that development of bespoke colour can take time. A simple instruction for plastic glasses in ‘solid red’ is easy. A specific pantone in a solid colour is still relatively easy. Transparent colours are the most difficult because they are more difficult to measure and judge. Approvals for plastic glasses in custom colours will inevitably take longer.

Here are some examples of plastic glasses made with custom colours and prints:
Bespoke plastic glasses

Ten-Twelve Weeks’ Lead Time?
Ten-twelve weeks is the realistic minimum time scale for custom plastic glass shapes manufactured to your own specification. Tooling and manufacture would be in Europe.  It is only possible to develop the tooling for re-usable glasses at these time scales. It is important to note that the tooling to make a bespoke glass shape involves an investment that is only justified by a significant production run. Depending on your budget, it is unlikely you find it economically viable at less than 50,000 pieces.

Twelve Weeks and Onwards
With more than twelve weeks, there are plenty of options available, including sourcing from factories in Asia.

Printing Techniques For Plastic Glasses

Pad printing: from one spot colour through to full colour (CMYK). Approximately 55x55mm per position. The printing pad is actually a circle rather than a square and the actual printable size will depend on the glass shape and size. There are no minimum print run for pad printing but numbers lower than 3000 on disposable glasses are not usually economically viable. Lead times from two weeks onwards.

Rotary screen printing: One colour only but allows for big wrap-around prints on low production runs. Screen prints can be combined with pad prints as required. There are no minimum print run for pad printing but numbers lower than 3000 on disposable glasses are not usually economically viable.  Lead times from two weeks onwards.

Dry offset printing: Very low cost. Minimum quantities of 50k. Tumbler shapes only. Some factories can dry-offset print a good facsimile of full colour using six colour plates with half tones. Most dry-offset print processes are spot colour only and 1-6 colours. Lead time is 4-6 weeks.

Flexo printing: Very low cost. Minimum quantities of 30k. Tumbler shapes only. Lead time is 4-5 weeks. 1-6 spot colours only.

In Mould Labelling (IML): The image is printed to a label that is inserted into the mould at the point of manufacture. Creates stunning all-around photo-realistic ‘prints’. Only available for injection moulded polypropylene reusable plastic glasses.

Custom Colours

Some factories will make plastic glasses in specific colours subject to minimum order quantities. The minimum production run depends on the type of glass and the material. It may be as low as 2000 pieces. It may be as high as 100k. Please talk to us and we will find a solution.

We can manufacture plastic glasses to specific pantone references if required. Solid colours are relatively easy. Opacity is a harder thing to quantify and get right. Our advice is to provide us with a reference or an example and we will replicate it in plastic.

Here is an example of one type of glass, produced in specific colours, to order:
Plastic glasses in bespoke colours

Custom Shapes

Regalzone can advise on the creation of bespoke glass shapes for your client. However in general we advise that, aside from printing and colouring, creating bespoke plastic glasses involves a financial and temporal commitment that is only justified if your production run is at least 50k for reusable glasses and runs in to the millions for disposable glasses.

How Volume Affects Costs

Most print and customisation processes involve some fixed costs. This means the greater the volume of glasses, the more distributed those fixed costs are and the lower the price. Or in simple terms, the more you print, the cheaper each individual glass becomes.

Marketing professionals are familiar with the tension between creativity and what is achievable within the constraints of time and budget. Printed and custom made plastic glasses are like any other physical item that is manufactured to order.  However you may be surprised at what is possible. Talk to us about what you want to achieve and let us offer you our advice on the best way to get there. Call us now: 01753 662666.