Shoe Design: Logos for Shoes
Shoe Design: Logos for Shoes
Your new shoe design isn’t complete until you have detailed the logos. A beautiful set of logos will add value, give information to your customers, or be that unique and special twist. A great logo can provide the centerpiece for your shoe design. Adding logos will cost money, so we better make sure you are getting your money’s worth.
Selecting logos for your shoe design:
When you are working with a new shoe factory, it is very helpful to know their capabilities. For example, if the factory does not have an embroidery machine in-house, it will cost more to send the cut part out for processing. Or, if the factory has a great relationship with the woven label supplier, it will be worth your while to arrange a visit to see what they can do.
Here we will review the most common types of logos found on sports shoes. We will discuss what the logo parts cost, set up charges, and design tips.
Die Cut Logo:
The die cut shoe logo is the most common found on shoe quarter or side panels. The logo is simply cut out from a piece of material and sewn on. The Nike “Swoosh”, Adidas “Stripes”, New Balance “N”, Vans “V” and Puma “Formstrip” are classics. Die cut logos are great for high visibility applications and can be made of almost any material. The die cut logo is a perfect overlay on top of any seam or pattern breaks and can also be reversed so the logo is now a window to the inside of the shoe. The downside is details are limited to what can be sewn down. Price is low, only being the cost of the material.
Screen Printed Shoe Logos :
Screen printing is a very common logo application for shoes. Set up is nearly zero, colors are almost unlimited. There are many finishes available such as matte, gloss, puff, or 3D styles. However, there are limits to the surfaces you can print on. Rough or suede surfaces will not take prints smoothly. Elastic fabrics will cause cracks in the ink. Any waxed or oiled surface is also not suitable for screen printing. On the flip side, printing is great for big, high contrast logos. Screen printed logos can be several colors but be aware registration can be difficult. Every factory will have a screen printing department. The logo can cost from $.25 to $.75 per unit, depending on the size and number of colors. There are usually no setup charges for silk screen printing logos.
Print + Emboss Logo:
An inexpensive, but great logo effect for shoes can be created by screen printing, then using an RF welding machine to emboss the logo for a 3D effect. The RF welding machine is an inexpensive tool and the cut brass welding heads don’t cost much. Inexpensive to set up and when it’s done in-house at the factory it’s cheap! The emboss tools may cost $300 depending on the logo size.
The woven label is another great way to create colorful logo effects. This type of label is machine-made by computer control. The Resolution is great for fine details and small crisp text. Colors are nearly unlimited and one logo can have as many as 15 colors. The basic tongue logos on New Balance or classic Nikes are made by this process. This process can be used to create an informational label on its shoes. Setup charges are low, possibly zero. These woven label logos are not expensive, with prices starting at $.05 and running to $1.00 for a large multicolor patch.
Another very common shoe logo treatment. Embroidery or computer stitching can add a touch of class to a shoe. Silky threads can create rich looking logo applications. Colors are limited only to your imagination, most machines can handle 8 to 10 colors! This is a great logo application but it needs to be used wisely. Embroidery is priced out by the stitch, with extra cost for more colors. The logo can also run off the side of a panel part, and light colors can be soiled easily with threads being snagged. Use with care in waterproof shoes, the stitching will let water in. Price can vary wildly for this type of logo treatment, depending on if the factory has its own embroidery department or not. There are usually no setup charges. The logo can cost from $.25 to $.75 depending on the stitch count and the number of colors.
This is a stunning way to make an amazing 3D effect logo. A small piece of EVA foam is placed under the embroidery head, and the threads cut the edges when they are stitched, leaving behind a logo with a 2 or 3mm 3D effect. A great effect but prone to snags and soiling when used on shoes. Usually no setup charges. The logo can cost from $.25 to $.75 depending on the stitch count and the number of colors.
TPR Micro Injection:
Often called rubber badges, Micro Injection, or simply “TPR” (Thermo Plastic Rubber) logos are a great way to add fine detail to your shoe’s design. TPR logos come in all shapes and sizes. Details can be tiny and colors are nearly unlimited. These little logos can be used as under or overlays, placed on tongue or outsole bottoms. They are durable, colorful, and relatively cheap. $.25 USD. They can have clear gel bubbles over them, or can have fabric backing. These are great for sport and outdoor shoes. The downside is they will require molds, but TPS molds are cheap to set up. Less than $200 USD.
Dye Sublimation Printing:
A printing process that uses a computer to print a full color design onto transfer paper. When the paper is applied to the material surface and heated, the ink turns into a gas (actually sublimes) and transfers to the shoe material. Dye sublimation is great for 4 color process photographic designs. Setup for sublimation can be zero for computer print, or $500 per color if made by roller print. Part price can be as high as $1.00 or more.
PVC Gel Bubbles:
A simple way to make a unique logo is the Gel bubble. These are made by adding a clear PVC gel bubble onto a woven label, or printed sticker. These logos can have a stitch flange to use as an underlay or can be self adhesive for attachment to midsole or outsoles. Setup is low. Part price can be $.05 to $.25, depending on size.
Chrome-Plated ABS Plastic:
If you want a chrome logo, you will need to go with metal or injection molded ABS plastic. ABS plastic has a unique surface character that allows vacuum metal coating, so you can get a nice chrome-plated surface. Injection molds for ABS cost from $500 to $1500. Per unit price can be $.25 to $.75 depending on the size.
Metal hardware is a great place to get some custom logos on your shoe. Logo plates, custom eyelets or lace fobs give you another place to add your logo. This hardware can be cast, stamped, painted, plated, polished, or anodized. You will have many metal choices from steel, to brass, to zinc, or even aluminium. Custom metal hardware will have some setup charges. Tooling prices depend on the metal type and process required but could be anywhere from $300 to $3000. The part price could vary from $.10 to $.50.
The modern sport shoe may have several molded components, some being EVA midsoles, plastic stabilizers, rubber outsoles, etc… Each of these is an opportunity for a crisp logo. These logos cost you nothing once they are machined into the mold.
If your shoe design has any transparent upper parts or a clear rubber outsole, you can use back printing to add a unique logo application. These can be simple screen prints or pad prints with low setup charges and low unit cost.
The cut weld is related to the RF weld. The welding die has a crisp edge, and when the TPU material is welded down and the waste is peeled away, it leaves behind the material. The colors and surfaces are limited to what you can get in the weldable TPU material. This is a strong way to get a glossy logo on rough mesh or even chrome! The cutting weld tools may cost $300 to $1000 depending on the logo size.
Pressed TPR is the high-tech version of the basic TPR logo. In this case, while the TPR material is still in the mold, the shoe material gets laid onto the mold, and with heat and pressure is fused to the material. This can be used to make small logos or large reinforcing panels.
Laser Engraving or Cutting:
A new way to cut logos, the laser, is a unique way to make a high-resolution logo. Color is limited to that of the burned substrate. Laser technology is expensive but is getting more popular. A neat feature is the laser can be programmed to make marks or make cuts depending on the power setting. There are usually minor setup charges for the programming, in addition to a higher per-unit charge depending on the time required for each logo.
What logo is right for your shoe design?
As you can see, there are many great options for applying logos to your new shoe design, regardless of your target price, including everything from the basic printing and embroidery to the complicated laser and injection mold. For low volume shoe designs you may want to select logos with no setup charges, while for high volume shoes it is more feasible to go with injection style logos or others that require more expensive tooling before they can get put on shoes.