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 center piece 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 good 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.

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesDie 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 down side is details can be limited to what can be sewn down.  The die cut logo is a perfect overlay on top of any seam or pattern breaks.  The die cut can also be reversed so the logo is now a window to the inside the shoe. Price is low, just the cost of the material.

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesScreen 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. There are limits to the surfaces you can print on.  Rough or suede surfaces will not print smooth.  Elastic fabrics will cause the ink to crack.  Any waxed or oiled surface is also not suitable for screen printing. However, printing is great for big high contrast logos.  Screen print logos can be several colors but watch out, registration can be difficult.  Every factory will have a screen printing department.  The logo can cost from $.25 to $.75 depending on the size and number of colors.  There are usually no set up charges for silk screen printing logos.

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesPrint + Emboss Logo:
An inexpensive, but great logo effect for shoes can be had 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 maybe $300 depending on the logo size.

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesWoven Labels:
The woven label is another great way to create colorful logo effects.  This type of label is machine-made by computer control.  Resolution is high for fine details and small crisp text. Colors are neatly 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.  Set up charges are low, even zero.  These woven label logos are not expensive.  Prices start at $.05 and run to $1.00 for a large multi color patch.

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesEmbroidery Logo:
Another very common shoe logo treatment. Embroidery or computer stitching can add a touch of class.  Silky threads can create a rich looking logo application.  Colors are limited only to your imagination, most machines can handle 8 to 10 colors! This is a great logo application but don’t go crazy.  Embroidery is priced out by the stitch and extra for more colors.  The logo can run off the side of a panel part.  Light colors can be soiled easily and/or threads can be snagged.  If used in waterproof shoes be careful, the stitching will let water in.  Price can vary wildly for this type of logo treatment, depending if the factory has its own embroidery department.  There are usually no set up charges. The logo can cost from $.25 to $.75 depending on the stitch count and number of colors

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoes3D Embroidery:
This is a stunning way to make an amazing 3D effect logo.  A small piece of EVA foam is placed under the embroidery head, the threads cut the edges when they are stitched down leaving behind a logo with a 2 or 3mm 3D effect.  A great effect but prone to snags and soiling when used on shoes.  There are usually no set up charges. The logo can cost from $.25 to $.75 depending on the stitch count and number of colors.

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesTPR Micro Injection:
Often called rubber badges, Micro Injection or simply as “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 underlay or overlays, on tongue and outsoles bottoms.  They are durable, colorful, and relatively cheap.  $.25  USD.  They can have clear gel bubbles over them and can have fabric backing.  These are great for sport and outdoor shoes.  The down side is they will require molds, but TPS molds are cheap.  Less that $200 USD.


Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesDye sublimation printing:
Is 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.  Set up 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.

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesPVC 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 logo can have a stitch flange to use as an underlay or can be self adhesive for attachment to midsole or outsoles. Set up is low.  Part price can be $.05 to $.25, again depending on size.

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesChrome 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.  Parts price can be $.25 to $.75 depending on the size.

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesMetal Hardware:
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 or stamped, painted, plated, polished or anodized.   You will have many metal choices from steel, to brass,  zinc or aluminium.  Custom metal hardware will have some set up charges.  Price depends on the metal type and process required but could be anywhere from $300 to $3000.  The part price from $.10 to $.50.

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesMolded Logos:
The modern sport shoe may have several molded components.  EVA midsoles, plastic stabilizers, rubber outsole etc…   Each of these is an opportunity for logo branding your shoe design.  These logos can cost you nothing once they are machined into the mold.

Shoe Logo Design - How to design shoesBackprinting effects:
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 set up charges and low unit cost.

Cut weld:
The cut weld is related the the RF weld.  The welding die has a crisp edge and when the TPU material is welded down the waste can be peeled away leaving behind the material.  The color and surface is limited to what you can get in the weldable TPU material. This is great way to get a glossy logo on rough mesh or even better chrome!   The cutting weld tools may cost $300 to $1000 depending on the logo size.

Pressed TPR
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 is laid onto the mold.  With heat and pressure applied, the TPR material 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 is expensive but is getting more popular.  The neat feature is the laser can be programmed to make marks or make cuts depending on the power setting.  There may be some minor set up charges for the programming, but the per part charge will be relatively high 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 logo application.  There are many options you can select for your shoe design no matter what your target price.  From the basic printing and embroidery to the complicated laser or injection mold.  For low volume shoes designs you can select logos with no setup charges or for high volume shoes you can go with injection or other logos that need expensive tooling.

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