The Ultimate Promotional Item

by , on Umbrellas The Ultimate Promotional Item

If you're are a marketing professional and someone came to you with a product that would have hundreds or thousands of people walking down the street raising high above their head a banner with your logo, and they would do it for free, happily and even thankful, you might say they were crazy. But there is such a product and it is custom promotional umbrellas.

Unlike many promotional items the custom umbrella is perfectly suited to be used to promote a brand, logo, or even message. Consider some of the features of an umbrella that make it a great marketing tool.

  1. The imprint area is large ranging from 20 square inches to 100 square inches.
  2. Umbrellas can be printed on all panels allowing it to be seen from 360 degrees.
  3. The umbrella is held high in the air above the crowd.
  4. Another benefit to the promotional umbrella is the variety of colors that are available. This makes it fairly simple to find a color that works well with the corporate colors of a logo.
  5. And as mentioned, people are anxious and ready to raise a promotional umbrella into the air when the rains start to come.

People with Promotional Umbrellas

Umbrella Print Options

Panel Prints

A standard imprint on a promotional umbrella is a print on one panel, however when you want more exposure printing on multiple panels is usually an option which can be purchased. Printing on multiple panels usually results in a run charge per panel. A run charge is a per umbrella charge. So for example the first panel imprint might be included in the price of the umbrella, if there are 5 panels and you wanted your logo on all panels then it is common that you would pay $1 for each additional panel after the first, or $4 per umbrella.

Umbrella Printed on one pannel Umbrella Printed on four pannels
1 Panel Print4 Panel Print

Multi-color panel imprints

Multi-color imprint are also available on many custom printed umbrellas. Multi-color imprint are usually charged per color with the 1st color being included in the price. If printing 3 colors then the first would be included and a run charge would be added for the 2nd and 3rd color. If the run charge were $1 per color then adding two colors more than the first would cost $2 per umbrella. Many marketing departments will avoid a multi-color imprint, one because of the high cost and two because a single color imprint is usually easier to see. Think white over black as apposed to a rainbow of colors.

1-color Print on Umbrella 2-color print on umbrella multi-color print on umbrella
1 Color Print2 Color Print4-Color Process Print

Panel underside print

Another great option is the under side print. The typical imprint is on the top but by printing on the underside of the umbrella the person holding the umbrella can see the logo imprint. This imprint location is less popular but for a unique marketing umbrella it can be a great choice. The underside imprint also provides for a more subtle advertisement for those who might not find a large imprint on the outside of the umbrellas to be appropriate. The underside imprinted umbrella may get more use and is a marketing opportunity when you want to advertise to the user of the umbrella as appose to those who can see the umbrella from afar.

Umbrella with underside print

Handle imprint or engraved

One of the most elegant methods to customize an umbrella is to place the logo on the handle of the umbrella. There are several methods for handle customization. While imprint is an option, most opt for other methods that are more durable because the handle can get a lot of use and abuse over the years. A wood handle that is laser engraved may be the most elegant method to customize an umbrella. This crooked handle is deep engraved with a gold fill. Others can have a wood etch that has a branded look making the etching dark. A final method of branding the handle of an umbrella is the button. The button is typically an epoxy dome and is a good choice if your logo is small and multi-colored. Like the underside imprint, the handle logo customization is a more subtle approach and might be more appreciated by the use.

Engraved umbrella handleUmbrella with button logo on handle

Case imprint

When umbrellas include a case, the case can be a good place for your custom logo. A custom logo imprint on the case can be seen even when the umbrella is not in use. For maximum impact, print the case and a panel. This way the logo is seen when the umbrellas is open or closed. Custom printed umbrella case

Umbrella Styles

Selecting the Right Umbrella means understanding some of the different styles that are available so here is an overview of umbrella styles, their benefits, and features.

Stick Umbrella

Stick Umbrella The stick umbrella is the most common type of umbrella. The shaft is typically between 31 and 38 inches long. Some of the benefits of the stick umbrella are that it is stable and can often be used as a cane to help to maintain stability when walking on icy or slippery sidewalks or roads. The stick umbrella also has fewer moving parts than a compact umbrella. This typically means there is less that can go wrong or break. Many people have had battles with that compact umbrella that will not open or will not close because some mechanism got stuck or broke. The simplicity of the design of the stick umbrella also often makes it a cheaper umbrella. The down side of the stick umbrella is that it can be more difficult to get into a car or to keep it with your during the day. Because it will always be the full length, people often find themselves challenged with where to keep it when not in use. And getting it into the car can be a pain especially when the rain is poring down. Do you really need another challenge when your main goal is to stay dry? But all in all the stick umbrella can be a trusted friend with its simplicity and stability.
Crook Handle Umbrella

Custom Logo Printed Stick Umbrellas

While not as popular as other umbrella styles for promotional uses, the stick umbrella offers the basic customization options. Most often a simple print on the top panel is the preferred choice of marketing managers.

Golf Umbrella with Custom Imprint

Golf Umbrella

The golf umbrella is a specialized stick umbrella. Golf umbrellas are almost always stick umbrellas that can not be compacted. Because the golfer already has with him or her a golf bag, there is a ready made place to keep the long shaft umbrella. Many golf bags have a special compartment for an umbrella, which can prove to be an important tool for the golfer when those unexpected storms threaten the game. Golf umbrellas typically have a large arc ranging from 58 to 64 inches. The large arc sometimes referred to as a two-person umbrella allows the caddy to assist the golfer holding the umbrella while the golfer sets up for the shot. Golf umbrellas also typically come in bright alternating colors. There is actually a reason for this deviation from the typical black or blue umbrella. A bright colored umbrella can be seen from a long ways off. The group behind you can easily see that bright colored striped umbrella which ads a benefit of safety. A good golf umbrella is stronger than your typical stick umbrella because golf umbrellas are for high wind conditions. While most of us head indoors when the wind and rain start to pound down, the golfer just sees it as another challenge and enjoys taking on the elements. That's why golf umbrellas are typically made of fiberglass shafts and other durable materials that can stand up against high winds. Many also have vented canopies for better wind resistance.

Custom Printed Golf Umbrellas

Most golf tournaments have sponsors and those sponsors want their logo everywhere including printed on the golf umbrella. Golf clubs also take pride in branding their logo on umbrellas that can be sold in their pro shop. Hotels and valet services also often opt for the golf umbrella because of its large size and durability. While black is the most popular color for the valet umbrella, often hotels will select a multi-color umbrella which makes it easier to see when cars are arriving.

Compact Umbrella

When you're out for the day and there is a chance of rain, the compact umbrella is the way to go. Compact umbrellas typically fold down to 9 inches, some even compact down to 7 inches. This makes it easy to keep in a purse or bag when not in use. Most compact umbrellas include a small case or sleeve to keep them in. The compact umbrellas from twenty years ago were not durable and dependable. With many moving parts, the compact was quick to malfunction if a high wind damaged part of the mechanism. However, with advancements in materials and design, today's compact umbrellas are tough and ready for action. Although in fairness, nothing compares to the durability of the golf umbrella, the compact umbrellas has come a long way and many can last for years of use. The compact umbrella uses a telescoping shaft to convert it from a typical open length of 22 inches down to the manageable size of 7 to 9 inches. The arc size of the compact is often smaller than a typical umbrella. With arc sizes ranging from 37 to 44, the compact umbrella is usually a 1-person umbrella.

Compact Umbrella The best style of umbrella for travel is the compact umbrella. A full size umbrella rarely can fit inside a suitcase but a compact is easy to pack into a travel bag or even a purse. For the traveler, a great investment is a durable compact umbrella.

Customized Compact Umbrellas

Using compact umbrellas as a promotional product does have a few advantages over standard umbrellas. The first is shipping and storage. Compact umbrellas are smaller and lighter than standard umbrellas and thus are an item that is easier to hand out at a show, convention, or other event. Shipping costs will be less, and recipients will appreciate an item that is small compact and usable. Another benefit of these smaller umbrellas is that they often include a case or sleeve, which can be imprinted with the logo. This means that the logo can be seen even when the umbrella is not in use. Overall, the compact umbrella is a good choice for marketing with a custom imprint.

Semi-Compact Umbrellas

Often designed as an executive umbrella, the semi-compact umbrellas combine benefits of the compact umbrella with those of the full size umbrella. The semi-compact usually folds down to about 20. Although not as small as the compact, which is often 7-9, at 20' it's more manageable than a full size. The big surprise of this style umbrella is the arc size and durability. Many have an arc size approaching 60, which makes them a 2-person umbrella. The executive styles are also designed with the durability usually only found in the golf umbrellas. Resistant to high winds and rough weather, they are built to last.
Executive Umbrella with Wood Handle

Customized Semi-Compact Umbrellas

When a company needs an executive level gift, the semi-compact umbrella can be a top choice. Features can include wood handles and executive style carry cases that make them a welcomed gift for the all weather executive. Ranging from $40 to $100, the price point also makes this style an appropriate executive gift. Customizing an executive umbrella is more often accomplished by placing the logo on the handle. This makes it less of a billboard and more of a true executive gift. Engraved handles ensure that the gift maintains its elegance while reminding the executive where they acquired the gift.
Semi-Compact Umbrella Design

Large fixed Umbrellas

Promotional Umbrellas

Beach Umbrella

Umbrellas designed for the beach range in size from single person to as large as 5 or more. What makes the beach umbrella unique is its size to weight ratio. Beach umbrellas are designed to be easy to carry to the beach. The light weight does make it easy to carry however often the beach umbrella does not do well against a strong wind. At the end of the day on a crowded beach one can find many destroyed and discarded beach umbrellas that did not survive the day. New designs and materials are making them better than they used to be, but it's important to know that for this style of umbrella there is a tradeoff between weight and durability.

Promotional Beach Umbrellas

Promotional beach umbrellas are not as common as other forms of umbrellas. Part of the reason is that the beach umbrella has less of an arc because it is intended to block sun but not designed for rain. The smaller arc results in more of a flat top. This means that there is less of a perimeter to show a logo print. In a sense, a logo imprint might only be seen from the top but not from the side.
Patio umbrella with marketing logo

Patio Umbrella

The patio umbrella is a large umbrella designed to be used at a home or restaurant. They are durable and fairly permanent. Their weight can make them difficult to move, however the benefit is that they are designed to stand up to high winds and rough weather. A good patio umbrella can last for ten years or more. Some patio tables are designed with a hole in the middle that provides a place to put the umbrella allowing the table to be shaded. Other patio umbrellas can have a large cement weighted base to keep them in place during high winds.

Custom Imprinted Patio Umbrellas

Many restaurants can be found using large patio umbrellas with a logo of a popular beer or other alcohol brand. These bar patio umbrellas are usually given to the bar or restaurant for free or at a large discount by the beer company. The arrangement allows the bar or restaurant to acquire a free or discounted umbrella while giving the beer company a place to promote their brand.

A Little History of the Umbrella


Originally the umbrella was used by ladies to block the sun and it was called a parasol. The word parasol comes from the Italian para, which means protect against, and the word sole, which means sun. Because parasols were made of a cloth material intended to protect from the sun they were not good when the rains would come. So women began to coat their parasols with various paints and materials to make them better at protecting from the rain. The history of the umbrellas goes back about 4000 years some say to China. Today parasols can be seen on the streets of Shanghai and small shops can be found that specialize in beautifully handcrafted parasols. The word umbrella is derived from the Latin word umbra meaning shaded or shadow. Although there are a variety of accounts of the origin of the rain umbrella, many point back to Europe and in particular England where merchant began to design rain umbrellas that could be used by men or women. Prior to that, umbrellas or parasols were thought to be for use by women. When men began using umbrellas they were subject to ridicule for using a ladies' fashion item. But as time when on practicality prevailed and the umbrella evolved into a fashion item used by men and women.

Part of an umbrella

Parts of the umbrellas

A typical umbrella can be made of 25 or more parts, each part working together to keep you dry. The main parts of the umbrella are:


The handle of an umbrella serves an important purpose, which is to give the user a solid place to grip the umbrella. Umbrella handles come in a variety of shapes and materials. Wood, crooked handle


The Shaft of the umbrella is used to keep the umbrella high above your head. On a compact umbrella, the shaft is made of several sections that telescope to extend the length. Early umbrella shafts were made of wood, then aluminum was used, and now some are made of fiberglass for durability.


The stretchers of an umbrella are used to push the canopy out to the open position. The stretcher is hinged at the runner and the rib.


The runner is the part of the umbrella that runs up and down the shaft.


The ribs of an umbrella are the arching rods that support the canvas. When an umbrella is collapsed, the ribs are normally straight, but when the umbrella is opened the ribs arch to create the familiar arch of the umbrella.


The canopy of the umbrella is the material covering the top and protecting you from the rain or sun. Materials used for the canopy are water repellant and can stretch to allow the ach shape of the open umbrella.

Special Features of Umbrellas


Vented umbrellas are designed to resist wind allowing some wind to pass through the canopy.

Auto Open

The auto open mechanism of an umbrella is a spring-loaded design that pops open the umbrella at the push of a button. This provides for quick and convenient opening. The biggest benefit is that the umbrella can be opened with one hand.

Auto Close

Auto close is an umbrella design that allows the umbrella to quickly close at the push of a button. An umbrella designed with auto open and auto close is an impressive mechanical design.


The compact umbrella is an umbrella that closes down to a small size making it convenient to tote when not in use.

Umbrella Technology and Development

Although umbrellas have been around for thousands of years, they continue to evolve. New materials like carbon fiber, LED lights, and other modern inventions continue to have an affect on todays' umbrellas. In this example, a Shedrain Umbrella uses an electric motor for smooth and efficient opening and closing of the umbrella. Look forward to the day when an umbrella will never be damaged by the wind and modern technology gives us the indestructible ultimate protection from the elements.


Umbrellas are one of those things most people don't think about until they really need one. Then it's all you can think about. Keeping a few umbrellas in the right place can be a good plan. With a few at the house, one in your car and another at the office you can be ready for that surprise summer shower or persistent winter deluge.

From a marketing standpoint, a logo imprinted umbrella should be on your must have list. When that big smile comes across their face because they just opened their favorite umbrella, it's great to have your logo right there reminding them of your great foresight. You can't always predict what day it will rain, but you can with 100% confidence predict that it will rain one day. With that in mind, keep that umbrella ready to go. If you are a marketing professional, take the opportunity to lean about the benefits of using umbrellas as a marketing tool with custom logo imprinted umbrellas.

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