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Archive for January, 2012

Professional Photographers Guide To Buying Printed USB Flash Drives

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

If you’re a professional photographer who is considering abandoning CD and DVD’s in favour of USB Flash Drives then there are some basic facts you need to be aware of before you commit to buying flash drives printed that are printed with your brand or logo:

  1. Most companies that supply USB flash drives printed with a company brand or logo are principally supplying then as giveaway promotional products – the sort of thing that you pick from a company booth at trade and retail shows. Typically these flash drives won’t get a huge amount of usage and the demands the drives need to support in terms of read/write speed are pretty light.

    Typical read/write speeds of a “standard” promotional USB flash drive are going to be around 4MB per second (write) and 10MB per second (read). This is more than adequate if all you’re doing with the drive is loading up a couple of sales brochures maybe the odd short media file and links to your company web site but, if you’re a professional photographer or wedding video company you may (depending on what you are doing with the drives) need to specify certain minimum requirements – read/write speeds, grade of memory chip etc.

  2. If you buy standard promotional USB Flash drives and you then start to load very large video files or wedding portfolios onto them then you’ll immediately notice that they’re not the quickest of products. If you’ve been used to working on Apple Mac’s and you use top end Memory Cards with fast read/write speeds, or perhaps you use Firewire to move data around then by comparison a promotional USB flash drive is going to be a “horse and cart”.

    For example top end SD cards or CF cards have a read/write speed of around 40MB per second – X10 times the speed of standard promotional USB flash drives.

  3. Top end, high performance USB flash drives typically have read/writes speeds of 20MB (ish) per second, significantly faster than promotional versions but still not as fast as High Speed SD or CF cards. These high performance USB sticks also carry a significant price premium.
  4. If speed of data transfer is an issue for you then you might want to consider getting quotes on printed USB Flash Drives that work to the new USB 3.0 standard – these have read write speed of around 50MB – 100MB per second so they are blisteringly quick! Again, the downside is cost (they’re new so they’re going to be expensive) and you need a PC or Mac that is equipped with USB 3.0 USB ports to take advantage of the speed improvements. They’ll still work on USB 2.0 PC’s but only at USB 2.0 speeds! Still at least if you have USB 3.0 and you buy USB 3.0 sticks you can dramatically reduce your own data-loading times – your customer won’t notice any speed improvements until they upgrade to USB 3.0.
  5. A sensible compromise if you’re looking for decent data transfer speeds it to ask your supplier to quote for upgraded USB 2.0 flash drives – they’ll be a little more expensive but you should get something that has a longer warranty period and better performance with speeds closer to the High performance products sold by brands like Kingston and Lacie. Remember if you don’t ask for this you will just get “standard” promotional USB flash drives which are fine they’re just slow!
  6. Apart from speed the aesthetic of the USB flash drive will be important but there are lots of different models to choose from and the internal components of all of them can be upgraded to include High Speed, High Performance controller chips and flash memory modules.
  7. Ideally talk to your supplier about what you plan to use your USB flash drives for and get them to recommend a solution. If you’ve chosen your supplier well and they know their industry they should not only be aware of the issues but they should be able to put forward a range of different solutions.
Photographers UBS Sticks

Photographers UBS Sticks

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Professional Photographers Guide To Buying Printed USB Flash Drives

Top 5 Tips For Buying Custom USB Memory Sticks

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

USB memory sticks printed with a company brand or logo on continue to be popular with literally millions of them being handed out every year. If you’re thinking of buying some for your company, school or university there are a few golden rules to be aware of before you place any orders.

Whilst it’s not a comprehensive list here are our Top 5 tips when buying USB sticks:

  1. Simple and strong logo’s work best: Let’s face it, if you’re working for a large corporate company or school then you’re not going to have a huge amount of choice about which logo or brand you use for your printed USB memory sticks. Typically not only will there be a prescribed brand that you’ll need to use but you’ll also have clearly defined brand rules and guidelines to adhere to which dictate print sizes, colours etc.

    Because of the relatively small amount of space on a USB stick ideally you need to use simple logos with strong colours that create a visual impact. It may be necessary to approval to adapt an existing logo to get the best effect.

  2. You need the highest resolution you can get hold of: To get a great finish it’s essential that you use high resolution artwork. Vector shaped artwork is best because it will not lose any sharpness irrespective of how big or small you make it. Vector logos will typically be saved as .EPS or .AI files. If you have an in-house designer they’ll understand what’s needed. What you can’t really do is just “grab” a jpeg from your company web site because if you use this to print from the final printed image will look pixelated.
  3. Choose a type or style of USB memory stick that compliments your logo: OK, this sounds pretty obvious but some logos look better on a particular style of USB memory stick. Large, complex logos work better on products like the USB Credit Card but simple, clean logos work really well on smaller USB sticks like the Twister (the capless model)

    If you’re not sure what the best option is then ask your supplier to work up a range of “mock-ups” for you. They should be happy to do this for you and at no cost.

  4. Don’t go cheap on the memory size: Whilst cost will of course be a determining factor it’s important to get the balance right between choosing the correct capacity and the budget available for your USB memory sticks.

    If you hand out custom USB sticks with a small storage capacity there is less likelihood that they’ll get used. They are “ok” if you’re just using them to distribute data but if you want them to have a life beyond the initial distribution its important you give the user a reason to carry them around. A memory stick with little or no real or perceived storage will just end up in the back of a drawer.

  5. Don’t forget to pre-load data: If you have data that you want to load onto your branded USB memory sticks then to get it ready early. This way the data can be loaded during the manufacturing process and it typically won’t cost you anything.
Twister USB Sticks

Twister USB Sticks

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Top 5 Tips For Buying Custom USB Memory Sticks

Now That’s What I Call A Fast Promotional USB Flash Drive

Friday, January 20th, 2012

OK, to be clear we’re not talking in the context of how quickly the promotional USB flash drives reads and writes data but more about how fast the raw, blank USB flash drive was turned into a stunning promotional product.

At 4pm yesterday we took an order from a customer who needed USB sticks in a hurry. They had their artwork ready and their credit card in hand ready to pay for them providing (and here’s the rub) they could be with them today!

Now at USB2U that’s the sort of challenge we like. So here’s what happened:

  • Order confirmed by customer at around 4pm
  • Artwork emailed over to their Account Manager
  • USB2U designer sets artwork, creates digital proof that is then emailed back to the customer for approval.
  • Customer give their approval
  • In anticipation of this the USB sticks are prepared ready for printing
  • Fifty USB sticks are printed as per the approved artwork, QA checked and signed off ready for despatch.
  • Overnight courier collects the printed USB flash drives at 5:15
  • The following day the promotional USB flash drives are delivered to a delighted customer who then dashed off to their event with them.

Now we’re not suggesting we can do this for every customer who calls us at 4pm in a panic but where we can help we’ll certainly go the extra mile.

Printed USB Memory Sticks

Printed USB Memory Sticks

Our normal rush service is 48hrs from order, we can often do 24hrs (if everything is ready in terms of artwork etc.) and very occasionally if the planets are in the right alignment and the team here are up for a collective challenge we can work minor miracles.

So, if you are looking for a supplier of promotional USB flash drives and a supplier that holds stock locally and can print the stock and get it to you quickly then give us a call. We like exceeding expectation whenever we can!

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Now That’s What I Call A Fast Promotional USB Flash Drive

It’s Hard Hat Time For Anyone Selling USB Promotional USB Sticks

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

It’s time to hunker down and put on the hard hats. Every year we think it can’t be as bad as last year but every year (and we’re in our tenth year) it seems to get more manic!

We’re referring of course to the havoc that the Chinese New Year Holidays causes within the promotions industry and in particular the panic that ensues because companies can’t get promotional USB sticks printed and delivered in time for their key events and shows.

USB Sticks in a Hurry

USB Sticks in a Hurry

The primary problem is that during Chinese New Year normal lead times get stretched from a reasonable 7-10 days to around 4-6 weeks and if customers have not anticipated this then they tend to turn to the web in an endeavour to find a company that can meet their requirements. Consequently for the few weeks that Chinese New Year is on our phones run red hot and our on-line lead enquiry system “chatters away” all day.

Fortunately, having been here before we now order plenty of blank stock to see us through Chinese NY so we are in the enviable position of being able to respond to the enquiries we get and we are turning around requests for printed USB memory sticks in as little as 24hrs.

We’re working flat out and our print schedules are filling up fast which is great but it does mean that if you want us to supply you with promotional USB sticks during this tough period then you need to get your order in quickly.

So, if you need USB sticks in a hurry, or perhaps you’ve been let down by another supplier who over promised during this period then give us a call or fill our on-line enquiry form and one of our team will get back to you.

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It’s Hard Hat Time For Anyone Selling USB Promotional USB Sticks

Kodak – Missed the Move to Digital & USB memory Sticks

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Today’s news about Kodak filing for bankruptcy protection is a sign of just how quickly things have changed in the photography sector over the past couple of years. Here’s a re-run of an article we posted over a year ago that talks about the history of Kodak and the rapid move of photographers (professional and amateur) away from fill to digital technology.

Eastman Kodak introduced the first Box Brownie in February 1900 and in doing so they opened up photography to the masses. The Brownie was a pretty basic cardboard box with a simple lens that took pictures on 117 roll film. It was simple to use, cheap at $1 per camera and its launch was backed by a marketing campaign that encouraged everyone to pick up a camera and take “snaps”.

During its lifetime hundreds of millions of Box Brownies were sold. Of course of the years it went through a number of design changes and technology “upgrades” but the fundamental box shape remained.

It would be fair to say that the Box Brownie will have introduced many Professional Photographers during the early 20th Centaury to their profession. It also had a huge impact on our ability to chart social history through the snapshots that were taken with the Brownie.

Whilst the Brownie brought photography to the masses it still relied on roll-film technology that needed processing using chemicals and a fair degree of skill. With roll film there was never any ability to preview your photos, instead you had to wait until your film had been developed and printed before you could see what pictures you had taken.

In the same way that the Box Brownie revolutionised photography in the early 20th Centaury the introduction of digital image technology, digital cameras and mobile phones with integrated cameras has revolutionised photography 100 years later. Today pretty much every mobile phone can take good quality photos and these can be posted onto web sites and social networks sites within seconds and shared around the world.

Kodak USB Sticks

Kodak USB Sticks

It’s not just the amateur photographer that has switched to digital photographic technology but professional photographers now typically use digital cameras rather than their film based alternatives. One of the benefits for Professional Photographers of this digital revolution is their ability to save and distribute their portfolios electronically. This applies not only to how they save and store their own work but increasingly to how they save and distribute their client “shoots”, portfolios and wedding photos.

For some they will simply email the photos or post them on a web site to be “downloaded”. Others might supply them on a CD or DVD but one of the more recent and innovative trends are to distribute them on a USB memory sticks printed up with the logo and details of the photographer. The “branded” USB flash drives look much more professional than a CD or DVD and help to promote and develop the photographers brand – they in effect become a sales vehicle in their own right and they personify just how much the world of photography has moved on from the early days of the Boxed Brownie.

It’ll be interesting to see if Kodak can survive the next few years and reinvent themselves as a printer company. Realistically we’re likely to have to say goodbye to “Kodak Moments”.

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Kodak – Missed the Move to Digital & USB memory Sticks

USB2U Are the 4th Emergency Service For Custom USB Sticks

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

If you didn’t realise Chinese New Year was going to have such a big impact on your ability to source custom USB memory sticks and you need them now then you’re in for a nasty surprise.

Custom USB Emergency Delivery

Custom USB Emergency Delivery

During Mid-January to Mid-Feb it’s mayhem as companies and schools looking for custom USB sticks scramble to secure the limited amount of stock that is readily available in the UK. Of course if you can wait a few weeks it’s not a problem but if you need them quickly then it’s best to start looking for a supplier that has stock in the UK and can get them printed and delivered in your timeframes. Unfortunately there are very few companies that hold stock and even fewer that can print them and get them delivered in a day or two!

If you find yourself hunting around for custom USB sticks during Chinese New Year you’ll soon realise that it’s not pleasant. It’s a bit like being a parent at Christmas trying to hunt down that elusive “must have” toy for your child – you end up in a war pitted against other parents all after the same thing and all desperately hunting down the elusive toy/gift.

Of course if you’re working on a project, a show or a press event and you’re up against a hard deadline then, the last thing you need is to be told by your supplier that they can’t deliver your order on time.

All the planning and preparation in the world can’t accommodate these little “bombs” when they happen but what you can do is try and factor in a little contingency in your plans. Granted, it’s not always easy and contingency has a nasty habit of just being “absorbed” in the project.

If you do find yourself in a tight spot and you need custom USB sticks in a hurry then don’t panic. At USB2U we pride ourselves on being the “4th Emergency Service” of the custom USB  stick market. Unlike our competitors we do hold lots of plain, unprinted stock in the UK which we can print and get delivered to you in as little as 24hrs!!

You won’t have the full range of USB sticks we sell to choose from and you might have to compromise of colour and memory size but iif you are up against it or you’ve been let down by another supplier we can normally help.

Just give us a call and speak to one of our experienced sales team – they’ll talk you though the options and our in-house designer will work with you to make sure we can deliver a custom printed USB stick that not only gets you out of trouble but delights you as well!

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USB2U Are the 4th Emergency Service For Custom USB Sticks

Fund Raising With Printed USB Memory Sticks

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

If you’ve committed to raise funds for your local school, church or club then well done for stepping up to the challenge and sacrificing your own time and energy to do good for others. Often though, the initial moment of madness or enthusiasm that underpinned your commitment is followed by a longer period of panic as you start to realise that raising money it today’s economic climate is not going to be easy.

If you’re fund raising as part of a group then it can be a lot easier than raising funds on your own because you’ll have the benefit of pooling your ideas together and setting up a little committee to work out how you execute your plans. Fund raising on your own is a little more challenging simply because you need to be much more focused, determined and self-sacrificing. The range of activities you can don on your own will also be more limited than those you could do as a group.

Firm favourites for fund raising include:

  • Sponsored walks, runs, cycle rides, silences, bungee jumping, abseiling etc. These are all “doable” as an individual or as a group but they all demand a degree of physical fitness and nerve so they’re not for everyone.
  • Car boot sales, jumble sales, table top sales and garage sales.
  • Quiz nights including pop quiz nights, sports quiz nights or just a general quiz night – these can be great fun but you need to put lots of energy into the promotion of the quiz night to ensure enough people turn up, typically people will want food so this needs to be factored into the planning and budgeting and you’ll need some great questions and a willing compare for the evening.
  • Car cleaning and sponsored bag packing at the local supermarket – again, great ideas but lots of people want to do this and supermarkets only allow it occasionally becuae they don’t want their customers “hassled”.

For something a little bit different you could sell (for a profit) printed USB memory sticks or printed USB wristbands. USB Memory sticks (also known as flash drives, pen drives, thumb drives and pen drives) are incredibly popular at the moment. They have become the de facto way to save and carry around data files and lots of school students use them every day to save their homework onto.

Fundraising with USB Memory Sticks

Fundraising with USB Memory Sticks

You could buy USB flash drives printed with your school, church or group logo on, or you could get them printed with details of charity. One option that would make them a little bit special is to get them personalised with peoples name on – for this you’d have to take “orders” in advance and then get your supplier to print each stick with a different name on (as well as your logo).

Don’t forget you can also pre-load onto the memory sticks documents about your charity; school etc. to give people an idea about what the money you’re raising will go towards. You could also include web links to your blog, your on-line charity donation page(s) and any Facebook or Twitter pages you’ve set up to support your fund raising.

To make it worth your while you need to order at least 25 USB sticks – this way you’ll get a decent price (including the printing) and should be able to sell them on for a reasonable profit.

There are lots of suppliers around that can offer printed USB memory sticks including USB2U who have been around since 2002 and are now one of the leading suppliers in the UK.

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Fund Raising With Printed USB Memory Sticks

Loading Data onto Promotional USB Sticks Is Boring So Don’t Do It

Friday, January 13th, 2012

If you’re thinking about buying some promotional USB sticks for your business, perhaps for a forthcoming show, exhibition or event but you’re dreading the prospect of having to load each and every one of them with data files then don’t do it.

Of course you should load them with data (sales brochures, web links, brochures, etc.) but don’t put yourself through the torture of doing it yourself. Get your supplier of the USB sticks to load the data for you before they are delivered. Most suppliers (providing it’s a reasonable amount of data) will pre-load the sticks for you free of charge. OK, you need to be organised and have your data ready and you might have to provide the supplier with the data early but if you can do this it’s so much easier than trying to load them yourself from you PC in the office!!

Pre-loading data onto hundreds or thousands of memory sticks can take hours and in some cases days, depending on the size of the data you are copying. So don’t do it it’s not good for your health or your sanity.

USB Data Loading

USB Data Loading

Companies that offer a data-loading service will usually use commercial and automatic USB data duplication equipment that allows them to load thousands of memory sticks pretty quickly. These professional data-loading systems are rack mounted, they manage tens or hundreds of USB sticks at a time and the systems can be expanded to meet demand.

At USB2U we invested in a number of professional data-loading machines a few years ago and we regularly load data on behalf of our customers. All we need is the data and then we create a “master” USB memory stick which we get approved by the customer and then we replicate the data onto the memory sticks the customer has ordered. Simple, painless and hassle free!

Not only that but, the beauty of the professional data duplication equipment that we use at USB2U is that during the data loading process we test and QA each USB stick again before they are sent to our customers. We can also provide detailed reports on the overall amount of data loaded; the data transfer speeds of the sticks and any failures.

The level of investment in this professional equipment is significant but it allows us to offer a complete solution that includes the supply of branded USB flash drives and accessories, data loading and if needed fulfilment. We can also do all of this quickly often responding to request to print, dataload and ship USB sticks in as little as 24hrs

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Loading Data onto Promotional USB Sticks Is Boring So Don’t Do It

Personalise Every USB Memory Stick You Give out

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Printing a logo on USB flash drives is relatively straightforward these days and there are lots of different USB flash drives to choose from. In fact, there is so much choice these days that one of the biggest challenges people face when buying USB memory sticks is deciding which particular model or style is right for their business, school or university.

The benefits of handing out promotional USB sticks to help drive brand awareness, to increase sales or simply to give the recipients’ a means of storing and carrying data are well documented.  To a large extent USB sticks have now replaced CD’s and DVD’s as the de facto storage option of choice.

Their popularity has been underpinned by dramatic price falls over the past few years coupled with the availability of much larger memory sizes. A few years ago the typical memory size of a giveaway or promotional USB flash drive was around 128MB, today the most popular size is 2GB and by the end of this year it’s expected to be 4GB.

Personalised USB Flash Drives

Personalised USB Flash Drives

Most USB memory sticks that are given out are printed with a single design or brand on them (or in the case of schools and universities it tends to be the school crest or logo). This is fine in most circumstances but sometimes it would be beneficial for every USB stick to be personalised; perhaps with a name or serial number for example.

It makes sense if you’re buying USB flash drives for a school class or perhaps an entire school to add the students name to the logo that is printed – perhaps on the reverse of the USB stick or if there is room adjacent to the logo. This way it’s much easier to identify who owns the sticks should any of them get lost or misplaced (and inevitability with school students)

The challenge if you want a different name or image printed on every USB stick you order is find a supplier that is able to do it and do it for a reasonable price. Most suppliers charge a set-up and print fee for every design they print which could potentially mean 30 different set-up and print charges for a class of 30 students (assuming you had each student’s name printed on every stick)!!

The reason for the charge is because  USB sticks are typically screen printed and a new “screen” would have to be made for every name change but, if you can find a supplier that uses the latest digital printing techniques it should be possible to change the graphics on every USB stick for little or no extra cost.

USB2U is one of the few suppliers of promotional USB memory sticks that can only offer a truly personalised printing option for some of their core products and if you get your order in early enough (and they have the stock to hand) then they can turn around orders in just 24hrs!

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Personalise Every USB Memory Stick You Give out

Where Can You Get Printed USB Memory Sticks In 24hrs?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

The usual lead-time for USB memory sticks printed with your company logo or brand on is typically around 10 days from confirmation of your order. During certain times of the year (January and February) when the market is badly impacted by Chinese New Year it can be as much as 4 weeks.

So, if you need to get hold of branded USB memory sticks in a hurry you’ll have to find a local supplier that can offer a “rush” service but even this normally means a wait of around 3 days (typically a little longer if you need data pre-loading onto the USB sticks as well).

USB Sticks in 24Hrs

USB Sticks in 24Hrs

The problem is that most suppliers of branded USB memory sticks don’t hold any stocks of USB sticks in-house preferring instead to place the orders on their factory as their customers confirm them. This de-risks holding stock that might not get purchased or simply might devalue based on fluctuations in the price of flash memory and currency exchange rates (all USB flash memory and memory sticks are traded in US Dollars).  Those suppliers that do hold stock typically only hold very small quantities of a very limited range of model and styles and even then they can’t print them on-site.

One supplier that is different is USB2U. Established in 2002, USB2U been supplying branded USB memory sticks longer than any other promotional supplier in the UK, they hold large quantities of stock in the UK, they have invested in professional data-loading equipment and they have the latest printing technology in-house.

The combination of their experience, their large stock levels and their investment in the latest state of the art technology enables them to provide a lightening fast delivery service. Customer who take advantage of their rush service and who place their orders by 10am can opt to get them delivered the following business day. That’s fast!

So, if you do find yourself up against a tight deadline and you need USB memory sticks, USB credit cards or USB business cards with your company or school name/logo printed on (full colour) then get in touch with the team at USB2U.

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Where Can You Get Printed USB Memory Sticks In 24hrs?
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