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At USB2U we’ve got your number – Serial Numbered USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 13th July 2015 | Permalink

There are lots of reasons why you might want to put a unique serial number on each of the branded USB memory sticks you hand out. Some companies we supply have them etched onto each USB sticks so that they can “bind” a specific stick to a specific person. We assume they’re putting sensitive information on every USB stick and want to make sure if the stick is a) given out to the right person in the first place and b) are able to re-unite it with the designated owner should it get lost (and subsequently turn up).

Sensitive data that’s pre-loaded onto one of our USB sticks might for example include confidential product pricing or perhaps embargoed press release information that can’t fall into the wrong hands. Putting a serial number on them is not an infallible method but at least it demonstrates you are aware of the issues and that you’re trying to do something to deal with them. As well as putting a serial number on the physical stick don’t forget it’s also possible to protect access to the data stored on the flash drive as well – just ask if this is something you’d be interested in.

Flash Drive Serial Numbers and Bar Code Printing

Flash Drive Serial Numbers and Bar Code Printing

School and universities often get their USB sticks marked (engraved or etched) with a serial number so they can “link” them to a student – at least this way if the USB stick is lost (and subsequently found) it can be repatriated to the student who lost it. There’s nothing worse than losing precious coursework stored on a USB memory sticks particularly when it’s not been backed up to a cloud based solution like Dropbox!

We always recommend engraving or etching a serial number onto a USB sticks rather than printing it because printed numbers can be scratched off. The engraving costs pennies or nothing depending on how many sticks you buy and it is a simple but effective solution. Don’t worry about the numbers having a negative effect on the branding of the sticks because if you don’t want them on the body of the stick they can be etched onto the connector that plugs into the PC or on the side of the stick.

If you know in advance the names of the recipients of the USB sticks then we can personalise each one and print (or engrave) their names on the sticks instead of numbers – it really depends what you’re trying to achieve and how discrete the “binding” of the USB stick to a particular person needs to be.

If in doubt just call us and we’ll talk you through the options and lead times.

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Promotional USB Sticks with a logo that will last a lifetime

Posted by USB2U on 15th June 2015 | Permalink

If you’re buying USB memory sticks with your logo on then one of the primary reasons for buying them will be to promote your company and your brand – if all you wanted to do was hand out USB sticks then you could just as easily buy them without your logo on. Arguably it would be easier (and cheaper) to buy them this way but what would be the point!

Let’s face it if you’re going to spend a minimum of several hundreds of pounds on giveaways (like USB sticks) then you absolutely must get your them branded with your logo. Yes there is a small overhead to arrange this (versus buying blank) and you will pay marginally more for the finished product but promotional gifts like USB sticks are all about brand development and without a brand on them you fail at the first hurdle.

BUT one of the things you will need to consider when you buy promotional USB memory sticks with your logo on is exactly how the logo is applied. Do you opt to have the logo printed or is it better to get the logo engraved or embossed on the sticks.

Printing is usually done in one of two ways:

  • Silk Screen printing – using this technique each colour of your logo will be printed individually onto the case of the USB stick (onto which the logo is being applied) with the case often being baked in a small print oven between colours. The baking process tends to be used when metal surfaces are printed on because it hardens and toughens the print and protects it against chipping and scratching. On plastics its typical for a primer or bonding agent to be used.
  • Digital UV Print – UV printing is relatively new but its very popular because its allows full colour printing (photo quality) in a single pass using the latest UV printers. There’s a bit like a large photo printer you might use at home but with special UV inks that are dried and hardened by a UV lamp built into the printer. In many cases it’s still necessary to prime and thoroughly clean the USB sticks before they are printed but with care and an experienced operator the results can be stunning.

Whichever method is used the fundamental problem with printing is that over time the image printed will chip and scratch. Once the “bond” the ink forms during the print process is broken then it’s just a matter of time until the complete logo disappears.

Given the primary objective for buying USB sticks with your logo on is the on-going brand exposure you get from them then the quality of the print is a key consideration. Ink almost wiping straight off metal USB sticks is not unheard of!

An alternative is to choose a USB stick that can be engraved or embossed. OK, you’ll lose the ability to have your logo printed in full colour but the logo will last forever!

On the right model of USB stick, engraving looks brilliant. It’s tactile and the amount of detail you can get may surprise you. Both branding options (printing or engraving) have their merits but if you want longevity then it has to be engraving. Still not sure, then just ask for samples before you place any order.

Engraved Twisters By USB2U

Engraved USB Memory Sticks

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USB Sticks and Keepsake Boxes fit for a Princess

Posted by USB2U on 6th May 2015 | Permalink

Fantastic news about the birth of the latest Royal baby on Saturday! Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (Charlotte Elizabeth Diana) arrived at 8:34am on Saturday and the announcement has provided a welcome respite to all of the political debate in the lead up to the General Election on Thursday.

Whilst there’s been masses of media coverage and loads of photos of Princess Charlotte it’s unlikely we’re going to see any “official” photos released by the Palace for at least another 3-4 weeks. Her brother (Prince George) was a couple of days short of being a month old before the first official image was released and even then these were a few snapshots taken by Kate’s father.

It’ll be interesting to see if this time around Kate and William use the services of a professional photographer or whether they elect (again) to keep the whole thing “in the family”. It’s a commission that most professional photographers would give their right arm to get albeit it won’t come without lots of pressure, scrutiny not to mention the demands (and intrusion) of the press!

If they do commission a professional photographer Kate and William won’t be alone because these days the newborn baby photography sector is growing fast and there are some brilliant pros that specialise in nothing but baby photography. Of course as a market grows and brings more competition into it one of the challenges is to make sure you differentiate your service so photographers are now using things like engraved USB memory sticks and matching engraved keepsake boxes to store digital copies of the baby photos on and in!

But, a pretty keepsake box and cute engraved USB memory stick is just a great “value add” and nothing more. Fundamentally it has to be about the quality of the photography and how the photographer engages with their client and the baby.

If you are an established baby photographer then, irrespective of whether you get the “gig” at the Palace you might want to think about offering digital copies of your shots to your clients on an engraved or printed USB memory stick. It’s the way the market is moving and there are now several specialist companies (including USB2U) that not only offer these types of products but have also invested in dedicated websites aimed at the Pro-Photography sector.

If you are think that you’re on the short list of possibles for the first official photographs of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge then good luck!

Tasmin Holland

Tasmin Holland – Professional Photography – USB Sticks and Boxes

 

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Laser Engraved USB Memory Sticks Create a Lasting Impression

Posted by USB2U on 3rd July 2014 | Permalink

If you’re the market for some promotional USB memory sticks and you’re thinking of ordering them with your logo printed on them then before you place the order you might just want to take a few minutes to consider getting your logo laser engraved rather than printed.

We understand that for some customers printing is the only option because they have to have their logo reproduced in full colour and of course we understand that printed logos and designs look great.  After all the majority of our USB sticks are printed and all of our USB sticks can be printed on!  But there is one obvious downside with printing and we’d be failing in our responsibility to our customers if we didn’t point it out.

Engraved USB Memory Sticks

Engraved USB Memory Sticks

The downside with printing is that over time the print will begin to chip and wear away leaving behind a logo that might not be legible.  It doesn’t matter what printing process is use, what primer is applied to the sticks and how long they are baked for to harden the ink after being printed because at some point ink and its adhesion will “give” and chip away or simply fade.

Of course the resilience of the print will vary depending on the material that the USB stick is made from and how well they are printed in the first place.  Equally the environment they are used in can have a major bearing as can the way in which they are carried –  if printed USB memory sticks are attached to a bunch of keys (on a key ring) then the constant chaffing of the stick against the keys will accelerate the erosion of the print.

If you really do want your logo to last and for your promotional USB memory sticks to look as good after a few months as they did on the day they were supplied then you ought to consider getting them laser engraved.

Laser engraving “etches” the surface of the USB stick leaving a high precision finish that is permanent and won’t rub or scratch off. It’s a very popular technique that is used on a wide range of promotional products.

Of course you won’t get the option of full colour but at least you’ll know the logo will be produced to a high level of accuracy and more fundamentally that the design engraved onto them will last the test of time.

Engraved USB - Iron Stick

Engraved USB - Iron Stick

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Supplying Engraved Wooden USB Memory Sticks to Professional Photographers

Posted by USB2U on 6th May 2014 | Permalink

Since exhibiting The  Photography Show earlier this year our feet have barely touched the ground and it’d be fair to say it’s all been a little bit manic – but in a good way. The feedback from the photographers we met at the show was amazing and the level of interest shown in our range of USB packages since the show has blown us away.

As we committed to the show weren’t 100% sure if now was the right time to be exhibiting. Our nervousness stemmed from concerns about whether Professional Photographers were ready to take the plunge and move CD’s and DVD’s to USB memory sticks. Equally we knew it was down to us to inform and educate about the differing quality of “promotional” USB sticks that are readily available and to get across the message that most are simply not suitable for photographers because a “promotional” USB sticks is a very different beast to a High Spec USB stick put together specifically for the photography sector – these have upgraded memory, upgraded controller chips and an upgraded capacitor.

Inevitably “High Spec” USB sticks cost a little more than standard promotional USB sticks so our challenge was helping photographers understand why we felt it was important that they bought these more expensive sticks in preference to the cheaper promotional models we sell.

Wendy Grant Wooden USB Sticks and Boxes from USB2U

Wendy Grant Wooden USB Sticks and Boxes from USB2U

Coupled with this we knew we had to do something special in terms of branding and packaging which is why we’ve invested so heavily in this aspect over the last year. The “bundles” we now sell on our dedicated Photographer WebSite are all put together using High Specification USB sticks but they also include a range of fantastic packaging options.

The most popular “bundle” has been our engraved Woodland USB sticks coupled with our engraved wooden slide gift box. We fill the wooden box with Coconut Coir (it’s a very fine, natural fibre) that works really and reinforces the “eco-friendly” message the package sends out. Although we can print the wooden sticks and boxes most photographers are opting to get them engraved – the level of detail we can achieve with the engraving is amazing and of course the engraving mellows and matures with the wood. The results are a great looking and incredibly tactile package that is incomparable to a CD or DVD and as such they have very quickly become a vehicle to generate additional sales and additional revenue for the professional photographers that are using them.

Prices for our bundles are shown on the USB2U Photography Web Site but if you can’t see exactly what you want just give us a call – mock-ups and dummy samples are all supplied free of charge.

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Marked for Life – Engraved USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 24th March 2014 | Permalink

If you’re paying to have your brand or logo on a USB flash drive then ideally you want that image to be permanent. You want it to be optimised for to the available print space on the drive and you want it to “wow” whoever you’re giving them out to. Any promotional USB flash drive that has your logo on is really an extension of your brand so it needs to be a product/finish that you are happy to associate with your brand. There can be no compromise, it has to be right and ideally it has to be right over the life of the USB stick.

For some companies getting the branding right means a slavish adherence to the companies branding guidelines and in turn this means that the company logo can only be reproduced in colour. Occasionally it will extend to the actual colour of the USB flash drive itself with this having to be pantone matched to one of the company’s primary brand colours (all “doable” but at a small additional cost).

If you have to go down the colour route then printing really is your only option because whilst embossing or engraving the USB flash drives looks great you can’t apply any colours during these processes. Printed USB flash drives do look amazing (subject to the quality of the artwork used) but just like any printed product the colours will fade over time and printed logo may potentially “chip away” for flake off over time. It doesn’t matter how much the USB flash drives are primed before printing (to ensure a stronger print bond) or baked after printing (to harden the ink and improve the bond strength) eventually the print will chip and scratch – if you put the USB drives on a keyring then expect any printed image to disappear pretty quickly – they just can’t take the punishment.

Engraved USB Flash Drives

Engraved USB Flash Drives

One option that not only looks great but won’t chip away over time is engraving – engraved USB memory sticks, particularly wooden ones look amazing and the beauty of engraving on wooden USB sticks is that the engraved logo on it will age with the stick – OK it might take a few bumps and bashes along the way but the aging is sympathetic and looks in keeping. The brand integrity will be maintained and arguably enhanced.

The tactile nature of engraving is such that for many engraving is the preferred option rather than a choice just to ensure the longevity of the brand applied to the USB drive. Lots of professional photographers are now moving over to engraved wooden USB flash drives because they look amazing and they are an ideal choice for them to hand out to their wedding clients. When coupled with an engraved wooded gift box the end “packaged” results look stunning.

Engraved USB Memory Sticks

Engraved USB Memory Sticks

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These New Metal USB Memory Sticks Are Beauts

Posted by USB2U on 18th April 2013 | Permalink

There are literally hundreds of different styles and types of USB memory stick to choose from which can create a bit of a problem if you’ve been tasked with buying some for your company, school or university – where do you start?  How do you narrow down the choice and what makes a good USB memory stick or are they all as good as each other?

There are some basic considerations for the novice buyer and these are:

  1. If you are planning on printing or engraving a logo or design onto the USB sticks then they need to offer a reasonably large, flat print area to work with – too small and any narrative printed on them will be hard to read (web addresses become a non-starter) but too large and they become a bit unwieldy, people are reluctant to carry and use them which sort of defeats the object of giving them away in the first place.
  2. With or without caps? – for many this is a key consideration and they simply won’t buy (and give away) promotional USB sticks if they have a removable cap that can be subsequently lost. Perhaps not surprisingly therefore the most popular USB sticks have consistently been those without a cap or lid e.g. the Twister, the USB credit card and the Retractor.
  3. Metal, Plastic, Leather or Wood? – which material your USB stick is made from is often down to personal choice but if you want a printed finish then plastic will give you the best results. Metal, leather and wooden USB stick tend to look (and feel) better engraved. Arguably (albeit again it is down to personal perceptions) metal, leather and wood options look a little classier and are certainly more tactile than the plastic options. Surprisingly there is often little cost difference between the four options.
  4. Printed or engraved – Printing obviously allows for any logo or image to be reproduced in full with all the colours that the “brand police” demand but engraving (particularly laser engraving) can produce stunning results that last. No matter how good the print looks on a USB memory stick when it is made the print will inevitably chip, scuff and fade in use whereas a laser engraved image is permanent. Think tattooing for USB sticks!

Two new metal USB sticks that are available from USB2U are the Carbon and the Engraved Slider – one is “capless”, both are available in a range of different colours and both are available from UK stock for delivery (engraved not printed) in as little as 24hrs. They look and feel stunning and should definitely be on any short list of USB sticks you draw up – ask for a sample to get a better feel for the quality of the sticks.

Metal USB Memory Sticks

Metal USB Memory Sticks

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Laser Engraved USB Flash Drives – Logos that last!

Posted by USB2U on 29th May 2012 | Permalink

If you’re thinking of ordering yourself some promotional USB flash drives and you’re fixed on getting them printed then you might just want to take a few minutes to consider getting your logo laser engraved rather than printed.

Whilst there is no escaping the fact that printing does look good and with printing you have a wide choice of flash drives models to choose from and you can of course get your logo printed in full colour. The downside with printing is that over time the print will begin to chip and wear away leaving behind a logo that might not be legible.  The resilience of the print will vary depending on the material that the USB stick is made from and how well they are printed in the first place.

Engraved USB Flash Drives

Engraved USB Flash Drives

Printing onto metal or aluminium USB flash drives can be tricky because you have to carefully clean and prime the metal surface before you print and then you need to bake them in a commercial print oven to get the print to adhere properly.  Any mistakes in this process can result in the ink coming off pretty quickly in general use.

Printed metal USB drives that are used on a key ring come in for a significant amount of punishment and are particularly susceptible because the sharp edges of the keys “break the tension” of the print on the metal and once this tension is compromised the rest of the print tends to flake away pretty quickly.

Digital printing or screen printing onto a plastic surface tends to offer a more robust solution but even these techniques won’t guarantee the print eventually failing.

If you really do want you logo to last and look as good after a few months as the day they were supplied then it’s definitely worth considering getting your USB flash drives laser engraved.

Engraved Flash Drives

Engraved Flash Drives

Laser engraving as the name suggests “etches” the surface leaving a high precision finish that is permanent and won’t rub or scratch off. Laser engraving is popular on a wide range of promotional products (including USB flash drives) but it’s a technique that is also widely used in industry to permanently mark medical devices, instruments, buttons, tags, car parts, bar codes and lots ore besides.

With engraving you will have to compromise on the colour the logo is produced in (but you can select a range of different coloured USB flash drives) but at least you’ll know the logo will be produced to a high level of accuracy and more fundamentally that it will last the test of time.

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Engraved USB Memory Sticks in just 24hrs – logo for a lifetime!

Posted by USB2U on 8th May 2012 | Permalink

The beauty of engraved USB memory sticks is that you can get them delivered in just 24hrs and when you take delivery of them you know the logo or design that has been engraved on them is going to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, the same cannot always be said of printed USB flash drives.

The problem with some USB memory sticks that are printed (and it tends to be metal or aluminum sticks that are the biggest culprits) is that the ink used to print them can scratch off pretty easily in daily use.

engraved USB flash drives

engraved USB flash drives

Popular metal USB sticks (like the twister or rotate) leave the factory with a protective “film” on them. The film is designed to provide some protection against scratching and to help keep the surface looking pristine. But, if you want to print on these metal sticks you first have to remove the protective film with a chemical wipe and then you need to prime the metal so help with the ink adhesion – if this is not done any logo printed onto the sticks will come off when scratched lightly with a finger nail.

Even when cleaned and primed the ink applied to the metal sticks “sits on the surface” of the metal and once the surface tension is broken (for example with keys on a keyring) then the ink will start to flake off. Plastic USB sticks don’t tend to suffer from the same fate because the ink “embeds” itself into the actual surface of the plastic.

If you are planning to give away metal style USB memory sticks with your logo on and you expect the sticks to take some punishment in daily usage then you might be better thinking about getting the sticks engraved. Whilst printed USB sticks do look stunning if you want your brand to survive as long as the USB lasts or is used then engraving might be a better option.

Engraving is no more expensive than printing and arguably on the right product can look more sophisticated. On metal surfaces that have an anodised colour finish applied to the surface, engraving simply etches away some of the anodised colour layer to leave a white finish (see the example images).

Engraving is also a suitable technique to brand wood, bamboo or leather USB flash drives – the finish is equally effective and durable.

If you’re not sure whether your logo would be best printed or engraved then speak to your supplier and ask for the advice and ideally get them to supply you with samples of your shortlisted drives printed and engraved. It’s fat better to make your decision(s) having seen the products in the flesh and having carried out your own “scratch tests”.

USB2U can supply printed or engraved USB flash drives in as little as 24hrs and will happily supply samples for prior to any order (the samples will be “dummy”” samples – in other words they won’t have any onboard memory but in all other respects they will be the same as the real thing!

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Engraved USB Flash Drives – The Smarter Choice

Posted by USB2U on 19th April 2012 | Permalink

If the USB flash drives you are going to hand out are going to carry your logo and you want this logo to last then printing your logo onto the flash drive is not always the best or only option. Let’s face it most people that are given a USB flash drive (certainly the type that can attached to a key ring) will typically attach it to a bunch of keys, attach it to their bag or simply leave it rattling around in their purse or pocket with their loose change.

Engraved USB Flash Drives

Engraved USB Flash Drives

If they do any of these things with your carefully printed USB flash drives then pretty soon any printed logo on the USB stick is going to take some severe punishment and is ultimately going to succumb and start to rub/scratch off. It doesn’t matter how good the initial print job was, what time of print primer was used, whether the print is “protected” with a spot varnish of lacquer because once the surface tension of the ink is broken it will start to chip or flake away. Fact.

An alternative to printing is engraving – this is where your logo is etched (typically by a laser cutter or engraver) into the shell of the USB drive. Once the shell has been physically marked with a laser it’s done for good and it doesn’t matter what sort of punishment the sticks are exposed to after they have been engraved because the engraved logo will still be there.

Whilst you can’t engrave in colour, engraved products do look incredibly professional and ooze quality but more importantly the logo (or name/serial number) that is engraved is there for good. If you’re paying for products like USB sticks to be customised with your logo then as well as how they look the durability of the logo you print onto them has to be a key factor.

Engraving is an option on a wide range of USB memory sticks including wood (bamboo), some plastics, leather and lots of different metal and anodised metal variants. Anodised Twister USB flash drives (these are the types without a cap) are particularly popular because they come in a wide range of different colours and the engraving looks more like a fine print rather than “classic” engraving.

engraved wood USB flash drives

engraved wood USB flash drives

So, next time you are considering buying some branded USB Flash Drives don’t just automatically think about getting them printed but instead look at the options like engraving and consider if this might be a better choice for your brand, your needs and ultimately your customers (the people you are giving them to). Engraved USB flash drives are no more expensive than their printed counterparts and they take no longer to produce and supply. Some suppliers like USB2U (who hold lots of USB sticks in stock) can turn around engraved USB drives in as little as 24hrs!

If you’re not sure which option is best for you then ask for samples – these are typically free and seeing engraved Vs printed in the flesh should help you make the right choice.

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