Do you print or do you engrave your promotional USB memory sticks. Before you place any order please take time to at least ponder the question because the default option for most of our customers is to print them without giving a second thought to the engraving option. We try to stay agnostic over the “engrave versus print” debate and let our customers make the choice but there are times when we see a job and think you know what that’d look so much better engraved. Perhaps it’s out fault; perhaps we should be more forthright in our opinions and try to encourage our customers to consider engraving their design or logo. It’s never easy getting the balance right between gently coaxing and encouragement and just candidly saying you’re wrong.
Printed USB sticks do look absolutely fantastic; there’s a wide range of USB sticks that you can print on print on (compared to those that you can engrave on) and there is a growing range that allow you to pint on them in full colour with a print bleed right the edge of the flash drive. There is a “but” though and that is that over time the print will begin to chip, scuff and wear away leaving behind a logo or design that is barely legible. How long the print will last on a USB stick depends on what it’s made from and the printing process used to apply the design.
Printing onto metal USB sticks can be challenging because the metal surface needs to be cleaned and primed before any ink can be applied to them and then, ideally, they need to be baked in a commercial print oven to get the print to adhere properly. This obviously takes place before the USB sticks are assembled otherwise the memory and flash module would be “cooked” during the drying process.
No matter how meticulously you clean the metal, or how well your prime them before you print them they are particularly susceptible because when the edge of the printed logo is chipped the 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.
By contrast laser engraving as the name suggests “etches” the surface leaving a high precision finish that is permanent and won’t rub or scratch off. It’s a popular technique 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.
In many cases engraving is not only a better and longer lasting solution but aesthetically it looks better which is why many wedding photographers are opting for engraved wooden USB memory sticks in preference to printed options. Our wooden versions are particularly attractive and incredibly tactile and when combined with our engraved gift boxes they make a killer package.