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5 Common Mistakes People Make When Ordering Printed USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 10th September 2015 | Permalink

Printed USB memory sticks remain one of the most popular promotional give-aways with millions being handed out every year in the UK alone. The companies that buy these USB memory sticks often leave the buying decision right until the last minute with a growing number wanting their order printed and delivered within hours rather than days or weeks.

At USB2U we’re happy to oblige and turn around orders in whatever timeframe is needed and we’re fortunate enough to be able to print (and engrave) in-house from our own stock and of course we use our own design and print team to manage the whole process – keeping everything under one roof makes life that much easier and of course we have full control over the quality of the sticks, the printing and any data-loading that might be needed.

But, to achieve the often challenging deadlines we’re set it does help if a few simple things are done in advance and during the ordering/manufacturing process. If they can be then everyone’s stress levels and heart rates will easier to manage:

Here are the five most common issues that crop up that makes life more challenging that it needs to be:

  1. Poor Artwork – garbage in garbage out is a phrase more synonymous with the computer industry but it’s equally appropriate when it comes to printing anything – if the artwork you supply is poor then then final printed product will be poor. We’re good and we have some fantastic state of the art printing equipment but even we can’t get a good print from an image “grabbed” from your website or “cut and pasted” from Microsoft Office document. Before you place your order it really helps if you could make sure you can get high quality vector artwork files in any of the following formats; .eps. .ai, .pdf, .cad or .swf.
  2. A common attempt to “work around” this request is to cheat and save a .jpg or .gif file as vector file. Sadly this won’t help – all you do is create a low quality image that will result in a low quality print.
  3. Pantone references – if you need an exact representation of the colours in your logo then we’ll need you to supply the Pantone reference numbers for each colour. Without these the only option is to “best match” the colours. If you’re using our digital print service then the colours will always be “best match” because that’s how digital printers work. If this is likely to be an issue we can silk screen print the individual pantone colours for you but we can’t do this on any of our “Rush Services”
  4. Please be available – once you have committed to an order for printed USB sticks there are several stages that your order will go through and at each stage you (or a colleague) will need to be available to sign off the proof, to sign off any data that is being loaded onto the sticks and finally to make payment for the sticks. If you or another member of your team can’t be reached it may delay things and you could miss your preferred delivery date.
  5. Delivery address – please think about where your USB sticks are going to be delivered to. We ship 99% of our orders with UPS on a next day service but if you live in certain Post Codes this actually means two days. If for example you live in the Highlands or Islands or other remote parts of the UK then allow an extra day for delivery. Equally, make sure you double check the address you supply for delivery, offer a contact phone number and make sure someone is going to be in on the delivery date to receive the printed USB sticks. If you need delivery on a Saturday then please let us know because our standard deliveries are Mon-Fri.
Printed USB Sticks

Printed USB Sticks


Limited Time offer – FREE Printed USB Gift Boxes with Our Glide USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 18th August 2015 | Permalink

We’re expecting this offer to be popular so if you want to take advantage of this cracking deal then you’ll need to move quickly. We’re only running it until the end of August and then if you want printed USB gift boxes with your order after this date our usual charges will apply.

It’s not just “Free” printed magnetic boxes that are included in the offer. Order our popular Glide USB memory stick before then end of August 2015 and we’ll upgrade your order to our “rush” 5 day service, we’ll print them on both sides (for free) and if you need a bit of help with the artwork set-up we can do that to!

The only catch is that there is a minimum order of 25pcs but with prices for 4GB Glide USB sticks in the offer starting at £4.65 for 25 and dropping to £2.20 for 500 or more any order is hardly going to break the bank!

We always advocate buying your promotional USB sticks with gift boxes because they look much more professional supplied this way. If you don’t order gift boxes then we supply them in a thin polythene bag as standard but these bags are really just to protect the print on the sticks and make sure they don’t get scratched in transit.

The most popular USB Gift box we sell is the one included in this offer – the magnetic clasp box. These attractive boxes are strong, robust, they are easy to open and they stay firmly shut when closed by virtue of the integrated magnetic clasp.

Typically (and it’s the case with this offer) these magnetic clasp boxes are supplied with a custom foam insert that’s precision cut to match the shape of the USB flash drive that it’s used with. This not only helps with the overall presentation but also keeps the USB disks firmly in situ when they are transported or mailed out.

You could simply repeat the logo or design you’re having printed on the stick printed on to the top of the gift box or you might choose to use the larger print space available on the box to print a broader marketing message – there is NO charge for having a different image printed on the boxes!

The list price of our magnetic clasp boxes starts at 40p each (unprinted) so there’s a huge saving with this deal – whilst it lasts!

Free USB Gift Boxes

Free USB Gift Boxes Offer from USB2U



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


It’s F-F-F-Friday – Order your USB Sticks Today for Delivery Monday

Posted by USB2U on 17th April 2015 | Permalink

If you’ve been meaning to order some USB memory sticks with your logo printed on them this week but other things kept getting in the way then don’t despair because at USB2U we can turn around orders on the same day!

With thousands of blank USB memory sticks in stock (across a wide range of designs and colours) and our own in-house design and print teams we are one of the very few companies in Europe that can accept an order in the morning, proof it, print it and then dispatch it the very same day. So, as today is a Friday you could order your printed USB memory sticks this morning and have them delivered Monday morning (we could even get them to you for Saturday if you’re around to take delivery of them!)

You’ll pay a small premium for our “rush” service but if you really do need you sticks quickly then it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. By

getting your USB sticks designed and printed in the UK you de-risk everything. There will be no exposure to international shipping delays, no exposure to ordering from an overseas company only to find your money is taken and nothing turns up and of course by buying locally if things do go wrong (as they very occasionally do) then getting a resolution is much easier.

At USB2U we design and print tens of thousands of USB sticks in the UK every week. Over the last 4-5 years we have invested heavily in our in-house design and print capabilities and the response from our customers to the range of rush services we offer has been amazing. A significant number of the 5 star reviews we get on Trustpilot (a 3rd party review service) relate to “rush” orders and as much as anything its because customers are blown away by the quality of their orders, the service they get and the sheer speed at which we deliver their order.

What marks us out from our competitors is the range of stock we carry and can print. Lots of companies offer a standard black twister flash drive but these don’t always work with the logo being printed on them and they can to be candid look a bit bland and boring. We can typically offer at least 20 different designs and we also offer the option of printed boxes to go with them (all in the same timescales).

Have a great Friday and remember if you need your promotional USB memory sticks on Monday then give us a call.

USB Flash Drives in a Hurry

USB Flash Drives in a Hurry



10 Good Reasons Why You Should Buy Printed USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 16th April 2015 | Permalink

Despite the continued growth in use of cloud based data storage services you can’t escape the fact that USB memory sticks are everywhere these days. Long gone are the dominant days of the CD and DVD. USB memory sticks are now the most popular way to save, store and carry data files. They remain a key business tool for many and they continue to play an important role in the daily life of hundreds of thousands of students.

The rise to dominance has not been quick. The first commercially available memory sticks hit the market back in 2002 and the first generation used the original USB 1.0 standard, they had a typical storage capacity of 16MB and they were typically boring, rectangular “lumps” of plastic – the focus then was on functionality and not design.

Skip forward 13 years and today USB sticks (or flash drives as some people prefer to call them) have evolved into a much more sophisticated product that is available in thousands of different styles, designs, colours. More fundamentally they use the latest USB 3.0 standards, they are fast and by comparison to the first generation products they carry HUGE amounts of data – basic models now have storage capacities of 4GB or 8GB but 256GB are available.

In the midst of all of this development and market growth Memory sticks have also become incredibly popular promotional giveaways. Here are just a few reasons why:

1.     Brand development and brand exposure – Branded USB Memory sticks are a fantastic way to get your brand in front of an existing or potential customer. They’re a popular product and people just like being given them

2.     Content delivery – With the vast amounts of storage on offer they are a great way to deliver content. The data can be passive (PDF files for example) which the user would need to click on to view or interactive for a more immersive experience.

3.     Keepsakes – Branded USB Memory sticks make excellent ‘keepsakes’ and there is a high probability that users will save their own information onto them thus making them a valuable asset with high-perceived value.

4.     They’re pretty cheap to buy – The cost of flash memory (the heart of any USB stick onto which the data is saved) has fallen dramatically over the past few years. As a result USB memory sticks have become a more attractive promotional option for many. If you buy in bulk they’ll cost less than £2 per stick (printed and with data loaded)

5.     There are now thousands of designs and styles to choose from and if none of the “standard” shapes are suitable its relatively easy to get a fully customised (bespoke) solution, you just need to build in a couple of extra weeks into the lead time and be prepared to pay a little more for them.

6.     Fast delivery – delivery times are now as little as 24hrs, which includes the printing of a logo so if you are pushed for a branded solution/gift in a hurry they might be suitable.

7.     The minimum order quantity for fully printed/customised USB drives is only 25 pieces.

8.     CD / DVDs are now seen as old hat and are a technology that few companies now want to associate their brand with whereas USB memory sticks are seen a new, innovative, and to some degree “sexy” and are the “new kids on the block”

9.     The technology that USB memory sticks are built on is well established and is highly reliable.

10.  There are lots of suppliers of branded USB memory sticks in the market today so they are relatively easy to source and the increased competition has kept prices low and quality high.


USB2U - Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

USB2U – Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks


Tins aren’t what they used to be – Well at least not USB ones!

Posted by USB2U on 10th February 2015 | Permalink

There was a time when a presentation tin box for a promotional USB stick was a pretty bland affair but times they are a changing!

There are two main factors are at play here:

  1. More and more companies that buy USB memory sticks to give-away (for whatever reason) are understanding that you get a much more positive response if your package your sticks rather than just give them out without any thought about how they are presented. It’s pretty easy understand why this might be the case – after all how many of us hand over birthday presents or Christmas presents without 1st wrapping them up or at the very least putting some effort into their presentation. Gifts (even corporate promotional gifts) handed out in pretty/attractive packaging look better, they generate a better response and they provide another medium onto which to promote the companies brand.
  2. Print technology has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Today it’s relatively simple to print across the full surface area of the USB presentation tins and the price to do this has dropped markedly. The results, as you can see from the images below, are fantastic and really do lift the overall impact of a simple USB stick.
Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

So, if you are thinking of buying promotional USB flash drives anytime soon it is definitely worth chatting through the options for packaging and in particular our metal presentation tin gift boxes. Not only can we now print in full colour (with print bleed right to the edge of the lid) but we can custom cut the foam insert to match any model of drive.

Of course it’s not just tins we offer so if tins are not your thing but you want a gift box then check out the extensive range of options we offer on our website. Pretty much all of them are held in stock in our UK warehouse and most (including the tins) can be printed and delivered in as little as 24hrs (you’ll pay a little more in rush fees for any “rush service”).

Remember we offer free samples (not with your own logo on but samples of our tins and boxes) so if you’re not sure which works best for you just ask and we’ll pop a sample or two in the post.

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks


Our Printed Chic USB Flash Drives Can Be With You in 24hrs

Posted by USB2U on 13th October 2014 | Permalink

We understand that sometimes it’s just not possible to foresee that you’re going to need some printed USB flash drives. We know that things get missed off the “to-do” list. We know that other people you thought were taking care of the order for USB sticks can “forget” them and equally we know that other promotional USB flash drive suppliers can be too confident of their ability to deliver against very tight deadlines.

The typical lead-times that most supplies work to is around 5 – 10 days from final artwork approval (which in itself can add a day or two to the process and even them lots of suppliers won’t start working on your order until you’ve paid for them). This is usually fine in “normal” circumstances but if you need your flash drives in a hurry then it can be a challenge finding a local supplier that can help!

At USB2U we not only hold thousands of blank USB sticks in stock ready to be overprinted but we handle all of the printing, data-loading and QA checking in-house. In fact we hold so much stock in the UK that around 50% of all of our orders are now assembled, printed (or engraved) and data-loaded by us in Northampton. This means our customers get a super-fast turnaround on their orders and there is no risk of them getting “stuck in customs” or being delayed because of shipping issues.

In fact with a print and engraving capacity that exceeds 5,000 USB sticks per day we’re so confident in our ability to turn around orders quickly that we offer a 24hr”rush service”! Although we describe it as a 24hr service the reality is often quicker than this because we seem to get a lot of orders in the afternoon which are then printed and delivered before lunchtime the following day – so, in reality our 24hr service is quite often 20hrs or less!

Here’s what one customer had to say about our rush service and what it meant to them and their client last week:

Excellent service. Saved an important account (Philip Noons of JE Group)

We had an important client call us on Friday evening to get a USB order to them by 3:00PM on the following Monday. None of our other suppliers could help us. I emailed Natalie on Friday evening and spoke with her on the Monday. I had the artwork approved and the job turnaround by 1:00PM. A truly impressive level of service. My courier picked up the items and delivered them to our client’s exhibition in London by 2:30PM that day. Needless to say, our client (a highend retaill store) were extremely grateful. USB2U, thanks to their efforts, made us look good.

If you find yourself in need of promotional USB sticks in a hurry then there really is only one place to call!

At the moment we’ve got some special pricing on our Chic USB Sticks and yes, they can be with you (printed and data-loaded) tomorrow.

Promotional USB Sticks in 24hrs

Promotional USB Sticks in 24hrs from USB2U


Wooden USB Flash Drives should you Engrave or Print them

Posted by USB2U on 21st June 2013 | Permalink

Some of our most popular USB flash drives at the moment are our wooden versions. It’s not just professional and wedding photographers that are buying them either (although they do buy a significant number) but a growing number of large corporate companies that like the “eco-credentials” of the wooden and bamboo USB sticks we sell.

We have eight different wooden and bamboo styles to choose from and they typically come in dark and light wood options and of course they come in a wide range of memory sizes typically starting at 128MB and going all the way up to 32GB. The most popular models are our Woodland USB Flash Drive and our Wooden Twister USB Drive.



The Woodland version is rectangular, incredibly tactile and the cap is held in place with two small discrete magnets that are carefully recessed into the cap. The Twister version has no cap to lose, it’s a little smaller than the Woodland but it has equally strong eco-credentials and style.

The biggest decision facing anyone buy any of our wooden USB models is whether to get their logo printed onto the USB stick or engraved onto the USB stick – both options (as the images here illustrate) produce excellent results but they have their own benefits:

Woodland Engraved USB Sticks

Woodland Engraved USB Sticks

Engraving onto a wooden product somehow just seems the right thing to do, it seems more sympathetic to the core product and because no ink is being applied to the product it maintains the integrity of any “eco” message that you want to push.  You also get a very tactile finish and robust finish that isn’t going to chip or fade.

The compromise though is that no colours are involved when they are laser engraved – the image is created by cutting away at the surface of the wood and because of this you will get some variation across the USB sticks – this is simply because you’re dealing with a natural material with different grain effects and slight variations in colour. Arguably this adds to the appeal albeit some “brand managers” are put off by the absolute lack of control you get with engraving on wood.

If you want the benefits of a wooden promotional USB stick but you need your logo reproduced in full colour then you’ll need to opt for the printed option – the results can look striking and they’ll keep the brand police happy. The only compromise is that the print will eventually chip off unlike an engraved logo which is there to stay!

Whichever option you choose we can typically supply these from UK stock in as little as 24hrs! Call us for latest availability and prices.


Wedding Photographers Guide To Buying Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 6th March 2013 | Permalink

If you’re a professional wedding or portrait photographer and you’re thinking about moving away from CD and DVD’s in favour of engraved or printed USB memory sticks then there are some basic facts you need to be aware of before you make the move:

  1. The vast majority of companies in the UK that supply customised USB memory sticks that are typically supplying them to schools, universities and companies that are looking for cheap promotional giveaways. Often they are used as free giveaways at open days, seminars, conferences and tradeshows and as such price tends to be key determining factor when universities and companies are buying these USB sticks

    Because price is the driver performance is sacrificed so typical read/write speeds of a “standard” promotional USB memory sticks are at best around 2MB per second (write) and 6MB per second (read). Whilst this is “OK” if all you’re doing is loading up a couple of sales brochures onto the sticks but, if you’re a professional wedding photographer and you want to load lots of high quality images onto the sticks they are unlikely to be good enough for you.

  2. If you do decided to buy standard promotional USB memory sticks rather than high specification sticks that are recommended for professional photographers then you’ll 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 in your cameras with fast read/write speeds, or perhaps you use Firewire or Thunderbolt to move data around then by comparison a promotional USB memory stick is going to be painful in the extreme!

    For example mid-range SD or CF cards have a read/write speed of around 40MB per second which is 10 times the speed of standard promotional USB memory sticks.

  3. Top end, high performance USB 2.0 USB sticks from the likes of Kingston and Transcend will have read/writes speeds of around 20MB per second which is significantly faster than the promotional versions but these high performance USB sticks carry a hefty price tag and they can’t be printed or engraved with a logo – if you use them you’ll have to settle for a USB stick that carries the manufacturers brand rather than your own.
  4. Another option is to consider getting prices for USB 3.0 USB sticks. This is the very latest USB standard and USB 3.0 sticks are capable of read/write speeds of 50 – 100MB per second. This makes them incredibly quick but they are expensive and to get the speed benefits you need to use them with a PC or Mac that has USB 3.0 ports.  They will work on USB 2.0 PC’s but only at USB 2.0 speeds!

    But, if you buy USB 3.0 sticks and you have a Mac or PC that can support them you can dramatically reduce your own data-loading times and time is a precious commodity so it’s definitely something you should think about.

  5. A compromise that lots of professional photographers settle on is to opt for a upgraded USB 2.0 flash drives – some reputable USB suppliers will proactively suggest this if they know you are a photographer. Others won’t because they know the costs will be higher and they are therefore less likely to win your business.

    Upgraded USB 2.0 flash drives will use better quality components (faster flash memory, better controller chips and better capacitors) they’ll be a little more expensive but they’ll have better performance levels, they support more read/write cycles and they’ll have a longer life – effectively you’ll be getting something close to the high performance products sold by Kingston and Lacie but without paying their prices and with the flexibility to add your brand or logo to the sticks.

  6. Remember if you don’t ask for high performance or “upgraded” USB sticks then you will just get “standard” promotional USB flash drives which are fine but they’re going to be slow!
  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.
USB Memory Sticks For Wedding Photographers

USB Memory Sticks For Wedding Photographers



Professional Photographers – USB Lambs to the Slaughter

Posted by USB2U on 22nd January 2013 | Permalink

With more and more professional photographers taking the plunge and abandoning CD’s and DVD’s in favour of branded USB memory sticks the challenge for them is to make sure they get a product that is fit for purpose.

It’s far too simplistic to just take to the web, punch in the term “branded USB sticks” into a search engine, select a few suppliers, get quotes from them and go with the cheapest quote.

The problem with this approach is that the vast majority of printed (or engraved) USB stick suppliers are principally supplying products that are designed for the promotional sector – in other words whilst they may look great the core components of the USB sticks are usually towards the bottom end of the speed and reliability curve.

As a professional photographer when you’re looking to buy a PC or Mac you don’t just look at the outer case and make a buying decision based on how pretty it looks, you quite rightly want to know how much memory it’s got, how much RAM it has, what graphics card it has, whether it has a decent processor and what storage the HDD has.

When you’re buying printed USB sticks that will carry your brand on you need to adopt the same approach to buying them as you would to buying a new PC or Mac – don’t just think about the outer case (the outer shell of the USB stick), make sure the internal components are going to be up to the job.

Inside a USB stick are three key element; the flash memory, the controller chip and the capacitor. The quality and grade of all of these can vary. Some are branded (Hynix, Samsung, Toshiba) others are cheaper OEM products – these components will determine the read/write speed of the USB stick, the reliability of the USB stick and ultimately how long it will last (the number of read/write cycles it can support before it fails)

If you buy on price and price alone then typically you’ll end up with a USB stick that was designed to support the general promotional sector: OEM flash, OEM controller and cheap capacitor. Hopefully all Grade A, but often (despite promises to the contrary) they will be Grade B recycled components.

They’ll more often than not work and they’ll be fine for a few small PDF’s but put them under any pressure with lots of large image files or videos and you’ll soon notice that they start to fail at an alarming rate – tell tale signs are images that break up, images that have lines across them, videos that won’t load or run or images that look as though they saved OK but aren’t there when you re-insert the USB stick.

The only way to avoid these problems and is adopt the right mindset when you start the buying process:

  1. Don’t necessarily buy the cheapest USB sticks you can find. There’s normally a reason why they are so cheap.
  2. Buy from a local supplier that has a strong reputation (ask other photographers for their views and recommendations)
  3. Make sure you have guarantees for any purchase you make – 5 years should be the minimum.
  4. Try and get a clear statement about what memory and controller will be inside any USB drives you buy.
  5. Specify faster read/write speeds – promotional versions tend to have slow read/write speeds.
  6. Think about upgrading to USB 3.0 – this will guarantee you a high performance product but do expect to pay a higher price. Also bear in mind that most of your customers won’t have a PC that is USB 3.0 enabled so they won’t see any real performance improvements.

Do all of this whilst at the same time educating yourself about exactly what a USB stick is and you won’t become another photographer that has a difficult first foray into the USB market.

Wooden USB Memory Sticks

Wooden USB Memory Sticks