Promotional USB Memory Sticks – Engraving or Printing - Which is Better

Demand continues to grow from companies, schools and universities for promotional USB memory sticks. Most tend to be used to drives sales, to develop a brand or simply as a way to push out lots of information (by pre-loading the USB sticks before they are handed out).

A typical promotional USB memory sticks is printed or engraved with a logo, strapline, website address, most tend to have a memory capacity of between 1GB and 4GB and increasingly they are pre-loaded with data (sales material, press releases, product data sheets etc. before they are handed out).

There are lots of different styles and designs to choose from and they come in a range of different materials with plastic, wood (bamboo) and metal being the most popular. Some can be attached to a lanyard or keyring, others (like the USB credit cards) slip into a wallet and some are supplied in a presentation of gift box.

Engraved USB Memory Sticks Engraved USB Memory Sticks

The majority of the promotional USB sticks tend to be printed rather than engraved simply because printing is the preferred option of many of the supplier/manufacturers. Equally, many companies and schools buying the sticks want their logo’s and images presented as strongly as possible and ideally matching the pantones they use on other printed media. Printed flash drives done well can look strong, vibrant and eye catching and if they are being inserted into other printed media (brochures, direct mailers, press packs etc.) then a co-ordinated approach with consistent branding is likely to be important.

The only downside with printed USB flash drives is that over time the print will tend to scratch off. Printing onto metal, wood and leather can be challenging in the first place with specialist primers and treatments often needed to ensure a good adhesion is made. Even when these are used if the USB sticks are put onto a keyring the print is likely to come away simply because of the knocks and bumps they pick up in daily use. It’s the same if they are just tossed into a handbag of laptop bag, over time the print will scratch and once the surface tension on the print is broken the print can start to peel away.

Engraving on the other hand is, by its very nature, impervious to the bumps and bashes of everyday life. Engraving is particularly attractive on wood, metal and leather USB sticks where you can achieve an excellent contrast with the material that is being engraved. Arguably engraving (although lacking in colour) looks more professional and any engraved brand or logo will certainly outlast an equivalent printed logo.

Ultimately to engrave or print has as much to do with the personal preference of the person placing the order (or signing it off). On the right material and with the right artwork engraving can look stunning and the finished result won’t fade or chip away over time.

If you’re not sure whether to get your promotional USB memory sticks engraved or printed ask your supplier to send you samples of both – often it’s better to make a decision once you’ve seen and handled one.

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