Green is the New Black
We’re big fans of making an eco-logical statement. Choosing an eco-friendly option for your promotional products thrusts your brand into the 21st century. In branding terms, if you’re trying to connect with consumers and show them a human face and a set of ethics and values they can buy into, there are few better ways to project that. We’ve put together a quick primer on some of the environmentally-aware options in our range, from basic and bright to rare and refined.
For a lot of people who are perhaps less inclined to prioritise the environment, it can be, well, annoying when they get bombarded by the green brigade, so to speak. This handy two-for-one ballpoint pen and fine-tipped highlighter (available in a range of vibrant colours) is a minimalistic, down-to-earth way of bringing environmental consciousness into the office or into someone’s everyday routine. Consider making this one of your promotional regulars.
What better way to associate yourself with a sustainable environmental strategy than with this almost entirely recycled pen, pencil and sharpener set? This simple promo collection, with its ultra-slim stationery, is housed in a streamlined, compact case that makes taking these office essentials anywhere just too easy. Help your client
s stay organised with a little bit of sustainable order amidst all the workplace clutter.
Just in case any of you were worrying that recycled pens are regular, everyday sorts of promo products, here’s a set to prove that environmentally-friendly can be anything you want. As the name would suggest, this set comes presented in a beautiful bamboo box that will look at home on any client’s or staff member’s desk, from sales assistant to CEO. The pens themselves mirror classic corporate pen designs with a polished chrome brass trims and metal clips that complement the bamboo barrels. This set is the height of environmental elegance.
Having to go eco-friendly doesn’t mean compromising on the image and associations you’ve built up for your brand over time, no matter if that’s affordable and everyday or corporate class. And in this day and age, it’s essential that a forward-thinking and sustainable attitude becomes a part of any brand’s identity.
Some Famous Pens from History (and One from Today)
As the adage goes, the pen is mightier…you know the rest. Throughout history, some of the great deeds of humankind have been done with ink and paper. And it’s remarkable how many of history’s great names prided themselves on dedication to the pen that became a symbol of their work to them and to others. Here are three of the 20th century’s most notable names and the pens they carried with them…and perhaps today’s most notable name of all.
Queen Elizabeth II and her Parker 51
Ever since her coronation 63 years ago, in 1953, the big cheese at Buckingham Palace has stuck with her trusty Parker 51 fountain pen. It’s actually claimed by many sources that this is the very same pen that was presented to her on that day. Whether or not this is true (and the 51 is a model of pen regularly reported by users to last them several decades), there’s really something to be said for the brand loyalty that Liz has maintained from the time she was 26 years old all the way to 2016, when she will turn 90. You might say the durability of the pen matches the legacy of the longest-reigning monarch in Britain’s 1000-year history, and that its understated elegance has kept her dignified company through decades in which she’s seen just about everything there is to see.
James Bond Author Ian Fleming and Gold-Topped Bic Biro
It’s well-known that Ian Fleming’s time operating in espionage during WWII inspired him to create superspy/ladies’ man/gadget freak James Bond, one of the most beloved literary and cinematic characters of the last 60-odd years. His time being trained in the Allies’ secret Camp X brought him into contact with several high-tech gadgets of the time, including a standard-issue pen that released poison gas with a particular combination of clicks (see a picture below). It seems strange that an item of stationery could be such an inspiration, but the tools of the trade that Bond and his enemies regularly produce from seemingly ordinary items have been staples of the series since its inception.
As for his own pen? Mr. Fleming later had his famous Bic topped with actual gold, so precious was it to the author. Our guess is that this probably inspired one of the most famous Bond villains of all, the Man with the Golden Gun (or, you know, pen).
Albert Einstein and his Waterman and his Pelikan (no, not that kind of pelican)
The Waterman fountain pen in the picture below, with which Einstein wrote the famous theories that transformed the world of physics – and, frankly, transformed the world – is today on display at a museum in the Netherlands. Arguably the single most influential writing instrument of the entire 20th century, it’s quite surreal to imagine that with every drop of ink the young patent clerk changed the course of history. Of course, many people didn’t readily adopt his ideas, but we reckon with his trusty pen beside him, he didn’t mind. Okay, he probably did mind but he had a great pen.
Barack Obama Rollin’ with his Rollerball
In case it seemed like it was only fountain pens that were a big part of history, Barack Obama has bucked that trend with a black and silver-trim Cross Townsend rollerball that he’s sported since his days a junior senator. Signing universal healthcare into action, check. Crossing Bin Laden off the hit list, check. Putting his name on a marriage certificate to all-round badass future-first-lady Michelle, check. Prez, we salute you.
A Brief History of the Mighty Pen
We know pens. And promotions. Promotions and pens, that’s what you always know you’ll get at Printed Pens. Oh, and printing (didn’t really think we needed to put that in there but, hey, we’re always on about clarity and communication). Pens have our business for some years now, so we know our stuff. People love receiving them as gifts and they love giving them out as branded giveaways.
How is it that that these little branded beauties have come to be so much a part of our everyday lives? How exactly have pens evolved to be what they are today?
If the words ‘history lesson’ bore you, bear with us, there’s a point to all of this. So, here’s a quick run through of a few millennia of innovation in writing.
Humble Beginnings, from the Stylus…
Around about six thousand years ago (we’re not sure, this is before calendars, people) those clever clogs the Babylonians began writing symbols and detailing pictures with rudimentary sticks. History (thanks to the Romans) has come to call this first writing instrument the ‘stylus’, the original pen. Scratching the surface of moist blocks of clay, this was the beginning of written civilization. Old Testament? Harry Potter? 50 Shades of Grey? Thank the Babylonians, mate.
A few hundred years later (or, by some estimates, as many as a thousand years later – you weren’t around, it doesn’t matter) the Egyptians went one step further. Along with the invention of papyrus, where we get the word ‘paper’ from, these brainiacs would whittle reeds from the Nile down to brushes with finer points, with which they would then be able to draw their more detailed hieroglyphics. Already the first piece of pen engineering (or ‘pengineering’ as we like to say) had taken the world by storm.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us*:
*(apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system, public health and the aqueduct)?
More than 1500 years later, once parchment and animal skin had replaced papyrus, the Romans began using a stylus of their own (stylus being the Latin word for pen), an ivory ‘pen’ they used to write in blobs of hot wax spread over wooden tablets. If any of you have ever scrawled messages into hot wax (for whatever reason, we don’t judge), you’ll know this just isn’t an efficient system.
And so, another 1500 or so years later, in about the year 5, the first quill was dreamt up by taking the flight feathers from geese, owls and hawks (we’re hoping they didn’t mind) and hardening them in burning-hot sand. Then the tips were sharpened and split, giving history the first really advanced writing instrument. A few decades later these became even more advanced with a shaped copper nib attached to a separate handle, although the quill remained the preferred instrument until the 19th century.
Fountains and Balls
Although there are records of an Egyptian Caliph possessing a pen that held a reservoir of ink inside it as early as 953, there are no explanations of this mechanism, and the modern patent of the fountain pen came from the French government in 1827. Fountain pens grew in popularity over the next thirty years due to the fact that they didn’t need to constantly be dipped in ink, storing reserves of it inside the handle.
But in 1940 Laszlo Biro (Biro, get it?), a Hungarian Jew who had fled Nazi Germany, filed the patent for the first popular rollerball pen, which used a combination of gravity and a constantly rolling tip in the shape of a ball to write even more consistently than the fountain pen, which quickly became a luxury item as the rollerball took over.
So where are We Now?
Today, handwriting isn’t as common as it used to be, given that most of what we do day-to-day is typed on a computer or a tablet. But with the digital revolution has come a new set of pens that can draw or write and be converted to a digital image (as long as you write neatly).
And even more recently, the popular way to make sure your dirty, greasy fingers don’t mess up your smartphone’s beautiful screen (not yours, just, like, anyone’s okay?) is with a new, rubber-tipped instrument we call…the stylus.
So what was the point of this lesson? Just to remind everyone that when you hold that pen in your hand, you hold 6000 years of human innovation with which to make your mark on the world. Make it well. A pen can, and has, changed the world many times over.
Get Ready, Get a Branded Pen Set, Go!
Promotional pens will always be the most effective and functional branded gift to communicate a strong, simple message about your brand and the identity behind it. More and more, however, consumers are looking for versatility and efficiency in their workplace promos and, for you, that means the opportunity to give two or three branded gifts in one. So we’ve put together a quick list of some of the pen sets on offer at Printed Pens that should prove that whether your business is energetic and everyday or exclusive and executive (or anything in between), you can match it up with its perfect pen partner.
P-Pod Pen & Pencil Set
Let’s start with something fun-loving and affordable. If your brand is about bringing cheer into the workplace, you and this set will be like, well, two peas in a pod. A good quality frosted plastic tube pops open to reveal a matching transparent pen and pencil set with rubber grips that make constant, everyday use a pleasure, not a pain.
Taking things up a notch, this is a pen set perfectly adaptable to whatever your brand identity. A classic design of pen and presentation box gives it a business-like feel to promote professionalism. But at the same time, availability in a wide range of colours, from muted silver and royal blue to bright and bubbly yellow, pink or red brings a strong element of exuberant fun to the mix. Promo products like this that can match any colour scheme or brand don’t come along every day.
Mark Twain Writing Set St. Petersburg
We end off by stepping up to a whole other level of quality. One of the most renowned writers in literary history, Mark Twain, famously used the very same pen throughout his working life. That pen brought his imagination to life in works like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, indelibly marking our collective imaginations forever more. That tradition comes back to life with this luxurious three-piece metal pen set, comprised of gorgeous fountain, rollerball and ballpoint instruments housed in a sleek, black leatherette case. Tie your brand to the finest in corporate stationery by settling for nothing less than the best with this set, which will give you or your clients a taste of some executive promotional penmanship to go and make a mark on the world.
The Stylus: a Pen for the 21st Century
People just don’t write as much as they used to and it’s pretty easy, in the age of email, Facebook and cyberspace, to understand why. For the time being, though, the promo pen is still top of the promotional pyramid. Maybe this is because pens happen to be the most adaptable products on the market. Just look at the stylus.
Just when it starts to seem like we’re getting to the day there’s no need to carry one around with you everywhere, the stylus brings smartphone and tablet functionality to an age-old staple. Here’s a quick rundown of just 3 of the pen/stylus combinations we have at Printed Pens. This is the branded gift that says classic and modern all at once.
Every line of pens has its classic design, and for our stylus range, this is it. A simple black and silver-trim design with a silent twist-action mechanism projects elegance as a pen and projects an effortlessness as a stylus combo. If understated and classic is your brand’s style, we recommend this both as a branded tool to hold onto yourself and as a stylish promotional gift.
If the first design wasn’t versatile enough for you, don’t worry. We can go one better. This pen is a little bigger and bolder but still comes in classic corporate black and solid white variations. If the message you want to send is that your brand is ready for anything, this is the 3-in-1 answer. A traditional businessperson’s ballpoint pen, a stylus at the other end, and inside a 4GB USB drive waiting to pop out and wow everyone. Simply clip out the upper half of this beauty and plug in. And, when you’re done, tuck it right back in and take it everywhere you go.
This list wouldn’t be complete without an option for the eco-friendly consumer amongst you. The Eco-Scribe shares its aluminium clip and trim with a beautiful bamboo barrel that provides space for your brand in 3-colour pad print glory. Technology is moving towards a sustainable future and so should you and your brand. This is the stylus to take you there.
USB Pens to (Flash-)Drive your Brand
Another 21st-century option for those of you that still like to promote your brands with the most powerful promo product there is – the pen. A good USB pen complements any up-to-the-minute businessperson. These pens, apart from sending a clear, economical message of compact functionality, tell a story of a brand that evolves with the world around it. Pens with hidden flash drives have been one of our most popular Printed Pens products for a few years now and they’re only getting more so. In fact, the best thing we can say is this: we like to use this as our promotional gift of choice ourselves a lot of the time.
Striker Memory Stick Pen
Let’s start with the simplest piece of innovation we have, a light and everyday pen that hides a 4GB flash at the top. This design, with the USB hidden in the on and off click mechanism, seems tailor made for those of you with a bit of pizzazz that like to look unsuspecting while being ready to click into action when the moment comes.
3-in-1 USB Laser Pen
We love a good twofer at Printed Pens. And, if we can get our paws on one, we love a good threefer even more. This is a pen that is perfect for (and we mean this) just about any situation the modern professional might find him or herself in. Black ballpoint for the day-in, day-out stuff, USB drive for the digital grind and a laser pointer for the perfect presentation. What more could you want from your stationery?
Stylo 3-in-1 Memory Stick Pen
Turning on the style (or should we say the stylus #sorrynotsorry) once again, let us present the pride of our USB range. A simple design that appears to be an ordinary sort of instrument, this is a great promo gift to remind people never to underestimate your business and your brand. Click open the middle of it for a compact stylus and clients and customers will be impressed. Click open the top for an increased capacity (8GB) thumb drive and we’re willing to bet the room is yours.
A brand is a story. It introduces us to people, places, ideasand new ways of living. We’ve got years of experience in helping clients tell their stories in a unique way that helps take their businesses further. And of all the promotional tools available, we’ve found that the best way to start creating a great story is to pick up a pen. Printed pens are still the simplest, most functional way to leave your logo and your name in a client’s hand and stay on their minds.
So what should you be looking for in a pen? We’ve put together a helpful list of some of the first things to think about when searching for the perfect pen to carry your logo.
When you’re out buying clothes, you don’t just see something nice and take it home. You try it on first and a pen is no different. There is just no replacement for coming in to see us and pick up that pen yourself. It’s important to find a design that communicates the right message and feels just right in hand. Sleek and streamlined or big and cheerful, we’re here to help put the ideal pen at your fingertips.
It’s not enough to find a product that you like the look of. Part of the challenge is matching it with your logo to create a complete design that feels fully formed and looks the part. Branding is a world of first impressions and when you only get one chance there is no substitute for the right combination of product and promotion.
So your pen looks good and feels good but what does it feel like to write with? The major benefit of a printed pen is that it’s effectively a business card that can be used. So take the time to make sure that you’ve given your clients something worth using. Consider how the pen feels as it writes and how it might feel to use it extensively or on a variety of documents. Yet another reason to come in and see us and our collection in person.
Who is this pen for? None of the first three steps matters if you don’t have a clear idea of whose hand you’re going to be putting this pen into. Are you out to make a statement when people see you using your company pen in public or is it a calling card you plan to get out to everyone in town? Each pen is perfect for someone, it’s just a matter of tailoring your choice to the situation and the target.
If you’ve taken time with the first four steps on this list, then number five should be more of a natural step than anything else. Like a signature, the choice you make with the match of brand and product will reflect you and your brand in the best possible light.
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