A Complete Guide to Custom Pens
Some of the most intricate and artistic humans from da Vinci to Shakespeare couldn't have spoken their minds if it weren't for this impeccable invention, the Pen. But, pens have been evolving for quite some time, and we've come a long way from the 3000 BC Egyptian Reed pens to modern-day custom pens. So, if you're on a quest to gather some know-how on Logo pens look no further!
What is the history of Custom Pens?
The modern concept of “Ballpoint” and using ink to write on paper has been around since the 19th century. On 30 October 1888, John J. Loud was the first person to have a patent for a ballpoint pen. His intention was to create a pen that can be used on rough surfaces which wasn’t possible with fountain pens.
However, this pen wasn't up to par when it comes to letter writing. In fact, the manufacturers had to go through many issues including ballpoint not delivering the ink evenly, overflowing, clogging, etc. But, in the end, they managed to dwindle these ink-delivery and flowing problems with the help of piston, spring, capillary action, and gravity.
From bamboo-made pens to styli used on drawing tablets, pens have evolved creatively.
Initially, many businesses including hotels and banks use printed pens as a piece of advertisement as many people love and still need to keep a pen handy.
Today, a pen isn’t only an instrument that serves to enable writing, they have become collectors’ items and custom pens have evolved to become an essential promotional product for all businesses.
Which is the best type of printing for Logo Pens?
Full-Color Digital Printing
Full-color printing produces photographic-style images. Simply put, if you need your logo pen to be vivid in colors, or have a detailed logo with gradients then this method is your best bet.
This digital printing method follows a process of taking a digital image that is electronically stored and printing it onto media such as plastic, metal, wood, etc. It’s worth noting that digital printing presses are limited to CMYK plus white and sometimes a clear over coat, so they cannot provide and exact pantone color match, but generally the final outcome great and today Full Color Digital Printing is now more cost-effective than ever.
Custom Laser Engraving
The tricky thing about pens is, they are curvy so, the printing process is pretty complex. Since laser engraving doesn’t include any mechanical or chemical contact with the pen, this is a great to print small shapes and fine details in a logo. Your logo, name, or address, you name it, and they can be laser engraved on your custom pen. Unlike other printing techniques, custom laser engraving is permanent which won’t fade away after a frequent use.
Screen or Pad Printing
Screen printing and pad printing are among the most common methods for printing custom pens as they are highly cost effective. In pad printing, a metal tray (cliché) is etched with the custom design and then filled with ink. When a silicone pad is pressed against the design, ink is being transferred onto the pad and then the pad reapplies the ink design onto your pen. Each design needs separate clichés. The enables printing small logos or text on narrow or curved pens, pen clips and even pen plungers.
Screen printing, on the other hand, is done using a squeegee and the ink is pressed through a fine mesh etched with your design onto the pen. With screen printing, the entire Logo pen barrel can be customized.
What materials are best for printed pens?
Plastic is the most basic and common option when it comes to bulk printing. Custom plastic pens are pretty inexpensive and are regularly used for tradeshows and promotions.
If you’re concerned about the pen’s quality or durability and want a logo pen that acts as a keepsake, then metal pens are perfect. For instance, imagine you’re throwing a fundraising event. Custom pens that are made with metal would be ideal for you because they would feel luxurious as people write out their donation check and will be kept as a memento.
Compared to plastic custom pens, if you decide to put your logo or company name on a wooden pen, it will be 10 times more exquisite. However, craftsmanship plays a vital role in wooden pens. Wooden pens can be found in both inexpensive maple and alder or exotic wood such as Hawaiian Koa and Burls.
The Ink Types
Which ink types are available for custom pens?
Ball Point – fine or medium
Ballpoint ink is the go-to ink for many disposable pens. This oil-based ink can be used on most glossy surfaces and sometimes ink refills can even last up to 8000 meters of writing distances. However, its down sides include slow drying times, less smoothness when writing and less color spectrum.
Rollerball pens use a water-based “liquid ink” which makes them glide smoothly, writing with little pressure, and the ink produces some of the brightest colors. However, being water based they can bleed more easily or result in a feeling of runniness on paper. Additional, unlike ballpoints or pencils, rollerball ink doesn’t sit on top of a surface but spreads resulting in a wider line, hence it’s not generally suitable for glossy surfaces and can quickly sink into the writing surfaces. As a result, rollerball pens can wear out fast.
Gel logo pens are a popular choice and Gel ink is a type of rollerball ink that is gel-based. The ink is a solid that is activated by the force of the ball rolling over it and out onto the paper. Gel ink is primarily made of one or more pigments, water, and a thickening agent like Xanthan Gum. So, the ink won’t be washed out easily. The advantage of gel ink is it comes in more pigmented, metallic, and sparkly colors where other inks fail. However, the downside is the ink base can be up to 80% water, therefore the writing distance is a bit limited and can smear on receipts and other glossy papers.
Fountain ink is often vaguely defined as it can be anything from fluorescent, lubricated, quick-drying, comes in a bottle or cartridge, or it can be iron gall or water-based, etc. Overall, this ink is looser and more watery than all the other pen inks, hence the name “Fountain”. As a result, fountain ink is prone to splashing, forming droplets, and creating mishaps. If you choose a Fountain ink custom pen it is usually as a commemorative gift for a special signing like a IPO or Merger or Government declaration, they also make fine gifts for Corporate or Non-profit board members.
Markers are often categorized by their tip type or use. Oil and alcohol-based markers are usually named by use as either multi-surface marker, permanent marker, art marker, or paint marker. They their tips can range from fine for everyday writing and signatures to wide for identification and highlighting. While not as common in printed pens, marker classifications also include water based and art markers. More often, markers use ink that contains a carrier solvent, a glyceride, a pyrrolidone, a resin, and a colorant. This makes the ink water-resistant. With these markers, you can write on paper, metal, or stone and it will leave a permanent or semi-permanent “mark.” Our most popular logo marker and most recognized is the Sharpie ® brand.
The Action Types
What logo pen action types are common?
The cap-off design is one of the most common designs you’ll see on the market. This protective cap design’s hole is ideal for equalizing the pressure inside the pen to hinder it from leaking. The fun thing about this design is, you can have your own logo pen with a custom design on the cap as well. So, whenever someone takes off or puts the cap on, Voilà! Your design is visible.
Retractable pens have a spring-loaded ink cartridge that retracts and extends as you click downwards on the top of the pen. When the tip is extended, and locked in place, it’s ready to use.
When not in use, you can retract the pen tip and avoid it from drying. If you need your printed pen to be super handy, Retractable pens are the way to go, especially because there’s no cap involved.
In these pens, when you twist the grip, the ballpoint tip comes out. However, there are stoppers that make sure the pen isn’t twisted more than it needs to be. You can twist it in the other direction to close the tip. Unlike other pens, these custom pens are mostly made of metal.
What styles are most popular for printed pens?
Stick pens are the most basic pens out there. The reason is, they often don’t rely on any intricate internal mechanisms to function and feature a simple cap off. A popular upgrade is the retractable cap action. Same stick pen style, but a faster covering of the tip. These are most often ballpoint pens and as logo merch commonly found in hotel rooms and banks.
If you are after a logo pen that has an ergonomic grip, then grip pens will do the trick. These are coated with a rubbery material that will ensure you have a secure grip while writing. For a simple upgrade that adds tons of perceived value, a grip pen is a wise choice.
The stylus pen can be also considered as a passive/capacitive stylus that infuses a ballpoint or other ink pen into its design. Some pens have the stylus on the same side of the ink pen tip. This tip extends through a hole in the stylus. On other pens some styli are located on the opposite end of the barrel from the ink tip. The advantage of a passive/capacitive styli is that they can be used on any device that requires a finger touch. Combined with a pen it has the potential to be used twice as often versus a regular pen. That means up to 2X the brand exposure!
Ok. Really Stylus Tip pens are multi-function pens, but they are so popular they got their own vaulted status. Here, we discuss other multi-function pens which are extremely versatile too. These custom pens have the ability to switch between ink colors, pen to pencil, or pen to highlighter in a second. These instant switches can be made via a twist-action, a slider, or gravity depending on design.
The Bottom Line
What makes a printed pen a great gift?
A pen no longer is just a tool that supports mankind to speak our minds. They have become the perfect low-cost promotional product and advertising medium for millions of organizations. So, whether you are thinking of getting a recognition gift for staff or trying to shine a light on your brand with customers, consider uniquely customizing your own pen. Pens are used nearly every day by everyone providing brand visibility and practicality. From low cost to high end pens, at Zues Merch we offer a huge variety of printed pens that are sure to meet your needs and be kept for years to come.