An Inexpensive Promotional Tool
Personalizing a pencil can be an effective way to reward your students and promote your studio or special event. Additionally the pencils can be customized to make your design even more unique. There is more to designing a pencil than you might think.
First you have a generous array of pencil colors for the barrel to choose. Then the eraser can also become a design element. While the standard ruddy reddish eraser top is a standard default you can also consider a variety of neon colors, red, matt black, white, spiral black & white, custom designed insets that are molded into the eraser. A “heart” is my favorite but many other simple shapes are possible. Your next selection is the nib color. That’s the brass thing that holds the eraser to the wood pencil body. That baby can be shinny brass, silver, red, Black.
Don’t forget you can choose the lead hardness or softness. Actually what we refer to a lead pencil is really graphite & clay compound that is rated by three general characteristics, Hardness (H), Blackness (B) and Fine Point (F). The twenty point scale goes from the hardest (9H) to the softest (9B) with the American standard for general writing instruments being 2H. Who cares? While it usually doesn’t affect the product when you are in the custom pencil design game and you have a choice. Depending on the intended use of the pencil you can achieve quite a startling impact with the user.
The pencil body can be either round or hexagon. The more popular is round body but some users like the hex design that allows a more secure grip of the instrument.
Now we can get down to the promotional message of logo design. Usually the message starts near the top of the pencil (Near the nib) rather than the pencil center so as the pencil is ground down the message is retained for a longer period.
The impression can be made as a foil stamp or a silk screen application.
The foil stamp requires a small investment in a metal or composite die that can transfer the metallic foil imprint to the wood pencil body. The foil colors vary but gold and silver are the most favorite. The design must be simple and is usually limited to a type set of letters and/or numbers.
The silk screen application allows a greater degree of creativity and color options. Recent advances often allow the designer to use photographs that can be imprinted on a thin cover medium that is the “wrapped” on the pencil barrel. This process requires the customer to submit digital artwork that is separated by color to the processor. The more colors required significantly increases the set up costs and ultimately the cost of the product.
The cost of the product depends greatly on the quantity of the production run and the number of colors used in the design. Usually there is a design or art charge ($60-90/ hour), the set-up charge for production, a screen or die charge (depends on the colors required), the run charge / piece (depends on the order volume) and delivery charge Weight and distance). Production time can be as short as three days after art is approved (extra rush charges are incurred) but generally take 2- 3 weeks.
I have seen offers for custom pencils for as little as a dozen. These offers are not common nor are they profitable for the supplier to execute. Custom pencils are usually sold in gross quantities. (12 doz. = Gross). Most manufactures in the US require an order of ten gross pencils but five gross can sometimes be negotiated. Orders placed in China often require production orders of 50,000 pieces but can be 50% the cost of an American made product.
You can save money by being creative with the various design elements available in designing a customer pencil. Keep the imprint colors to a minimum if your order quantity is small and choose a typesetting option to avoid art and set –up charges. Custom pencils can cost $.20 – .50 each depending on your order size and choice of the creative elements discussed.