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Brand Big: Buying Pens with Your Logo

Pens are key branding tools that are traditionally used as office giveaways and at trade shows. Because they are so useful and cost-effective, pens are very popular promotional products. According to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), writing instruments such as pens, pencils, highlighters and markers are the most commonly owned promotional products. In fact, they are so popular that 54% of respondents reported to have owned them. While just about anyone could use a free pen, here are a few factors to consider when shopping for this type of giveaway:


Think about your audience when deciding on the color of both the ink and the pen itself. Certain industries prefer black ink while others might prefer blue. You might also want to consider using red ink for teachers, writers or proofreaders who may need to use the pens to make corrections, edits or notes that will stand out. The color of the outside of the pen is also important. You can choose the colors of your brand or choose based on the connotation of the color. For example, green often promotes an eco-friendly image.


Ink type is often a personal preference, so go with whatever type will suite your pen's overall message. For example, fountain pens are construed as fancier than ballpoint pens, so if you are trying to appeal to a sophisticated audience, choose fountain over ballpoint. In addition, fountain pens are refillable so your promotion will last a lot longer than traditional pens. On the other hand, ballpoint pens are the least expensive to produce, which means they can help keep your costs down and help you appeal to a wider demographic. Gel and rollerball pens are extremely popular among all age groups as well.


Promotional pens can be found with all different closing styles. Retractable (or click) pens are often popular because there is no cap to keep track of and they can be clicked open and closed quickly. Twist pens also don't have a cap to hold onto and are less likely to open on their own, but they are slower to open and close. Capped pens require the removal of the cap in order to use the pen.

It all depends on what your audience will be using your promotional pens for. Some people might appreciate the quick and easy style of a click pen while others might want the security of a capped or twist pen so that it is less likely to write on the inside of a pocket or purse. Think about how you want your recipients to use your pens before you decide on which style is best.


The material of your pen will play the most important role in determining the cost. Plastic is the least expensive, followed by metal and wood. Eco-friendly pens are made from recycled materials, materials that are found in nature like bamboo, or materials that can be recycled themselves. Again, think about your target audience. For example, if you are aiming at a more sophisticated clientele, consider metal or even wood pens. The look and feel is classier than a traditional plastic pen. Plastic pens are ideal for everyday use, while metal and wood pens may be seen as more of a novelty. If your target audience is environmentally aware, you may want to opt for a pen made from recycled composites or other eco-friendly materials.


Imprint styles vary by material. The most common options are as follows:

Screen Printing / Silk-Screening - This method involves the transfer of an image to the printed surface with ink that is pressed through a stenciled screen. A unique screen is created for each color, and they are pressed on separately. Screen printing (also known as silk-screening) works best on plastic or metal pens.

Laser Engraving - A controlled, intense beam of light is used in the laser engraving process to vaporize material on the pen in a permanent mark or your logo or message. Laser engraving is best to use on either metal or wood pens.

Pad Printing - Pad printing covers a recessed surface of your design with ink and then presses a pad against the recesses directly onto the product. This method is most commonly used on plastic promotional pens.


Cases are ideal for giving promotional pens as corporate gifts. They take a traditional giveaway to a whole new level. Choose to give your pens in a case or pouch for a more professional audience that will appreciate the sophistication of such an item.

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