How Promotional Products Help Your Business

Giving Makes You More Likely to Receive

You’ve heard of the law of reciprocity. If you give your customers a little something, they’re more likely to give a little bit (or a lot) of business back to you! Whether a customer does business with you immediately or in the future, a promotional product is a great way to help customers resonate with your business. When they have you in their mind, the next time they need your product or service, they’re more likely to seek you out.

Free Stuff Draws Attention

Promotional products draw attention to your brand and your business. It’s undeniable that people LOVE free stuff! Free stuff is a must when your business goes to a trade show. Promotional products placed throughout a trade show is also a great way to draw attention to your booth, so that people will recognize your business when they reach it. Even giving away free stuff at the entryway of your business is a great way to being people into your business.

Promotional Products Stick as Advertisements

A TV ad runs for a few seconds, and unless it has a catchy jingle, it doesn’t really stick with people. Promotional products are a unique form of advertising that stay around for a long time. You may even use some promotional products in your own home each day. Promotional products are a unique form of advertising that can actually reach a target market for an unlimited amount of time. Promotional products all have one thing in common-they are useful. In traditional advertising, the number of impressions decrease once the ads stop running. This limitation doesn’t arise when it comes to advertising with promotional products since people actually use them.

Increase Brand Recognition

For consumers to achieve brand recognition it requires repeated exposure to the brand name along with the logo. It’s easier to remember something when you see it repetitively. The useful nature of promotional products allows for this recognition.

Pens Work For Your Business

Pens can travel really well. People still use pens to take notes and make lists. People also share their pens. This means your brand gets exposed to more and more people as a simple pen is passed around.

Promote Your Image

Using promotional items can help to build your brand awareness and also can help build your brand reputation. Whether you use promotional items to give to hard working employees or as a form of customer appreciation, your reach and image can only be improved through these gestures.

Promotional Products Aren’t Limited to Your Target Audience

Sometimes, our perfect customers are actually outside of our target audiences. This is when promotional products come in. Promotional items such as pens have no limitations. There’s no geographic limitations because they are easy to ship and can travel far and wide easily.

Get Free Exposure For Free Stuff

Due to the high exposure rates that promotional items allow for, your company will create a positive affiliation with many different organizations and individuals. Promotional products deliver brand recognition, which in turn creates sales. Promotional products help your business to be recommended more than you may realize.

Take Action

Does your company have a stash of promotional pens ready for your next trade show? Do you have promotional products readily available to give out to customers and prospective clients? If you have these on hand, you can be ready to take advantage of all of the benefits that promotional products can bring to your business. If not, you need to browse our Pen Factory site and discover the many different kinds of promotional products that your company can use to promote business far and wide.

The History of the Pen!

Writing instruments of some type have been used for thousands of years. Today, pens are among the most used of all writing instruments. Over 2 billion pens are manufactured in the United States every year. Did you know that there are 5 kinds of pens?

  • Ball point pens
  • Fountain pens
  • Rolling ball pens
  • Specialty pens

Each of these kinds of pens has an advantage for certain situations. It’s incredible that we have developed this many kinds of sticks that emit ink!


Ancient peoples used pens consisting of hollow straws or reeds that contained a short column of liquid. By about 500 B.C., people began to make pens from the feathers of birds such as geese and swans. The shaft of the feathers were hardened and the writing tip was shaped to make writing easier. These feather pens were known as quill pens and were used up until the development of steel pens in the 1800’s.

By the late 1800’s an early version of the fountain pen was perfected. This was a major improvement over previous pens as it featured a place for the ink to be stored and a feed to bring it to the tip. This was a major improvement since earlier pens could only hold a small amount of ink and needed to be repeatedly dipped in ink.

In 1883 an insurance salesman named L.E. Waterman found a way to perfect a writing instrument that he purchased. Salesmen at the time needed to carry around small containers of ink with them in their vest pockets. No pens had a control system for the flow of ink. Waterman designed a feed with a groove for air intake and three narrow slits in the bottom of the groove. As the mechanism was filled with air bubbles, they pressed against the ink barrel and ink went through the slits in an even flow to the point of the pen. A patent was immediately filed and granted. It was amazing that the excessive discharge of ink was limited. This design became the standard principle for all other makes of pens produced. The invention of a better pen was what led to Waterman’s own fortune. Once he began to advertise in 1885, the modern pen as we know it was born and became popular.

The Waterman company introduced a slot big enough for a coin could be used to compress the ink sac in 1913. Then, a lever was introduced which emptied or filled the sac of ink accordingly with a stroke of the pen. Changes since that time have been made to the pen merely in styling.

The First Ball Point Pens

The first ball point pen was born out of necessity when John. J. Loud of Weymouth Massachusetts created a pen to mark leather fabrics. His ideas did not take off, however. In fact, ball point pens received little notice until WWII. Pilots began using these pens since they did not leak at high altitudes. Following the war, ballpoint pens became increasingly popular. Soft tip pens and rolling ball pens were not introduced until the 1960’s. With new styles of pens being introduced, it caused a good form competition in the market of writing instruments.

It’s undeniable that pens are a part of our everyday lives. That’s why buying pens in bulk is great for events, fundraisers and gifts. Our selection of specialty pens here at Pen Factory won’t leave you disappointed. There’s something for everyone. Pens are some of the oldest materials that we still use every single day. That’s why pens make great promotional products for your business or organization. Check out all the great pens that we have on our site and become a part of history!

Five Fresh Ways To Use Dry Erase Boards + Markers

Dry erase boards and markers are a classic for a reason. Less messy than chalk (and without the potential for the dreaded “nails on a chalkboard” sound!), dry erase tools are always great for presentations. But if that’s the only time you’re using these tools, you’re missing out! Check out these tips for some inspiration.


Use whiteboard tiles to label food at potlucks or other events: Invest in a set of whiteboard tiles and markers for an easy labeling system with a neat, clean look. Beyond naming dishes, tiles make it easy to indicate dishes that may contain allergens like nuts or dairy. You can even add cute drawings as accents–check out this pin to see how!


Make a Dry Erase Clock: This inexpensive and easy craft project is great for time management and reinforcing routines. Add activities at their respective hours, reorganizing as needed! Here’s howFive Fresh Ways To Use Dry Erase Boards + Markers to make your own dry erase clock.


Dry Erase Week Day Planner: Regularly run out of room for writing down events on your paper planner? Check out this idea that doubles as decor: a weekday planner with a board for each day.


Label Leftovers: Often, tupperware is dry erase friendly. Test yours, then label away with name of the dish and date added to avoid uncertainty next time you’re looking for a quick meal to reheat.


Dry Erase Desk: A dry erase desk can be a fun kid’s toy, or an easy way to jot down notes and create to do lists while working. Here’s how to make your own–or transform an existing desk!


Psyched to put these ideas to the test? Check out’s selection of dry erase markers and other office promotional supplies.


Eight Great Ways to Use Sticky Notes

Sticky notes are a perennial favorite for organizing everywhere from the classroom to the boardroom. Check out these ideas for great ways to use sticky notes!


Positive Affirmations: Want to brighten someone’s day? Of course you do! Take a moment to jot down a kind message on a sticky note. Leave it at their workstation, on a favorite coffee mug, wherever!


Easy “Banner” For Birthdays or Anniversaries: Check out this adorable banner printed by sticking post its to printer paper! It’s an easy way to make wall art for any special occasion.Note to self-


Make a giant game of Tic Tac Toe: This one is perfect for car rides! Use a whiteboard, poster board, or even a piece of cardboard from a shipping box to draw out a Tic Tac Toe board. Draw Xs and Os on notes for reusable pieces.


Clean Your Keyboard: Sticky notes are actually perfect for scooping up debris between keys. Just slide a note through your keyboards nooks and crannies and dust, crumbs, etc. will stick to the adhesive!


Cute Pixel Art: Sticky notes make it easy to create cute pixel art that’s easy to clean up. Just check out these designs for inspiration!


Meal Planning: Making goods on a New Year’s Resolution, or just an organized eater? Sticky notes are great for meal planning that’s flexible–check out this meal planner to see how it’s done!


Goal List: Loving this design for a rotating goal list–shift goals around as priorities shift using sticky notes!


Label Cables + Cords: Ever tried to figure out just which charger you need to unplug from the outlet only to end up grabbing the wrong one? Avoid that scenario by labeling chargers, cables, etc. by wrapping sticky notes around the ends.



Ready to harness the productivity boosting power of sticky notes? Check out the great selection of sticky notepads and other business promotional items on!




The Surprising Truth About Colors And Branding

Color psychology is always a popular topic, perhaps because the idea that we can instantly switch moods or perceptions with a simple change of shades is so alluring. But the truth isn’t, well, black and white. Here’s what the research says-and how to use it in your branding!


Personal Preference Matters

When it comes to how we feel about different colors, we are somewhat influenced by cultural–and maybe evolutionary–factors. For example, people from all over the globe tend to like blue, which evolutionary psychology researchers have hypothesized may be because we associate the color with clear skies, and college students with more “school spirit” tend to prefer the colors of their school. But ultimately, our attitudes toward color are informed largely by our personal experiences, and can be changed by what we see linked to a given color–even if we’re predisposed to a certain color preference.


Color Appropriateness is KeyThe Surprising Truth

More important than the color itself is the perceived appropriateness of a color to a brand. So, even if a person’s professed favorite color is red, they made dislike, say, a day spa that uses primarily red in it’s branding. Even though they like the color, it’s not appropriate to the laid-back, relaxing vibes normally associated with a good spa.


Moral of the story? Go with colors based on the aspects of your brand’s personality you want to emphasize, not the perceived preferences of your target audience. But don’t forget…


Context Matters

There are broad stereotypes describing what different hues represent, but many are oversimplified. Green, for example, can represent stability and money, or it can reference environmentalist values. Make sure you are providing context cues to help make it clear how colors are meant to be interpreted, and use elements like shade and texture to help further clarify.
All this sound daunting? It shouldn’t–basically, what it means is that brands have a lot more freedom to pick and develop color palettes based on their unique values and image than oversimplifications–i.e. “pink is girly, blue is serious”–would have you believe. And when you’re ready, check out for a selection of quality business promotional products in colors, shapes, and styles to fit any brand!

5 Reasons You Need To Try A Stylus

One way to make your tablet or smartphone even more awesome? Try a stylus! Here’s why everyone should give the pen’s digital-friendly cousin a go:


Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Well–maybe not so much yet, for many of us experiencing unusually warm winters. But an El Nino Year means unpredictable weather, including likely snow storms and sudden plunges in temperature. Even in the most temperate of climates, overactive office AC, circulation or metabolism issues, or other factors can leave some with perennially chilly digits. There are touch-screen You need to try a stylus.Here's why.friendly gloves, but many find these lacking–particularly more budget friendly varieties. Enter the stylus–easy to use with any gloves you prefer.


Grime Happens

Even the most fastidious of hand-washers may notice smudges on their touch screens from the natural processes of skin turnover and oils. A stylus allows you to keep your screen clean–even if you’re enjoying a bagel and coffee while surfing the web. Want to be extra tidy? Check out this stylus combo!


Mani Friendly

Like the look of long nails, but don’t want to scratch your screen? A stylus gives you the option to keep your tips on trend, without threatening your tablet.


Big Mitts

Big hands–and big fingers–can make it challenging to operate a tablet, particularly when it comes to typing on that itty-bitty keyboard. A stylus grants precision to even the most generous of paws.


Handwriting is Good For Your Head–Get The Benefits While Staying Organized

Studies suggest writing longhand can aid in learning and memorization.Get the benefits while staying digital by taking notes on your tablet using a stylus.
Intrigued? Try a stylus yourself, and spread the love with customizable versions of the digital age classic! See our full collection here.

Colors Of The Year – And How To Work Them Into Your Branding

The experts have spoken. Here’s what we have to look forward to every year!

Rose Quartz+SerenityRose Quartz and Serenity mark an interesting shift in Pantone’s highly anticipated picks. In recent years, deeper colors–whether jewel tones, like Emerald, saturated brights, like Tangerine, or more earthy hues, like Marsala–reigned supreme. The airy, dreamy feel of Rose Quartz–a pale pinkish hue–and Serenity–a pale blue/periwinkle–stand in stark contrast to those darker shades. While some may miss the richness of colors past, others welcome the opportunity these colors present to experiment with a softer, more whimsical feel. Here’s how to use them without disrupting your established brand color scheme.


Market A Promotion Or New Service/Product Offering

You don’t necessarily want to go all in on trending colors, as they can become dated fast. The easiest way to play with the shades du jour is to use them in the marketing materials for a seasonal promotion. That way, you avoid the commitment of a long term color overhaul but are still able to capitalize on the fresh, on-trend feel of Rose Quartz and Serenity. You can also test them out–you may discover the new hues resonate with new demographics.  

These colors could also be used in the marketing materials for a new product launch or service offering. Just make sure they fit the thing being offered. Rose Quartz and Serenity bring an element of tranquility to colors schemes, and call to mind feelings of wellness, connectivity and balance–great for brands where people are looking for those things.


Mind The Complementary Shades

Pantone provides a host of suggested shades to pair with rose quartz and serenity. In their words, “the engaging combo joins easily with other mid-tones including greens and purples, rich browns, and all shades of yellow and pink. Add in silver or hot brights for more splash and sparkle.”

Look through the complementary colors to see which are similar to colors already being used in your brand’s color scheme–these will be the colors you can use to create a visual bridge between existing branding and new branding. Keep in mind that different combinations will produce different “moods.” This is especially important if you see multiple hues from your brand’s color scheme in the complementary colors. For example, if your current company color scheme includes a mid-dark gray like Volcanic Glass or Granite Gray, you could ostensibly go with scheme 1 or 4. 1 feels a little more grounded and conservative, which 4 is breezier, more light and cool.


Use Texture

Texture is another way to create a bridge between your established brand colors and trend colors–or, to differentiate a new set of branding materials if your brand colors already included Rose Quartz of Serenity. Texture can be things like the metallic sheen Apple often uses with it’s logo, the “homespun” look of Panera’s logo, etc. This is especially big when considering how to blend in with your digital marketing look–even though many big brands, like Netflix, have “flattened” their logos recently, lots of other successful startup/local businesses incorporate textured elements into the online materials to help them stand out, and to send cues to the viewer. There are some great examples from small brands here.


Get Your

Alright–so you know what you want to use Rose Quartz and Serenity to promote and how to do so while still preserving a visual link to your established brand colors. Now, it’s time to create your promotional materials! This means a landing page for the promo or new service, brochures or flyers, and promotional office supplies or other goodies. Let’s face it–most of us aren’t too excited to pick up a flier, and with all the infinite material online, it can be hard to land on just one site. Promotional items offer sometime tangible, something people will use. Each time they see or use it, they’re subconsciously building brand recognition–so next time they see an ad with that logo, those colors, they’ll likely be a little more attentive, even if they aren’t immediately sure why. Plus, these colors come with pre-made marketing–the colors of the year are announced everywhere, so people are more or less primed to be interested in these shades alone. The Razor Pastel Promotional Pen is a great item to start with. Get it in pink or blue, and have it emblazoned with the logo for your company, new launch, or promo.


Dry Drink Mixes: The Sweetest, Easiest Gift

Need a cute seasonal gift idea? Dry mixes are a classic for a reason–they look great, are easy to carry, and work for just about anyone. Make them even more special by serving in a personalized tumbler or travel mug. We suggest The Big Swig Travel Thermos – Translucent. Customize it with a special message, and the name of your family, team, charity, business–or whoever you represent as a gift giver. The Big Swig is a little more versatile than the iconic mason jar, and has that portability factor–which makes it super easy for recipients to take their treat on the road and spice up their commute!

Hot Chocolate

It’s a classic for a reason–and there are lots and lots of variations online. Here’s a basic version.

Mix the following ingredients in a separate container:

  • ½ cup powdered milk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅛ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • optional: a pinch of cayenne pepper

After mixing, pour into gift container. Then, top with layers of:

  • chocolate chips (try dark chocolate for a richer flavor, or milk chocolate for milder)
  • marshmallows (minis tend to work best)

For a grown-up twist, you could also tie on a small bottle of Baileys.


Spiced Cider

Dry Cider Mixes are a less conventional option–and one with a little more opportunity to add in pretty flourishes, like cinnamon cloves. You could also just use a pre-made mix, and use garnishes like cloves to “gussy it up,” then package in The Big Swig Travel Thermos – Translucent.


Spiced Coffee

Spiced Coffee is great for any caffeine fiends in your life. Basically, dry coffee mixes combine instant coffee with sweeteners, spices, and other ingredients that make it easy to create a delicious, invigorating drink with just hot water. We like this recipe, from Budget 101.

Again, you can also experiment with different variations (just make sure they’ve been tasted before gifting!) or just fill your thermos with single-use packets of gourmet instant coffee–the Huffington Post has a great roundup of these!

How Handwriting Benefits Your Brain – And How To Go Longhand In The Digital Age

In the era of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, writing by hand might seem to some an increasingly quaint pastime–and one perhaps doomed to die out. But writing by hand versus on a keyboard offers some intriguing brain-boosting perks, according to the latest  research.


Handwriting Aids In Effective Learning17641141_l

Neuroresearch suggests that writing by hand turns on a unique “switch” in our brains, one which allows us to learn more effectively. Collège de France psychologist  Stanislas Dehaene explains, “When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated. There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain…And it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize.” Studies using MRIs to track brain activity, such as the oft-quoted 2012 study by researchers at Indiana State,  back this idea of most effective, more sophisticated learning in children who are writing by hand. Another study, which tracked elementary school students over five years, found distinct learning patterns in students correlated to whether they used primarily print, cursive, or typing–and the students who wrote by hand were able to express more ideas more quickly than those who typed.  Yet another study found improved recall in students who took longhand notes vs. notes on a laptop. Some physicians have even hypothesized that writing by hand could be a way to help us stay sharp–preserving our memory, and allowing us to keep learning–as we age. Moral of the story? The evidence suggests writing by hand is the way to go when we want to learn.


Incorporating Longhand Into Daily Life

We used keyboards for a reason. Actually, for many reasons, a big one being that it allows us to share and organize our words more easily. Want to harness the power of longhand without falling behind? Here are some tips.

  • Try a scanner app. Scanner applications have come a long way in the past several years. Now, it’s easier than ever to quickly scan a note into your phone and share it. Cheaper than ever, too–whereas quality low-end traditional scanners run $70-$80, even really great apps max out at $5. Check out CNET’s recommendations for the best of the best.
  • Use a stylus. Get the feel and benefits of longhand while still writing directly into your smartphone or tablet with a stylus.

Make it a team effort. Get your whole office on board–sometimes, just knowing you’re doing something brain-building can make you feel smarter. Stock up on business promotional pens, styli, and notepads to make it simple for anyone to get involved.

Coping With Stress At The Office

Shorter days, bleaker weather, and bigger workloads can make the winter a stressful time. While lots of us have at home rituals to unwind, keeping it together at the office–while still maintaining a professional demeanor–can be tricky. Keep these tips in mind to help regain your cool in the workplace. Oh, and office managers? Check out the linked tools–they’re great, easy gifts to encourage your team through the season!21278692_l


Keep Up the Healthy Habits

‘Tis the season for heaps of baked good, sugary coffee, and boozy social events. That–plus the fact that many of us are spending more time indoors–means it’s easy to slip into comfortable but unhealthy lifestyles. Poor nutrition, plus the post-indulgence guilt many of us suffer, can lead to feeling pretty crummy and cranky. Make it a goal to go for regular walks throughout the workday, eat a healthy breakfast to avoid poor, cravings based decisions later in the day, and pack nutritious snacks–especially for days when you’ll be going to professional events after hours, which are rife with tempting treats in the form of hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Finally, stay hydrated! Dehydration can make us sluggish and hungry. Alcohol and all the extra coffee we tend to chug while burning the midnight oil can exacerbate dehydration. Keep a water bottle on your desk to remind yourself to drink up regularly. Try making hydration a team effort by organizing teams to commit to getting their daily recommended dose–a little competition can be motivating an a morale booster!


Reach Out

In the face of tons of deadlines, it’s tempting to go into isolation mode in an effort to focus. But too much isolation can quickly lead to depression and a warped perception of your workload. Make an effort to reach out and connect. Get lunch with a coworker at least once a week, and schedule time into your day to call or chat with a friend or family member.


Give Back

Sometimes, helping others can be the best way to help yourself. Remember: you’re not alone. Try doing something sweet, like leaving sticky notes with compliments on the desk of a colleague who you’d like to thank–whether it’s the HR manager who helped you tackle a change in health insurance plans, the IT guy who scored you a better monitor, or the cleaning person who’s dealt with your “too stressed to clear this desk” debris.


Keep Charms and Tokens

It’s nice to have some small, physical reminders around your work space that can keep you grounded. Put up some photos of fond memories, a bit of kitsch that makes you smile, or even just seasonal decor. A stress ball type object can be great way to bring yourself back to a calmer place when things get rocky.