Promotional Pen Design Metal Ballpoint Pen

5 Tips To Designing That Perfect Promotional Pen

The use of a pen as a promotional product giveaway is a classically successful marketing and branding tool.

A study conducted by the BPMA who surveyed close to 15,000 people who had received a promotional product for free within the previous year found that:

  • 66% of participants said they could recall the brand on the promotional product received with the past 12 months.
  • The ROI on promotional products delivered a better return on investment than radio and outdoor advertising, and is equal to TV and print due to the longevity and repeated brand marketing that promotional products provide.
  • 79% would be likely to do business with the company again.
  • Most participants (87%) kept a promotional item for longer than a year! 30% said they kept their promotional products for up to 4 years.
  • Over half (56%) said their impression of the company improved after receiving a branded item.

Business Collaboration

Since promotional pens can have a material impact on the sales and profits of your company, it is crucial that you get it right.

The key is to design the pens to reflect your brand identity, choose a pen that matches this brand identity, and ensure the right information or important messages are put on it, and in a way so that it stands out, is visible and clear.

That way, whether you use them as a standalone promotional giveaway, or in a package with other displays or products at an exhibition or trade show, you can be sure your investment provides the highest return possible.

Here are a few things you should always keep in mind in planning your next promotional pen.

1. Choose a Pen to Reflect Your Brand’s Identity

Always remember that any product used to promote your business is essentially a reflection of the ideologies that your brand stands for.

Whether it is an advertisement or promotional product, it should always be in sync with your brand’s unique selling point and its standing in the market.

For example, if you are portraying yourself as a serious corporate brand, you cannot use promotional pens with funny colours and designs. The gravity of your brand’s ideologies should be well reflected in the pen’s design.

Our very popular Madison range of pens, which comes in metal, plastic, matte and shiny finish varieties and in assorted colours, has a professional style and quality that would suit most companies.

Budget Metal Pen Madison P14On the other hand, if your brand image is saying that of a hip, fun tech company, then you can be more adventurous in selecting a pen.  Here, you may go for a pen style that stands out or use a softer colour pen.

For example, our stylus mop pen in the novelty range not only catches attention immediately, but is also functional – the stylus end can be used on iPhones, iPads and other touchscreens and tablets, and the mop actually can clean the screen.

Check out our range of Novelty Pens.

The above are just two examples of syncing your promotional giveaways with your brand image.

2. How Much Should I Print on the Pen?

When printing on the limited space that a promotional pen offers, there could be an urge to put as much information as possible on it.  And logically it is correct.  Put in a logo, company name, website, phone number, even a personal name!  While we’re at it, why not put an email address as well?

While that is an extreme example, extra information isn’t necessarily all bad.

And nor is minimalism.

What you need is context.

Sometimes, ideas and beliefs your company stand for requires minimalism.  In this case, your personalised pen design should also be minimalistic with just the important details like company name and logo.

This is especially true if you already spend a lot of marketing dollars to promote your brand, and you are well-known within the customers that you are targeting.  Examples include a prominent university, a global Fortune 500 company, or a big 4 accounting firm.  You won’t need additional details like website and contact number.  You can be recalled and found easily.

University of NSW Pen - Branded Pen

On the other hand, if you are a small business or a sole proprietor in a competitive industry, eg electrician, wedding planner, or a local services firm, then it may be advisable that you keep it simple in terms of design.  But you may need more information on the pens, including company name and logo, and a combination of your preferred means on contact which can be a telephone number, email or a website if you would like to drive prospects there to see your service/product offerings.

Pride Electrical Branded Pen

If you offer a wide range of products and services, or if there is a strong message you want to send together with your pen that cannot fit within the standard print areas of a pen, you can consider a banner pen.

Yellow-Pages- Banner-Pen

If you stand for creativity and extravagance, then get a pen design that is just as grand as your company’s beliefs.  Your imagination is the limit.

No matter what, make sure that your pen design is a subtle reflection of your brand. That way, you will be able to communicate with your audience correctly.

3. Ensure Your Corporate Name and Logo is Clear and Visible

Now that we’ve chosen a pen to match your brand identity, and figured out what to put on it, the next step is to ensure what you want to print on the pens are clear and visible.

As a leading promotional pens provider in Australia since 1985, we can say for certain that as simple and logical as this seems, it is still sometimes not done properly.

The goal of a custom pen is to promote the business, not just provide information.  That is why that while a unique and creative design is beneficial, nothing is more important than highlighting what you want to highlight in the right way.

Here’s a quick checklist below:

All the text and logo you want to carry on the pen should have the appropriate placement.

The places you can print on the pens are its barrels (in 1 or 2 positions, ie front and back) and sometimes on the clip.

The Anatomy of a Pen

Printing can be in 1 colour to full colour, typically using a pad printing process or a digital print, and metal pens can be laser engraved.

1 Colour vs Full Colour Pen

The typical printing dimension on a normal diameter pen is 50 mm X 6 mm, and on a clip if available maybe just 20mm X 4 mm or less.

While we don’t usually recommend filling up the barrel print area in full, it may be necessary if you have a lot of text, and those text are warranted due to your business requirements.

The minimum font size we recommend is 5PT, and the ideal font size is 8PT or more.  When you order your promotional pens with About Pens, we will always provide you with a FREE mock up of what your pen would look like before we go into production.

Click to view sample artwork proof

Remember, send in your text, and corporate logos in EPS/PDF formats, and also you may specify a particular font type.  Our in-house designer will have this proof turned around in no time, so you can be sure your print on the pen will be correct every time.

The other issue relates to choosing compatible pen/print colours.  This sometimes gets overlooked.

For compatible colours, we mean don’t print in cyan on a blue barrel pen.  Or white on a silver pen, mostly.

While you don’t necessarily need a black print on a white or silver, it is ideal that your barrel and print colours contrast.  When you order a printed personalised pen on our website, you can provide a colour to print eg red, blue, green, that matches the logo colour of your brand, or you can specify a PMS colour.  We provide a PMS chart here.

And if you are ordering in bulk, say over 5,000 pens, we have an indent manufacturing process that allows us to custom manufacture a pen with your specified PMS colour, either on the barrel or on the grip at more affordable prices. Click here for more information about our Indent Pen Service.

Read Enough?  Take me to the Pen Categories Page to start ORDERING NOW!

4. What If the Pens Are For A Special Event Only

Many companies distribute personalised pens as a part of a special event or at an exhibition. Sometimes, the pens are printed specifically for that conference or wedding.

Wedding Pen

This is an amazing idea to go about designing a pen, especially if you are the host of the event at hand. If your prospects enjoyed the event, or the event itself is a memorable occasion for your prospect, the availability of such pens increases their chances of getting in touch with you.

When you decide what to print on an event pen, make sure that your primary focus is still your company (and the contact details if necessary). Just writing the event name is not enough, unless it is for an event where it would be impolite to put your company details on.

5. Designing the pen as part of a suite of products with a brand guideline

The audiences in today’s market are exposed to a good number of promotional products. While the promotional pen is the staple and an evergreen item with promotional products, many companies do provide other promotional products.

Remember to design your promotional pens in accordance to the brand guidelines used for other promotional products.  And vice versa, the 4 tips listed above are effectively for the design of other promotional products.


The bottom line is that you can have as many variations and inputs in your promotional pen design as you want to.

Just make sure that you have the primary purpose of these pens bold and clear in your mind – to promote your business. And follow the checklist above, and you’re on you way!

We hope you’ve found this article helpful.  If you need us to help you find that perfect pen or have further questions, don’t hesitate to talk with our friendly staff by either calling us on our toll-free number 1800 008 466, filling out the enquiry form or emailing the [email protected].

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Many other promotional suppliers display prices without the extra add-on costs:

  • setup costs (up to $85),
  • extra for logo or second line of text,
  • freight & GST.

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All your costs upfront!
All-inclusive per unit pricing including Setup, Printing, Freight & GST. 

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