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Firefox pencils!

I got this crazy idea to spread the word of Firefox by having some custom pencils with the Firefox logo made. I was inspired because where I work there was a severe shortage of pencils among the office supplies. And sure enough when they came in they got snatched up quickly! (The pencil sharpener was working overtime!)

The advantages I see of advertising Firefox with Pencils:

It's funny, in a way advertising a web browser with pencils is kind of ironic. Many people put stuff "on the web" to try and do away with paper and pencil.

So, how did I get these made?

There are a number of companies out there that will put any logo you want on a wide variety of items such as pens, pencils, and mugs. A few I found were: Inkhead.com, Discountmugs.com, branders.com, Promotional-pens.us, and Omegahtc.com.

First I modified the Firefox logo to a single color vector image using a program called Inkscape.  (no relation to Inkhead) Most of these branding companies request logo artwork to be submitted as encapsulated postscript (EPS) or similar final output format, so I exported the end result to EPS format.

The single color EPS file I used: ffpencil.eps

The original SVG file edited with Inkscape: ffpencil.svg

A PNG rendering of how the final result should look: (Print this PNG at one inch tall and wrap it around a pencil for the full effect)

Next, I ordered the pencils from Inkhead.

To start the ordering process I created an "account" with them on their web site. It's basically the same as signing up for a message board.

I ordered 500 "Thrifty Model" pencils (2 boxes). The unit price of the pencils was $50 for a box of 250 or $75 for two.

The custom art option adds a $20 art charge. - This is required for anything other than plain text with the fonts listed in their order form. If you re-use the exact same art file in future orders the charge is only 4.99.

When selecting the custom art option you can add comments about how you want the art file to be positioned or sized. By default they will size the art file to cover as much of the imprint area as possible and it will be centered toward the eraser end of the pencil. I specified "Size Reference: Text 'GetFirefox.com' should be ~3/4" to fit in imprint area. Position ~1/2" from eraser end. Print as White ink on blue pencil." The imprint area on the Thrifty Model pencils is 3/4 inches high and 4 inches wide, the circumference of the pencil itself is one inch.. Note that the imprint area size is different for other pencils and other products. The colors are selected on the order form but I included that in the comment just in case.

The final cost is base cost plus art charge plus shipping and handling.

The last step of the order process is uploading the art file.

Some time after I submitted the order they e-mailed a design proof (in PDF format) for approval. It showed a diagram of the pencil and the graphic as it would be fitted in the imprint area. To approve the proof I just replied to the e-mail indicating I approved.

Finally... wait for delivery. And when they arrive, party!

Comments and notes:

The official Firefox logo is supposed to appear in color or gray scale. I could not do that here. I hope Firefox fans will consider this single color logo decent enough. Close up this logo appears very sharp.

I ordered the pencils 4/11/07 and they arrived 4/25/07 -  Fairly speedy, and about a week earlier than the time estimation calendar on their site had indicated. But I am sure it is intended to overestimate.

The minimum required order was 250 pencils, but it is just a few bucks more and much more economical to get 500. The total cost for 500 pencils with custom art is around $100 depending on your shipping and handling. (Inkhead is based out of Winder, GA) For folks that don't want to spend that much money for that many pencils, consider splitting the purchase between four or five different people.

I had intended for there to be slightly less of a gap between the eraser end and the GetFirefox.com text, it looked about right on the proof. Still looks fine though.

Other colors such as red on a white background or white on a red background would be interesting, but I think the planet part of the logo would look out of place. Using nothing but the text "Firefox" in these cases I'm sure would look fine.

The blue base paint on a few of the pencils was kind of rough/bubbled instead of being perfectly flat. No big deal, it was just a small few, the rest were perfect.

The erasers on these pencils work great!

Two heaping boxes of Firefox pencils! (With a few already removed from the first box)

For size and color reference here they are next to Firefox CDs.

Firefox pencils: "take back the paper".

That is a lot of pencils!

Pencils! Pencils! The Pencils are here! Yay, pencils!

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