It's crazy how much our reality has changed over the last few years: faster internet connections, higher or even unlimited data caps (at least in Canada) combined with most of our lives moving to the digital realm...all these factors have contributed to less and less reliance on physical media. In fact I have trouble remembering when I sent files to a client through anything other than WeTransfer, Mail Drop, Box or similar services. Well apart from prints obviously, but those have also become few and far between and focused on extremely specific projects (art installations, decor etc).
Still, there are times when it's nice to provide files on something more tangible. In these cases, Flash drives have of course replaced the CD/DVDs of old—and thank god for that. I have very few fond memories of burning discs, printing labels...dealing with corrupted CDs...what a pain those were to deal with. And you were never sure if they'd be reliable in the end either.
Flash drives are small and ubiquitous. The fact that they'll most likely be re-used by clients means they also provide a great opportunity for branding and mindshare. Win-win, basically.
A couple of months ago I received an email from a company called USB Memory Direct, offering me samples of their custom Flash drives. I get quite a few offers like these to be honest and I usually end up just moving on...but the tone of the message didn't feel like the typical SEO/Spammy/upsell BS. It felt genuine. So I checked them out, liked what I saw and got in touch with them.
I decided to go with the wooden Tower drives in walnut. The ordering process was painless: I sent in my logo and the text I wanted on the flip side, received a sample image within minutes, tweaked placement over email a few times (I'm a bit nuts for details) and that was it. Ten days later the drives were here.
Each Flash drive comes with it's own cellophane bag, ready to be sealed. Like candy. The cap is also magnetized (those two dots on either side); a nice touch that closes the drive with a very satisfying snap. Hey, it's the little things...
In terms of specs: the samples I received were 8GB but I believe they're available at up to 64GB. Like most USB sticks they come formatted for PC but that's trivial to change if needed (OS X mounted the drives just fine). Prices vary depending on quantity and model but these are US $8.90 each, including custom engraving on both sides. Minimum quantity is 25.
I just did a job for a pretty big commercial client and thought for sure I'd get to use one or two of these for final delivery. Alas, they were just fine with an FTP upload. Oh well. I'm still glad I have them and I'm sure they'll come in handy at some point. Many thanks to Hector at USB Memory Direct for sending these in.
I wonder if they taste like chocolate...