Ponoko Is Hiring A Production Manager

A 32-Hour Work Week Role, With The Ability To Go Full Time As Needed

Ponoko provides an online laser cutting & engraving service to turn your designs into custom made products faster and at less cost than ever before.

Instant online quoting and no order minimums mean our customers can go from idea to finished product as fast as next day. We think that’s pretty amazing.

At our Oakland factory of the future, our Production Manager delivers that amazing experience to our customers.

ABOUT YOU

* You believe what we believe . . . That mass production is going digital.

* You value what we value.

* You have a deep desire to help makers create their own custom products. This will make it easy for you to smile, persevere and shine through the ups and downs our customers experience on their personal creative journeys, and the ups and downs we experience on ours.

You are:

* Passionate about quality, and it shows in your work.

* Experienced working with laser cutters for at least one year in a production facility, nailing quality and speed.

* Experienced with vector design software, specifically Adobe Illustrator.

* Familiar with the properties of the materials in our catalog.

* Someone who works harmoniously with your team members to delight customers.

* Cool under extreme pressure, and you radiate this with your team members and suppliers.

* A happy soul. Who communicates well (including online with our global team).

* Proactive. Detailed. Process driven. *All three.*

* Someone who likes to lead, and enjoys working independently.

* Effective at multi ­tasking and prioritizing the daily rush of tasks that come in an evolving company.

* Someone who understands you get out of life what you put into it. And to change the world this means stepping forward and grabbing at responsibility.

ABOUT THE ROLE

You’ll be our part time Production Manager (32 hours per week, with the ability to go to 40-48 hours per week as needed). You’ll be the trusted maker of our customer’s product designs. You’ll enable us to deliver on time as our customer demand is growing.

Your typical day includes the following:

* Achieving 3 key goals – quality, speed & productivity of your making service. Measured and reported weekly.

* Managing our online customer order queue, and laser cutting our customer’s orders.

* Managing our materials stock so we do not run out. And communicating with our materials suppliers as needed.

* Working with our Shipping & Materials Manager to ensure materials are ready and customer orders are packaged and shipped on time.

* Lending your expertise to assist our customers improve their product designs, as needed.

* Liaising with our customer team to ensure on-time delivery of quality custom products.

* Working in concert with our production team to keep things humming.

* Delighting our customers with the unexpected, and putting a smile on their faces, particularly when all seemed lost.

* Regular maintaining & ad hoc fixing of laser cutters.

* Identifying problems with and improving our workflows to delight customers.

* Attending 1 weekly delivery team discussion & 1 monthly full team discussion.

BENEFITS

* Market salary.

* Unlimited paid time off.

* Employee rates on laser cutting your own stuff.

* Feeling that your work day makes a difference in other people’s creative lives.

* Freedom and independence to run your own shift.

ABOUT US

Founded in 2007, we believe in a digital making future. A future where your products are made online and locally.

This belief drove the design of our online laser cutting service for makers. It’s made possible by our Personal Factory technology that connects your digital design tools to our digital making robots over the Internet.

Our service is the first to enable you to both make & sell your product designs online.

With an online catalog of 100+ materials, instant online quoting, no minimum order size, custom product delivery as fast as next day, an incredible 99% quality score with the other 1% re-made and re-shipped for free (no returns necessary), over 200,000 Personal Factory makers have produced more than 600,000 custom products online.

Recognised as a pioneering leader of the digital making industry, we have been featured in places like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, CNN Money, Inc. Magazine (cover), Forbes, Wired, Core77, TechCrunch, Makezine, MIT Technology Review, BBC News and The Economist.

We’re just at the beginning of a digital making future we’ve been working towards for 10 years, where our Personal Factory technology enables the seamless connection between your digital design software and our digital making robots over the Internet.

Your appointment will enable us to support our amazing customers as we continue to pioneer the digital making industry together.

TO APPLY

Please send an email to dan dot devorkin @ ponoko dot com to introduce yourself, send your resume, and to answer these 3 questions:

1. Why do you want this role?

2. Why are you the best person for this role?

3. What gaps exist between what our needs are and your experience?

We’re looking forward to meeting you.

PS – see our Shipping & Materials Manager role open here.

3 Acrylics For Crisp & Clean Typography Designs

New Materials In USA Catalog: Two-Color Acrylic Sheets

Gold On Black Acrylic Wedding Invitation Styled

Serif. San serif. Kerning. Line space. Alignment. A lot goes into typography design. Fonts communicate masculinity vs. femininity, modern vs. retro, professional vs. casual, serious vs. whimsical.

Typography establishes a visual identity and expresses personality. So when your designs incorporate wordplay, you need the right laser cutting material to showcase this message: Two-Color Acrylics. And we have three new color combos to get the job done: Matte pink on white, brushed gold on black and matte orange on white.

Benefits Of Two-Color Acrylics

Because the top layer is engraved away, the bottom layer of the acrylic is revealed. This results is excellent readability because the precision of the laser cutting gives the illusion that the graphic and lettering work is printed. Thus, two-color acrylics are ideal for products that need text or graphics along with the unique shape achieved with laser cutting.

Compared to printed paper products that seem more disposable, two-color acrylic plastics offer more permanence and longevity. Cardstock is 0.3mm where these acrylic plastics are 1.5mm thick—a massive difference compared to paper—so use them as an upgrade to standard printing for a more robust product to make an impact.

Two-color acrylics are also manufactured with a UV-resistant additive. So while there will naturally be some fading with extended sun exposure, these acrylics hold up much better in UV light, making them quite durable for signage applications.

Finally, these materials are Microsurfaced Impact Modified Acrylics. This means they contain a small amount of polymer that is similar to styrene to give the acrylic extra strength and flexibility. As a result, two-color acrylics are slightly more flexible and melt a bit more during cutting than standard acrylics. This ability to be bent makes two-color acrylics particularly suitable for trophy plates.

Get Inspired: What You Can Make With Two-Color Acrylics

You may not have seen many laser cut products made from two-color acrylics. But not because these materials aren’t cool. They’ve just been primarily used in the trophy industry, so they’re less common in the maker world. Now you have an advantage to make something unique and, if you sell your designs, something different from your competitors.

To show you how amazing laser engraving contrasts on two-color acrylics, check out these examples we made for the three new colors:

Pink On White Acrylic – 1.5mm

Want to send a not-so-mushy valentine? Letting your crush know that “I like your face” is a lighthearted way to show affection without getting overly romantic.

Pink On White Acrylic Valentine Sign

Beyond Valentine’s Day, use matte pink on white acrylic to celebrate Mother’s Day or commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can also use it for signage in businesses with predominantly female clientele such as spas, nail salons or clothing boutiques.

Learn more about Pink On White Acrylic and get a Pink On White Acrylic Sample.

Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic – 1.5mm

For special occasions where you want to make a statement, create invitations using brushed gold on black acrylic.

Gold On Black Acrylic Wedding Invitation

In addition to designing invites, you can use brushed gold on black acrylic for VIP tickets, signage, jewelry, holiday decorations and front panels for electronics enclosures. Plus it is a great alternative to using metal since it is less expensive and laser cuts quicker.

Learn more about Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic and get a Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic Sample.

Orange On White Acrylic – 1.5mm

Because of its high visibility, matte orange on white acrylic is ideal for making signs, especially for food products because citrus colors are associated with healthy foods and stimulating appetites.

Orange On White Acrylic Julice Sign

You can also use this orange on white acrylic for fall harvest designs and Halloween products. It’s also applicable to spirit promos where orange is part of a school’s or university’s color palette.

Learn more about Orange On White Acrylic and get an Orange On White Acrylic Sample.

Now Available: Two-Color Acrylics

With the addition of matte pink on white, brushed gold on black, and matte orange on white acrylics, there are now nine two-color acrylics in the USA Catalog.

Pink Gold Orange Acrylic Sheets And Engraving

When designing for these materials, make sure the small details for cutting are a bit bigger than they would normally be constructed on standard acrylics. Also keep in mind that the top layer is very thin so the underlying substrate is sometimes visible along the cut line as well. This is most noticeable in corners or angles of designs, so prepare files accordingly.

Join The Conversation: What Will You Laser Cut With Two-Color Acrylics?

Whether you have a whimsical or elegant message to convey, two-color acrylics will make your words come to life. How will you use these new materials? Give us a shout in the comment box and let us know what you can’t wait to make!

 

3 Reasons Why You’ll Love Laser Cut Cork Products

New Material In NZ Catalog: Cork Sheets

When you think of cork, a wine bottle stopper is probably the first product that comes to mind. For those with sustainable building interests, you may even think of cork flooring. But have you thought of using cork as a material in your laser cutting projects?

Three Reasons To Love Cork

If you haven’t considered cork as a material for laser cutting projects, you should. And there are three reasons why you’ll love it.

  1. Laser engraving cork results in excellent contrast so your design details pop. You can see this contrast in the coffee cup holder we made with an intricate line-engraved honeycomb pattern. Line engraving for cork is recommended over area engraving due to powder (soot) build up, so you’ll want to design with that in mind.
  1. Cork is a flexible material. The majority of materials in the New Zealand catalog are rigid. So having another flexible material gives you more flexibility (pun intended!) for the products you design.
  1. Cork is generally regarded as environmentally friendly. Cork production is considered sustainable because the tree is not cut down to obtain cork; only the bark is stripped to harvest the cork while the tree continues to live and grow. (Check out this Apartment Therapy article to see why cork is so incredibly green.)

Get Inspired: How Makers Are Using Cork

Cork is a natural choice for coasters because of its absorption properties. Etsy seller EngravedSensations created custom laser cut coasters to put a twist on the traditional wedding save-the-date announcement. Now the couple and their guests have a long-lasting—and useful—memento of the special day.

Laser Cut Cork Wedding Coasters

Cork coasters can be turned into party place settings when personalized with individuals’ names, like these beauties from Etsy seller YourOneFineDay. Whether you’re designing an organic, whimsical or urban chic event, the natural finish of cork works as the perfect accompaniment to any party table.

Laser Cut Personalized Cork Coasters

 

For world travelers (or those who want to be), this laser cut cork push pin world map from Etsy seller ArbolDeCorcho lets you easily visualize where you’ve been and where you want to go in a eye-catching piece of wall art.

Laser Cut Cork World Map Wall Art

While cork has an organic beauty that’s suitable for jewelry and home décor projects, it also has applications in the industrial sector. This cork gasket from Ebay seller crunchtech is commonly used in 3D printers and other CNC machinery to reduce not only thermal transfer between parts but also vibration and resonance so there is less noise when printing.

Laser Cut Cork Gaskets

You can even spruce up a turntable with laser cut cork slipmats like these from Etsy seller PickYourPoisons that were inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man or Japanese artist Hokusai’s The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.

Laser Cut Cork Turntable Slipmat

Graphic designer Adriana Cabeza chose laser cut cork to create stamps, which she then used with fabric paint to create one-of-a-kind totebags.

Laser Cut Cork Stamps

Now Available: Cork

Cork is lightweight, rot resistant, compressible and recoverable, expandable, fire resistant in its natural state, impermeable, soft and buoyant.

Laser Cut Cork Samples

Learn more about 3mm Cork and get a Cork Sample.

Join The Conversation: What Will You Create With Laser Cut Cork?

Cork has so much versatility. What ideas do you have for making with this new material? Tell us all about it by leaving a comment below!

 

Top Stories From 2016; Vote For What’s Coming In 2017

Time For You To Decide What We Write About This Year

Top Stories From 2016 & Vote For What’s Coming In 2017

In 2016, we published 110 blog posts. Everything from customized laser cutting for tech geeks to whether Shopify or Etsy is the best place to sell laser cut products. We launched a 12-part series on the Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag. We even told the amazing story of a maker who wants to change the world one plant at a time. And of course we showcased new materials to expand your making capabilities.

The goal was to show the possibilities you have for making laser cut designs whether you sell your creations on Etsy or Kickstarter, use them as a brand or agency to market yourself or clients, or you make simply for the pure enjoyment of it.

Looking back at all of the stories for the year, we had some favorites. And you did too. Here are the six topics you loved to read the most.

So we can create more content you love, we invited you to vote for what you’d like to read about in 2017. Click here to read the survey results.

Creative Inspiration: Design Ideas For Laser Cutting

Design Ideas For Laser Cutting

Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Sometimes you need inspiration from other makers to see all the things that can be designed and made using a laser cutter. In 2016, the majority of makers continually came back to this post about 10 Coolest Laser Cutter Stories.

For jewelry makers, it wasn’t a surprise to see the story 100 Laser Cut Jewelry Designers top their reading list.

For the tech-savvy makers who create electronic enclosures, what was their go-to resource in 2016? Making Enclosures For Electronics, naturally.

Brands and agencies wanted to know more about marketing to travel executives in this post and learned how to reinvent their promotional giveaways with The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag.

Do you get inspired by articles that feature design ideas for laser cutting? If you want more stories like this in 2017, cast your vote here.

Technical Expertise: How To Design For Laser Cutting

How To Design For Laser Cutting

When creating laser cut products, the design is imperative for success. While there are a lot of laser cutting pros out there, the growth of the maker movement means there are more and more individuals making for the first time. One of the fave beginner resources last year was 6 Resources To Get You Started On A Laser Cut Cardboard Project.

For the more advanced maker, you turned to articles such as how to turn 2D designs into 3D products. Some of your must-reads in 2016:

How To Make Laser Cut Interlocking Acrylic Designs
How To Make Laser Cut 3D Forms Super Easy
How To Make Snug Joints In Acrylic

Whether you need advice for getting started or advanced tips for laser cutting pros, is this kind of content helpful? If you want to see more of these kinds of stories in 2017, rank this as your preference here.

Makers’ Foundation: New Materials For Laser Cutting

New Materials For Laser Cutting

Materials are the foundation for any project. Having a steady influx of new materials not only gives you more opportunities for creative making but also allows makers who sell their items to design something different from their competitors.

In 2016, we introduced 36 new materials: 28 in the USA and eight in New Zealand. While we love them all, there are a few that really stand out as our favorites.

Matte acrylic is wildly popular and makes anything from light fixtures to jewelry to electronics enclosures. With the introduction of matte red, blue and purple acrylic as well as matte turquoise, yellow and pink acrylic, there are even more possibilities for colorful making.

Ultrasuede is special for so many reasons. It’s soft and has amazing tactile appeal. It’s a synthetic microfiber fabric that’s made from recovered from pre-consumer waste, so it’s appealing to vegans and those with environmental and sustainability concerns. And once you see some of what can be made from black, bone and red ultrasuede, you’ll love it as much as we do.

Green glass acrylic is a hot material because it is smooth on both sides and transparent, making it perfect for projects where the objective is to have the look of glass without the high price and pesky breakage issue. It’s also appealing for it versatility. Make products from jewelry to terrariums and anything in between.

For 2017, we’ll continue hunting for new materials that not only make beautifully but are also priced right. And we’ll write about new introductions every month. If you have suggestions on what you want to read about materials, have your say here.

Smart Money: How To Reduce Your Laser Cutting Costs

How To Reduce Your Laser Cutting Costs

No matter whether you’re independently wealthy, costs are always a consideration. Being smart with your money is, well, smart! So how do makers ensure they are designing and configuring their products for maximum impact at minimum cost?

This year, you tapped into this nugget of knowledge: Top 10 Ways To Reduce Laser Cutting Costs. Additionally, the support doc Materials For Laser Cutting In Order Of Price got a lot of views.

Do you want more content developed around this subject? Have your say here and let us know any specific questions you have about cost control in question two.

Business Intelligence: How To Profit From Laser Cutting

How To Profit From Laser Cutting

Going directly to market has never been easier for makers. From opening a shop on Etsy or crowdfunding a project on Kickstarter, you can easily start a business selling custom designed products.

It’s always inspirational to see how other makers grow a business from scratch. So stories such as how this maker crushed his Kickstarter Goal by 2087% or how this maker found success in the $300 billion wedding market proved to be great educational pieces in 2016.

For those makers who sell the products they create, articles on how to price your products for wholesale and retail as well as how to keep minimal stock using on demand laser cutting were important throughout 2016. The two resources that makers who sell their products for profit tapped into the most:

10 Rules For Maker Businesses By Wired’s Chris Anderson
10 Simple Steps To Make & Sell Your Custom Products

Want more articles on how your Etsy store, Kickstarter, agency or brand can profit from laser cutting? If so, rank this as a priority here. And if you have specific business concerns that would make for great content, let us know those ideas in question two.

Digital Making: The Future of Manufacturing

The Future Of Manufacturing

When it comes to desktop laser cutting tools, readers flocked in 2016 to articles like these in our archives:

Pricing Guide To DIY CNC Mill And Router Kits
Make Prototypes For Laser Cutting At Home

This got us thinking. Does this mean you’re interested in topics such as how to design, make and sell from home? Are you also interested in downloadable designs for laser cutting? Or something else futuristic? If so, vote to have more content like this in 2017.

Cast Your Vote For Your Maker’s Reading List Of 2017

Vote For 2017 Content

Makers: Vote for what you want to read in 2017. Help us create the exact content that will help you succeed with all your making projects this year.

Results will be published after voting closes at midnight on Monday February 13.

Then we’ll have completed our content plan for 2017 – phew! 😉

The 12 Laws Of Designing Laser Cut Swag

With Swag Ideas For 12 Of The World’s Biggest Tech Brands

In mid-2016, we set out on a quest: Reinvent how event swag is done. Because promotional products tend to be a bit predictable. And perhaps an affront to your design sensibilities.

It was a tall order, for sure. But we knew in our heart of hearts that there must be a better way than browsing catalogs and websites to select promotional products that will be used for pre-event marketing, creating buzz during the event and building long-lasting brand awareness and loyalty post-event.

To really do brands and the events they host, sponsor or attend justice, the swag can’t be stock. It needs to be special. Customized. Designed so that the products fit a brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event.

We also knew that event swag must be designed to achieve a measureable marketing goal. Plus, the products should be different from every other promotional product at the event and be different from every other promotional product the brand has used at events before. Finally, the items must be packable in carry on luggage, because what good are they if recipients can’t take them home!

You certainly can’t get swag like that out of a catalog.

Defining The 12 Laws

Can event swag really be designed to meet all of the above criteria? Yes, but there needs to be a process. So we developed The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag

These 12 Laws guide even the busiest designer and event manager through 12 principles that can be incorporated into promotional products to make them unlike any you’ve seen before. Each principle builds upon one another, so using the series gives you a solid plan that can easily be implemented for any event.

While having a process is great, it really helps to have examples to illustrate the points and light the way. So we did something a little crazy.

Remember show and tell from elementary school? Yeah, we liked that. So in addition to explaining the theory behind the 12 Laws Of Event Marketing Swag, we designed actual product ideas to show how these laws can be implemented. And here’s the best part: We did it by creating event giveaways for some of the world’s best tech brands as examples.

Whaaaat?

You read that right. We designed sample product ideas for iconic brands such as Google, Apple and Microsoft that could be used at real, upcoming events. That’s pretty sweet. Check them out:

Law 1: Incorporate Good Design – With An Idea For Apple

Law 2: Align With Brand DNA – With An Idea For Netflix

Law 3: Be Strategic – With An Idea For Pinterest

Law 4: Have A Goal & Purpose – With An Idea For Microsoft

Law 5: Target A Specific Audience – With An Idea For Airbnb

Law 6: Be Different From Competitors – With An Idea For Facebook

Law 7: Think Custom, Not Commodity – With An Idea For Adobe

Law 8: Add Personalization – With An Idea For Uber

Law 9: Don’t Forget Presentation – With An Idea For Dropbox

Law 10: Enhance The Event Experience – With An Idea For Twitter

Law 11: Add Pizzazz & Make It Shareable – With An Idea For Amazon

Law 12: Have Fun & Enjoy The Process – With An Idea For Google

While there’s no endorsement of these products by the brands we’re telling a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand.

Lessons From The 12 Laws

The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag

So what did we learn from the taking on this challenge? A lot.

1. Creating Custom Swag Isn’t Easy

To create swag that is truly special takes strategy. You must have a firm grip on your brand message and how it can be brought to life through a product. You must understand your audience, their needs, wants, desires. Their pain points. How your brand can address their issues. And how your brand messaging can attract—and hold—their attention.

Creating custom event swag means starting with a blank piece of paper, which can be both a blessing and a curse. You can do anything, but you must start somewhere. Many designers and event managers don’t get past this point and give in to the ease of selecting stock products.

2. Time Is Your Friend (Or Your Enemy)

The key to being able to create custom event swag is starting early. Unfortunately, selecting event swag is often put off (or flat forgotten) until the last minute. Panic ensues when it is realized that “We must have some kind of giveaway!”

But this late in the process, strategy is forgone and you must settle for what’s available in a rush. And this typically means going back to a generic product picked out of a catalog. No design. No alignment with brand DNA. So boring!

To make event swag fit the principles discussed in the 12 Laws, you must allow ample time and include it in the beginning of the event planning process.

3. The Payoff For Getting It Right Is Worth It

Seth Godin said, “Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.” We couldn’t agree more.

Event attendees know there will always be a plethora of swag to be had. And while some of it will be anticipation-worthy, most, sadly, will not be. But this is where you have an opportunity.

What if your event swag is so rad that your fans can’t wait to attend just to see what you do next? What if you were able to personalize this swag to make an even bigger impact? And what if you could deliver such a relevant item that recipients would stand in line for it, share it on social media and use it often at home?

That’s the sweet spot where marketing magic happens. And this payoff is sooooo worth it.

Creating A New Breed Of Promotional Products

So what do you think? Our goal throughout this process was to create a new breed of promotional products that completely reinvents how you market your brand at events—from tradeshows and conventions to sales meetings, educational conferences, pop-up events and everything in between. Did we hit the mark?

Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

Taking on the challenge to design custom promotional products that align with the 12 Laws was ambitious. It was fun. And challenging. And at some times frustrating. But we learned a lot, and hope that you did too.

We wanted our designs to err on the side of wild creativity. Simple. Fantastical. Clever. Remarkable. Ultimately, we wanted to show promotional products for designers at brands, businesses & agencies to aspire to when marketing themselves at events. Hopefully it inspired you. And maybe, just maybe, it will start a movement.

 

New Year, New Projects: Ultimate List Of 50 Laser Cutting Ideas

Custom Products Made From The 10 Most Popular Materials Of 2016

Happy New Year Makers!

As the calendar flips a page, there are 365 new days for making your next laser cutting ideas. What will you make (and profit from) using the precision and consistency of a laser cutter this year?

To fire up your creativity, we’ve scoured the best Etsy shops and the web to find the sweetest custom laser cut project ideas from top designers.

And to make it super easy, we’ve paired these amazing designs with the top 10 most popular laser cutting materials from the past year so you can successfully create your own products for 2017.

Clear Acrylic - 3.0 mm

1. Clear Acrylic – 3.0 mm

Top Quality: Engraves Beautifully

Why is clear acrylic the #1 choice of makers in 2016? Because of how well it reacts to laser cutting. The surface of this thermoplastic engraves with a nice frosty finish that catches light wonderfully, and the edges melt smoothly rather than burning like wooden materials.

It’s also a staple material choice because of its versatility. You can make anything from jewelry, tableware and electronics enclosures to conference badges, signage, book covers, point of sale displays—and these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg of potential uses. And since you can heat acrylic to give it a bend, you can give your laser cutting projects a boost by taking it beyond the constraints of two dimensions.

Finally, acrylic is budget friendly, making it an economical alternative to glass. Clear acrylic is also less expensive than other acrylic colors, which only helps sweeten the appeal.

Feel free to write your own tips about this material.

And here are five products made from your most popular material:

SturlesiDesign Shop uses laser cut clear acrylic modules when creating the iLLuminite collection.Laser cut clear acrylic pendant lights from SturlesiDesign Shop

Esty shop lesfollesmarquises showcases laser engraving on clear acrylic with Japanese doll pendants.Laser cut clear acrylic Japanese doll pendant necklaces from lesfollesmarquises

For any ornithologists in the house, this Clear Hanging Bird Feeder from Esty shop Artbirdfeeder combines utility with style.Laser cut clear acrylic birdhouses from Artbirdfeeder

For a taste of tech inspiration, head over to C4Lab’s Etsy shop to see why this Raspberry Pi case is so sweet.
Laser cut clear acrylic Raspberry Pi cases from C4Lab

Who says clear acrylic can’t have an air of haute couture? Fashion designer Joanna Vanderpuije has layered laser cut geometric shapes to give this skirt texture like no fabric can.Fashion skirt with laser cut clear acrylic applique from Joanna Vanderpuije

Amber Bamboo - 2.7 mm

2. Amber Bamboo – 2.7 mm

Top Quality: Natural Honey Tone

There’s so much to love about bamboo. It is a sustainable and eco-friendly material because of its fast growth. Once formed into sheets, it is plywood, which makes it strong and durable. It can be laser cut to a fine detail and engraves beautifully. And because of its thinness, it is quick—and thus more economical—to laser cut.

Bamboo is also super versatile. Makers use it for jewelry, tableware, electronics enclosures, conference badges, signage, book covers and point of sale displays.

Bamboo’s prominent grain and warm hues make it stand out from a myriad of other plywoods and timber laminates. And the warm color of the amber stain makes it ideal for projects with a nature theme. Artist, designer and Ponoko maker Bridget Kearney has created an entire line of earrings, brooches and pendants made exclusively from bamboo. See her work, which is inspired by travels through the countryside collecting flora and fauna, at Caravan Creative.

Add to the discussion by writing your own tips about this popular material.

For inspiration, here are five products made using this bamboo:

Feeling crafty? Check out these geometric wooden cabochons from Etsy seller CraftyCutsLaser.
Laser cut bamboo cabochons from CraftyCutsLaser

You’ll never drink tea alone with The Tea Buddy™ from Esty Seller TheOtherLabs.Laser cut bamboo Tea Buddy from TheOtherLabs

Etsy seller LHDUCK hand paints sections of these laser cut bamboo earrings to add a pop of color against the natural wood tones.Laser cut bamboo earrings from LHDUCK

Plant lovers will turn green from envy upon seeing Etsy shop MGreenhalghDesigns terrarium and scallop necklaces.Laser cut bamboo necklaces from MGreenhalghDesigns

Etsy Seller GeekModish makes trendy things for geeky people. Embrace #nerdpride with the math and periodic table coaster sets.Laser cut bamboo coaster sets from GeekModish

Birch Plywood - 3.2 mm

3. Birch Plywood – 3.2 mm

Top Quality: Budget Friendly

Birch plywood is made from laminations of birch veneer. It is lightweight but strong, among the strongest and most dimensionally stable plywoods. It has a great price point and is commonly used for making laser cut scale models, jewelry, model boats, model airplanes, product housings, drones, clocks, prototypes and signage.

Feel free to write your own tips about this popular material.

And checkout these five products using birch:

Etsy seller OrigamiZoo has taken the inspiration from the geometric shapes of origami to create a line of playful products, such as these laser engraved birch necklaces.Laser cut birch origami-inspired necklaces from OrigamiZoo

By using laser cut birch as the foundation, Etsy shop JSLaserCraft creates eye catching wedding save-the-date invitation tags and magnets that leave a lasting impression as a charming memento for guests.Laser cut birch wedding save-the-date invitation tags and magnets from JSLaserCraft

An unexpected addition to any wardrobe, this laser cut birch wood necktie from Etsy seller CreativeUseofTech is an attractive accessory for today’s modern man.Laser cut birch necktie from CreativeUseofTech

This trio of laser cut birch hanging lamps, also from Etsy seller CreativeUseofTech, cast the perfect glow and create an ambiance of warmth in any space.Laser cut birch hanging lamps from CreativeUseofTech

The “Hairwolf,” from Etsy shop miniFab, will tame the most epic of beards with its wide, long teeth laser cut from beautiful birch.Laser cut birch beard comb from miniFab

Birch Veneer - 5.2 mm

4. Birch Veneer – 5.2 mm

Top Quality: Thicker Yet Economical

When you need thicker wood for your laser cutting projects, this is the top choice. Like it’s thinner companion, this birch is commonly used for making product housings, drones, clocks, prototyping, furniture and signage. Because birch is a natural product, keep in mind that there may be an occasional knot on the surface. It’s part of the beauty of wood, but this characteristic can potentially impact the design.

Add to the discussion by writing your own tips about this popular material.

Plus see this material used to make these five products:

The six-pack beer case from Etsy seller nygaarddesign makes a great laser cut gift for beer connoisseurs.Laser cut birch beer case from nygaarddesign

With the laser cut Star Wars Millennium Falcon inspired wall clock from Etsy shop HamsterCheeksStore, the force will be with you.
Laser cut birch Star Wars Millennium Falcon inspired wall clock from HamsterCheeksStore

Who would want to see chess legends Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov square off in an epic match with this laser cut birch chess set designed by Matthew LivaudaisLaser cut birch chess set from Matthew Livaudais

Shout out from Etsy shop TwikiConcept to all the ’90s kids with this nostalgic laser cut birch key holder that features three coins from your favorite old school games.Laser cut birch key holder from TwikiConcept

A must-have for any harmonica player, this laser cut birch storage case box from Etsy seller BrassandBirch keeps the instruments organized by key.

 

Black Acrylic - 3.0 mm

5. Black Acrylic – 3.0 mm

Top Quality: Classic Black

Black acrylic is a classic favorite. Why? Because engraving looks soooo good on this material. The frosty white engraving contrasts beautifully with black. Jewelry is one of the top laser cut products from black acrylic, but it also looks smashing for anything that requires a sophisticated, sleek palette—tableware, electronics enclosures, conference badges, signage, book covers, point of sale displays, etc. And if your design includes interlocking pieces, check out this tutorial that covers how-to make it happen.

Feel free to write your own tips about this popular material.

What could you make using this material? Here are five product examples:

Etsy seller CABfayre used black laser cut acrylic to create pendant featuring two little love birds kissing in the center of a heart filled scallop-edged oval.Laser cut black acrylic love bird necklace from CABfayre

As if cake wasn’t delicious enough on its own, Etsy shop LoveGarlands’ laser cut black acrylic cake topper really makes us want to celebrate.Laser cut black acrylic cake topper from LoveGarlands

It’s ok to leave your cape at home as long as you’re carrying the laser cut black acrylic Batman or Superman silhouette keychain from Etsy seller SolPixieDust.Laser cut black acrylic Batman and Superman keychains from SolPixieDust

Laser cut black acrylic honeycomb earring from Etsy shop liseLOVE add a modern, geometric statement to any outfit.Laser cut black acrylic honeycomb earrings from liseLOVE

Make a lasting impression with laser cut black acrylic business cards from RockDesign.Laser cut black acrylic business cards from RockDesign

Matte Black Acrylic - 3.0 mm

6. Matte Black Acrylic – 3.0 mm

Top Quality: Sophisticated Texture

Matte black acrylic is a close second to traditional black acrylic and is used when you want a silky satin finish that doesn’t reflect everything. Engraving contrasts well on matte black acrylic too, making it perfect for jewelry, tableware, electronics enclosures, conference badges, signage, book covers and point of sale displays.

Add to the discussion by writing your own tips about this popular material.

And what do you think of these 5 black acrylic products:

Etsy shop SkullAndHawk uses laser cut black matte acrylic to create lapel pins/tie tacks and cufflinks.Laser cut matte black acrylic lapel pins, tie tack and cufflinks from SkullAndHawk

If you’re looking to make a statement, this geometric statement necklace made from laser cut black matte acrylic from Etsy seller PrettyUrbanCo should do the trick.Laser cut matte black acrylic statement necklace from PrettyUrbanCo

Laser cut black matte acrylic makes great signage. This one from Etsy seller HopStudio will have you shouting YAY!” Laser cut matte black acrylic YAY sign from HopStudio

A subtle way to raise a smile, the laser cut Smile necklace from Etsy’s RoseThomasShop is a contemporary and fun piece made from matte black acrylic.Laser cut matte black acrylic smile necklace from RoseThomasShop

If you want to power up your fashion game, check out these laser cut black matte acrylic Pac-Man earrings from Etsy seller muchoshop.Laser cut matte black acrylic Pac-Man earrings from muchoshop.

Amber Bamboo - 6.7 mm

7. Amber Bamboo – 6.7 mm

Top Quality: Sustainability

When you need a thicker bamboo for those bigger projects—such as this award-winning modern birdhouse—look no further than the three-ply 6.7mm bamboo. As a plywood, it’s nice and strong. Since bamboo is 100% renewable, it’s an ideal choice for the eco-friendly crowd.

The amber color is a golden brown with a fine grain. The bamboo joints are visible on the surface, breaking up the grain to create a unique appearance. And like the thinner bamboo materials, you can also make jewelry, tableware, electronics enclosures, conference badges, signage, book covers and point of sale displays from this thickness as well.

Feel free to write your own tips about this popular material.

Plus here are five product examples to inspire you:

Laser cut bamboo signs make a statement. This modern and motivational art piece from Etsy shop Cabin will inspire you to have a beautiful day.Laser cut bamboo signs from Cabin

Check out this custom coat hanger from bridenew.

Etsy seller ElectricElmDesign makes wedding cake toppers from laser cut bamboo to celebrate happily ever after.Laser cut bamboo wedding cake toppers from ElectricElmDesign

Telling time has never been so much fun as with these laser cut bamboo clocks from Etsy shop HOMELOO.Laser cut bamboo clocks from HOMELOO

Designer Andy Shen uses interlocking pieces of laser cut bamboo to create Booboo drones.Laser cut bamboo drone from Andy Shen

Corrugated Cardboard - 4.0 mm

8. Corrugated Cardboard – 4.0 mm

Top Quality: Ideal For Prototyping

Cardboard is a great choice when creating prototypes of designs, as it is inexpensive and cuts quickly. Creating structures from corrugated cardboard can be a great way to test out complex designs because slotting, stacking and folding shapes all work well to create 3D forms.

But don’t think that cardboard is limited to prototyping. With the right inspiration, it is sophisticated enough to stand on its own. See these 20 designs and you’ll know why.

While cardboard has a lot of great applications, keep in mind that it isn’t great for super intricate designs. And you’ll want to keep it away from heat sources unless the cardboard is treated with an environmentally friendly fire retardant because it catches fire easily!

Add to the discussion by writing your own tips about this popular material.

Check out these five products made from card:

Inspired by the sculptural and infinite layers of the American Grand Canyon, architect Giancarlo Zema merged high design with recycled cardboard to create an innovative collection called Canyon for Origami Furniture.Laser cut cardboard furniture by Origami Furniture

Graypants’ flagship Scraplight series of laser cut cardboard pendant lights provides warm, intimate and functional lighting for any occasion or type of space.Laser cut cardboard lighting by Graypants

Aidan Chopra created the most epic Halloween costume for his son using laser cut cardboard.Laser cut cardboard costume by Aidan Chopra

Named “Not A Box,” this lamp by David Graas uses it’s own laser cut cardboard packaging as the lampshade.Laser cut cardboard lamp by David Graas

He also designed this innovative “FIY” (Finish It Yourself) children’s chair, which he describes as “one step beyond Do It Yourself” since it incorporates the cardboard packaging with the laser cut chair pieces.Laser cut cardboard children’s chair by David Graas

White Acrylic - 3.0 mm

9. White Acrylic – 3.0 mm

Top Quality: Great For Detail

With black acrylic making the list (twice!), you shouldn’t be surprised to see white acrylic make the list too because it such a classic, neutral color. Acrylic cuts precisely, so you can create beautifully intricate designs with this material. This is probably why so much jewelry is made from acrylic. But it’s also suitable for tableware, electronics enclosures, conference badges, signage, book covers and point of sale displays.

Feel free to write your own tips about this popular material.

And here’s this material used to make these five products:

Etsy seller BenditaIndomina found inspiration for this laser cut white acrylic necklace from dragonfly wings.Laser cut white acrylic dragonfly necklace from BenditaIndomina

These laser cut white (and black!) acrylic bunny rings are a part of Etsy shop NocturneDesignsCut’s “cute animals” series.Laser cut white acrylic bunny rings from NoctureDesignsCut

Etsy seller decoylab adds laser cut white acrylic atop bamboo bases to create one-of-a-kind clocks.Laser cut white acrylic and bamboo clocks from decoylab

Artist Sandra Fettingis uses laser cut white acrylic to create geometric wall hangings.Laser cut white acrylic artwork from Sandra Fettingis

White laser cut acrylic placemats from Etsy shop ByCharlie add sophistication and elegance to any table setting with diverse patterns inspired by old fashioned paper doilies to fish scales.Laser cut white acrylic placemats from ByCharlie

Natural MDF - 6.0 mm

10. MDF – 6.0 mm

Top Quality: Easy To Glue & Paint For 3D Designs

Another budget-friendly material, MDF has a warm golden tone and a smooth texture that makes it easy to glue and paint with pretty much anything. It’s great for creating complex 3D forms, so it lends itself well to making models, drones, clocks, prototypes, furniture and signage. Check out this previous post for even more laser cut project ideas.

Add to the discussion by writing your own tips about this popular material.

And here are five products made from the 10th most popular laser cutting material from 2016:

Inspired by historical industry lighting, the No.19 industrial lamp from Etsy shop HetLichtlab is designed to be assembled without screws or glue—using as minimal resources as possible.Laser cut MDF lighting from HetLichtlab

Flat pack animal heads from Etsy seller TheCraftyCowLtd keep animals safe by being made from laser cut MDF.Laser cut MDF flat pack animal heads from TheCraftyCowLtd

Etsy shop CedarStreetDesign pushes the limits of what laser cutting can do with its intricate mesmerizing patterns on this surprisingly sturdy MDF box.Laser cut MDF decorative boxes from CedarStreetDesign

The laser cut curved lines and organic shape of the Pendant Antler by Etsy seller Lampshapers create a natural, yet modern, aesthetic.Laser cut MDF lighting from Lampshapers

The beautifully stylized scale models from Etsy shop ScaledDimensions embraces Filipino ingenuity while creating a one-of-a-kind, modern sculpture that it is the perfect laser cut gift for art lovers and miniature enthusiasts.Laser cut MDF scale models from ScaledDimensions

What Have We Learned From This List Of Popular Laser Cutting Materials?

A great price makes all the difference to you, so we’ll be on the hunt for even more budget-friendly options as we continue to introduce new materials throughout 2017.

Got suggestions of what materials you’d like to see? Let us know your new material suggestions here.

Got pics of your creations? We’d love to see them. Mention @Ponoko on Twitter or give us a shout on Facebook.

And if 50 products were not enough inspiration for your next laser cutting project, check out this previous post of 100 awesome designs for even more laser cut gift ideas.

 

The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag: Law 12

Have Fun & Enjoy The Process. With An Idea For Google.

Mark Twain said: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Of course this doesn’t mean every day will be filled with rainbows and unicorns, but Twain was on to something regarding happiness at work.

In fact, a research study by the University of Warwick found that productivity grew by 12% on average when employees were happy in their jobs. Conversely, productivity dropped by 10% when employees were unhappy.

Andrew Oswald, Eugenio Proto and Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick led the research.

“Companies like Google have invested more in employee support, and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37%; they know what they are talking about,” says Oswald.

Sgroi notes the driving force seems to be that “happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.”

This research supports what Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, has learned. He says that when a person feels positive, the brain works better. Individuals are more creative and are better at solving problems.

Additional research shows that when team members are happy at work, they are better collaborators, work to common goals and are more innovative.

Creativity, innovation, collaboration, problem solving and working toward common goals are all critical components when designing events—and the swag used to support them.

Making Swag Fun Again

What’s the point of giving away branded merchandise at an event? There are potentially many goals. Most often, it is to create brand awareness, strengthen brand recognition and loyalty, and generate buzz. These things are far easier to achieve when the products are fun and are so totally engrained in your brand’s DNA that no other company could possible have given away something so memorable and meaningful.

Being able to incorporate fun and actually enjoy the process of designing custom swag for events means that promotional products selection can’t be put off until the end of the process. No way. It must be part of the strategic conversations from the beginning.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with giving away a pen or coffee mug, you’d have to do something really spectacular to make these ordinary items stand out amongst everything else vying for attention at an event.

Case in point: Which would you rather receive?

We’re betting you chose the latter every time.

And these are just a few of the ideas we’ve designed throughout The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag series. While each of these potential products has their own purpose and target audience, there is a commonality: Fun!

When we started this 12 Immutable Laws series, we took on a challenge to design actual product ideas for event giveaways for some of the world’s best tech brands as examples. The goal was to create products that are fun to receive. Truly custom promotional products that fit the example brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event.

Additionally, the products designed must achieve a measureable marketing goal, be different from every other promotional product at the event (read: be different than the competition), be different from every other promotional product the brand has used at events before, and it must be packable in carry on luggage—because what good is it if recipients can’t take it home with them!

Keep in mind there is no endorsement of any products by the brands represented. We’re simply trying to tell a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand. So without further ado, check out our final product idea in the series:

Event Marketing Swag Idea: Drone Kit

The Brand: Google
The Event: Google I/O
The Audience: Software Developers
The Marketing Goal: Create brand awareness via repeat use after the event

Google I/O, the annual developer festival, gives attendees the opportunity for hands-on learning, technical talks and a chance to hear more about Google’s latest developer products. And it’s the perfect place to debut custom event swag that will get software developers talking: A kitset drone kit.

Google has been exploring drone projects such as Project Wing as far back as 2014. Since the patent has finally been granted, the project could potentially take launch in 2017. A kitset drone giveaway dovetails perfectly into Google’s ongoing projects in a fun way while educating and challenging developers to push them further. And by bringing awareness to something large Google is working to develop, it facilitates further use of Google’s product lines.

This kind of event swag works because a kitset drone kit combines technology and fun. Plus, it provides a hands-on experience for software developers to assemble and program the drone to further enhance the connection between attendees and advertiser post-event.

Drones are the hot new technology. It’s kind of like owning computer in the late ’80s early ’90s. Google is a brand that’s always pursuing the leading edge of technology, and this custom event swag idea encapsulates that.

Foster Happiness To Achieve More Creative—And Successful—Promotional Products

So if your brain works significantly better when you’re positive, it makes sense to cultivate happiness and enjoyment in the workplace. “We found that optimism is the greatest predictor of entrepreneurial success because it allows your brain to perceive more possibilities,” says Achor.

While Achor is making the correlation on a macro level between happiness and entrepreneurial success, we’d like to posit that this stands true on the micro level between happiness and event success. And even more to the point: Happiness and event swag success.

The more possibilities your brain can perceive, the more open you are to creating branded merchandise that no one has ever seen before. And the more you can enhance the overall event experience.

So what do you think? Can incorporating fun into the promotional products design process make it more enjoyable—not only for you but also for the recipients of the swag you create? Will cultivating overall happiness in the workplace result in more creative, unique and special products? How can having happy employees complement everything you do to build an amazing event experience?

Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

Many people think that success brings happiness. But Achor says the lab-validated truth is that happiness brings more success. To make it happen, he recommends reversing the happiness and success formula.

“We think if we work harder and achieve some entrepreneurial goal, then we’ll be happier,” he says. “But the research is clear that every time you have a success, your brain changes what success means. So for you and for your team, if happiness is on the opposite side of success, you’ll never get there.”

Instead, he says to increase your levels of happiness in the midst of a challenge. In our case, in the midst of planning an event or in the midst designing a custom promotional product to support this event. Only then will we find that all of our success rates rise dramatically. And every business outcomes improves.

 

This is the final installment in the series The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag.

 

After Christmas Sale: 30% Off 1 Day Only

Happy Boxing Day Makers! Since we’re still in the holiday spirit, do we have a deal for you: 30% off the making cost of laser cutting orders placed on Monday, December 26, 2016.

This special offer is good for one laser cutting order from your USA or NZ Free Personal Factory account only (not Prime accounts), and it cannot be used in conjunction with any other vouchers or promotions. The usual costs for materials, shipping, speed upgrades, samples and showroom orders apply as normal.

Don’t miss our final sale of the year. To make it happen, log in and enter this coupon code—89CT96—at checkout.

Happy Making!

The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag: Law 11

Make It Shareable. With An Idea For Amazon.

Event Marketing Swag Law 11 - Make It Shareable

Buzzworthy. Shareable. Viral. Qualities so desired by event managers that they’ll work all year long to create an experience so interesting, so captivating, so significant that attendees are compelled to share their opinions about it before, during and after the event.

It’s a monumental task, one where much attention is spent on food and bev, logistics, keynote speakers, education forums and networking parties. Rightfully so. All of these attributes go into creating the collective “event experience.”

But what typically isn’t in this strategic conversation?

Promotional products.

Swag Is Shareable

We’ve talked throughout The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag series about how event swag is often an afterthought. With mere weeks before an event, there’s often a panicked “I must have some kind of giveaway!” moment, and a quick product search in a catalog or online ensues.

But this late in the process, strategy is forgone and you must settle for what’s available in a rush. And this typically means a generic product picked out of a catalog. No design. No alignment with brand DNA. And no emotions to tap into to create a sincere experience.

But by incorporating event swag early into your event planning process, you can design products that have the specific purpose of enhancing the event experience so that attendees not only share your event socially but they include the promotional products in their social shares, creating an even stronger bond with your brand.

Can swag really help create buzz during events? To find out we took on a challenge to design actual product ideas for event giveaways for some of the world’s best tech brands as examples. The goal is to create truly custom promotional products that fit the example brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event.

Additionally, the products designed must achieve a measureable marketing goal, be different from every other promotional product at the event (read: be different than the competition), be different from every other promotional product the brand has used at events before, and it must be packable in carry on luggage—because what good is it if recipients can’t take it home with them!

Keep in mind there is no endorsement of any products by the brands represented. We’re simply trying to tell a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand. So check this out:

Event Marketing Swag Idea: Laser Cut Robot Kits

The Brand: Amazon
The Event: Amazon Web Services re:Invent
The Audience: Developers
The Marketing Goal: Create word of mouth at the event, to entice others to the booth

Laser Cut Robot Kits

Robotic droids are a hot topic. Hot! Whether you like Transformers, Star Wars droids like the new BB-8 or the real-life robot Wally that delivers food and bev to guests at the Residence Inn, robots being integrated into our lives is no longer science fiction.

So what better way to get some social buzz at Amazon Web Services re:Invent than to tap into the trend with promotional laser cut robot kits.

AWS re:Invent is a global customer and partner conference that gives small businesses access to tools previously only available to big companies. They do the hard work and help you scale your business. It’s kinda like having your own personal droids.

To showcase this theme, the laser cut robot kits would be displayed in the tradeshow booth to get the conversation started. Imagery of a cloud galaxy far, far away could be used to set the scene.

Fun marketing copy could be created to further the messaging:

Say hello to EC3, S3 & RDS. These are the AWS droids you are looking for. Tweet what you’ll do with your favorite droid using #AWSdroids & we’ll send him to you.

This idea works for a number of reasons. First, it taps into the popularity of droids featured in movies such as Star Wars as well as the real conversations people are having about the future of AI.

Second, it creates conversation at the event—both online and in person. People see other people’s tweets and want to get in on the action. Using a hashtag such as #AWSdroids helps track these conversations and gives the opportunity for on-site interaction with attendees who are tweeting.

Third, offering to send the laser cut robot kits is useful in lead generation (must have address to mail) plus it eliminates an inventory issue of stocking the kits in the booth and frees up tradeshow staff to talk to customers about their business instead of managing the kit giveaway process.

Use Promotional Products As A Catalyst For Creating Event Buzz

How can you keep attendees engaged before, during and after the event? With some damn good planning—and the right swag.

Did you know that almost equal numbers of attendees and wishful attendees talk about the event in the days and weeks prior? Yep. It’s true.

In fact, Buffer did a year-long study of more than 25 million social media posts from 50 of the most popular events—everything from music festivals to endurance races—and learned that 40% of social posts occur pre-event and 42% happen on site. So it’s just as important to get social prior to the event as during it.

How can you incorporate promotional products into your social media marketing to generate this kind of buzz? Some ideas:

Host A Twitter Poll

In the pre-show planning stages, narrow down your swag choices and ask attendees which one they’d most like to receive at the event. Not only does this start conversation around the event, but it also gives you important insight into what branded merchandise will be successful. Learn how with this Twitter poll tutorial.

Create Teaser Content

Once you determine the kind of swag you’ll use, start hinting at what it could be. Take close-up photos that just show a portion of the item and ask attendees to guess what it is. Give hints about size, color, function, etc. Have fun with it! Retweet people’s guesses and ask others if they think the guess is correct. When someone does guess correctly, give them a big social shout out and show the product in full. You could even give an iTunes gift card to the winner as added thanks for playing along.

Share Behind-The-Scenes Photos

The Buffer study found that anticipation and excitement accounted for 14 percent of the total posts shared on social media about events—the largest single percentage among any type of pre-event tweet or post. “Sharing behind-the-scenes pics and stories well before the event begins is a great way to boost conversation and engagement,” writes Rachel Grate in the Buffer article Event Marketing 101: How To Keep Attendees Engaged Before, During And After Your Event. “These brief glimpses can help make a personal connection with possible attendees. By producing the type of content that event enthusiasts are already posting, you can join and help shape the online conversation.”

Have A Photo Booth

Once at the event, use a photo booth to help attendees share their event experience. Encourage them to include your swag in the snaps and have fun. Also add a branded banner to the bottom of the photos to make them special to that event.

Create A Post-Show Swag Photo Contest

After the event, have a contest for the best photo showing your swag back in the real world. Narrow down the contenders and have your audience vote on the winner—and then give them something special.

So what do you think? Can using swag strategically create buzz around your event participation? With creating buzz as a goal, will you change how your swag is designed?

Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

“There are lots of reasons that things go viral,” says Kala Linck, community and content manager at Duct Tape Marketing. “More often than not, viral content pulls an emotion out of the reader or viewer. Making sure your content is relevant, refutable and/or relatable is a good way to start inviting those emotions that will make people want to share your content.”

The beauty of promotional products is that they can tie into these emotions. You have the opportunity to create that little something special to make the event—and the promotional gifts—uniquely you. Something unexpected. Something your attendees haven’t seen before…but would love to have. Something that gets people talking. Buzzing. Who wouldn’t want to share that?

 

This is the eleventh in a series of 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag. For links to each law as they are published, check out the article that started it all: “How To Reinvent Your Event Swag Strategy: 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag.”

 

Buy One Get One: The Ultimate Last-Minute Gift

Buy A Gift Voucher, Get A FREE Making Coupon—But Only Until 11:59 pm PST Sunday December 24, 2016

santa-claus-2918_960_720

So, you’ve waited until the last minute. It’s ok. We don’t judge. You can still have a Maker’s Christmas after all. With a little help from Voucher Claus.

Voucher Claus is kinda like Santa’s crazy uncle. Every family has one, right? And you can’t help but love them…especially when they give the most amazing presents: Ponoko Gift Vouchers.

But these Gift Vouchers come with a little something extra from the North Pole:

Buy a Gift Voucher by 11:59 pm PST Saturday December 24 –> Get a FREE Making Coupon!

  • Buy $1,000+ of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $500 Making Coupon
  • Buy $500 – $999 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $225 Making Coupon
  • Buy $250 – $499 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $110 Making Coupon
  • Buy $100 – $249 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $40 Making Coupon
  • Buy $50 – $99 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $20 Making Coupon
  • Buy $25 – $49 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $10 Making Coupon

Voucher Vs. Coupon: What’s The Difference?

A “Gift Voucher” is good for any part of a make-it-yourself laser cutting order: The making, the materials and the shipping costs. And they NEVER expire.

A “Making Coupon” is good for the making costs only (read: the actual laser cutting). And they expire within three months.

The Finer Details

Both the Gift Vouchers and Making Coupons are valid for Ponoko USA & NZ Free & Prime account orders. They are NOT valid for 3D printing, PCM, making speed upgrades, Prime subscriptions, Samples or Showroom orders. You can use one Gift Voucher or Making Coupon redemption code per order. There’s no change given if the service cost is less than your voucher value. And they are not redeemable for cash.

Please see our Gift Voucher Guidelines and our Making Coupon Guidelines for all the important fine print.

How Can I Hack Ponoko’s Free Offer?

We makers are a creative bunch. Voucher Claus appreciates ingenuity, so this holiday season he is feeling super generous and has some tips for how to make the most of this special BOGO offer.

You might want to purchase Gift Vouchers in separate orders, rather than bundling them all into a single order. Check this out:

Voucher Hack Idea 1

If you buy $2,000 of Gift Vouchers in a single order, you receive a free $500 Making Coupon. But split that $2,000 Gift Voucher purchase into multiple orders—such as one Gift Voucher order for $1,000 plus another for $1,000—and you get free Making Coupons for $500 AND $500.

Yep, that’s a total of $1,000 for free, not just $500. Now that will make holidays happy!

Voucher Hack Idea 2

If you buy $75 of Gift Vouchers in a single order, you receive a free $20 Making Coupon. Split this into multiple orders again—such as Gift Voucher for $50 and another for $25—and you get free Making Coupons for $20 AND $10.

Score! That’s a total of $30 for free, not just $20.

Voucher Hack Idea 3

And if you’ve made a list, checked it twice, and have a lot of peeps on your nice list, you can buy $25,000 of Gift Vouchers in multiple orders—and you get the picture—you’ll get $12,500 of Making Vouchers. Yeah! Making for everyone!

Holidays Are Merrier With Making

If you know anyone who loves to make stuff, then you know someone who would love a Ponoko Gift Voucher. But it’s not all about them. Perhaps the best part of giving this gift is that you get a little something for yourself.

So what are you waiting for? Do that jolly ole fat man a solid. You have until 11:59 pm PST December 24 to do your last minute shopping here before Santa squeezes down your chimney.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Make! Make! Make!