Personal is the New Communal

We have entered a new, collective era, not only as a nation, but globally as a species. For many of us, this is our generation’s version of the solidarity that people experienced during and after World War 2. Except, almost in a contrary feeling to the word, we need to ensure in this new solidarity that we keep our distance and keep actions and items that were once communal, more personal.

The End is Nigh for Shared Contact

Have we seen the last of hugs, the European cheek kiss (la bise as it is known in France), and the handshake? In this new reality, it is quite possible. If you ask Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the leads in the US Coronavirus Task Force and Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, then we should never shake someone’s hand again.

The new reality is in its infancy and still forming it’s cultural identity, but one thing is for certain, people are going to be a lot more careful about how they interact with others. This will not only be during the coming weeks while restrictions are loosened but as a new cultural norm that could last generations. While the Great Depression forced a cultural shift in food standards and nutritional education in our grandparents, the Covid-19 pandemic will see current and future generations actively think about hygiene and how infectious diseases can be spread by contact.

Personalizing Items to Restrict Communal Use

Just as the handshake might be in jeopardy, so may a lot of everyday-use items that we take for granted. You probably never thought twice about borrowing a pen to fill out a form or grabbing a mug from the lunch room cabinet to pour yourself a coffee. There will be many new “best practices” suggested in the coming months on how to prevent spread and future infections. One of these ways will be to have once communal, shared items, become personal.

Notebooks are one of the most traditional forms of personalized items. Printed, laser engraved, or debossed names often get put on notebooks and journals of all quality to personalize and restrict them for use by one person. It was once (and still is) a nice gift to give to others. Now, this will become the new norm in a wave of personalization. Let’s take a look at some other examples and personalization methods.

Customizing Items with a Personal Touch

Going back to our two earlier examples of communal items, we can see how writing utensils and drinkware will be two of the more popular types of items that will be in need of being personalized in order to minimize the risk of spreading an infection.

Personalized Pens

There will be a lot of uncertainty about loaning out pens. When workplaces start to open back up, it will be important that each employee use, and stick to, their own writing utensils. An easy way to promote this is to personalize each pen with the employee’s name. Personalized pens have been popular for years as a high-end gift, such as these Hugo Boss Epitome pens, however, there is an increased offering in affordable pens that can all be customized with an employee’s name to ensure it will only be used by them.

These two pens, the Vienna Stylus and Textari Stylus, are examples of personalizable pens at a low cost, starting less than $2 each (based on quantity). While they vary based on preferred grip, they both come with a built-in stylus, which removes another “to avenue so that the stylus will touch screens rather than direct finger/hand contact.

Individualized Drinkware

Saliva can be one of the biggest transmitters of infectious “boogeymans”. Many share drinks with family and friends without a second thought… or at least used to. With various forms of drinkware personalized to the person, it puts a clear flag on whose beverage it is and to not drink from it.

For instance, here we have a mug that can have a colourfully vibrant design, while also sporting the name of the owner of the hot beverage. Beside it, we have this vacuum tumbler, similarly personalized but with the logo and the name raised to add a new texture dimension to the tumbler. Personalization does not have to be boring!

Methods of Personalization

Items can be personalized in a variety of ways, however, this will greatly depend on the items you select as not every item can be produced with all methods. Here are some popular techniques used to add a personal touch to products:

Laser Engrave

This process takes the names you wish to present and uploads them to a software that will then relay that information to a heat laser. This laser will then cut the names into the decoration area. This method is most common on metallic items, such as pens, and the lids or sides of drinkware.

Full Colour Printing

This is a broad method that will have a different name depending on where the item is produced and the surface area covered. As you can see in the vacuum tumbler above, the 14 oz Persona® Wave Trail Vacuum Tumbler, the name and logo are digitally printed to a special film that is then adhered to the item through heat, causing the raised logo and name to stick to the product. This process is called Tru-Color and unique to this manufacturer.

On the mug, it is a similar process, a digital image is printed to a special paper and then heat wrapped to encircle the mug, a method called 4 Colour Process.

There is a lot to digest here, but when you are brainstorming what items to provide your employees, contact us or ask your Genumark Account Manager what can be personalized and how. A lot of difficult decisions need to be made during these trying times but we hope this information will help you make the right decision when it comes to developing personal items for your employees to use to help keep everyone healthy and safe.