Some weeks ago I received an email from a company named Printed USB Drives (USB Memory Direct as of now) asking me if I was interested in trying out some of their products. I must say I never really thought about having custom printed USB drives with my name or logo but I gave it a try and I'll share my "experience".
I won't talk much about any technical stuff or go in details on the performance of the USB sticks themselves. They are USB 2.0 so not too fast but fast enough to put some pictures on it and read them. I don't see them as working tools, rather as promotional tools.
What to do?
Coming to the real question, what do I do with it and are they useful? Well, the most obvious and direct use would be to hand out pictures and projects to clients. It does not really add anything to your work but adds a professional touch and a way to differentiate yourself. As most of my work is sent online and most of the time, short articles of max 10 pictures, for me, this is not the most interesting use for the sticks.
While the company has many different and rather original forms of USB sticks, I chose the Paper Clip option which, as the name indicates, is a USB stick in the form of a paper clip. All photographers always hand loads of business cards and try to differentiate themselves with it and I like being able to clip a USB stick containing a personalized portfolio on it, depending of the person I am meeting. Even if the person can look at my portfolio online, having the USB stick with the pictures is something unusual and can make someone curious enough to have a look at it, which is, basically, the end goal.
Besides of handing out portfolio with business cards, another very useful thing I found was to include them in project submissions for galleries and art centers. Even nowadays, many galleries open their submissions only to physical paper folders and ask photographers to include CDs in the documents. Joining a USB stick, especially as a paper clip is a really original and professional looking way that adds to the general presentation of an application. Sometimes, little details can go a long way to make you stand out from others.
Yes or No?
Yes! It's not something I use every day and I consider being essential but is it useful? Yes, definitely. Just for looking different and more professional to potential clients, photo editors and galleries is more than worth it in itself in my opinion!
Printed USB Drives Website: https://www.usbmemorydirect.com/
Paper Clip USB drives I use: https://www.usbmemorydirect.com/products/paper-clip-custom-usb-flash-drives.htm