Here’s What’s Trending: Soft-Touch Rubberized Finishes


The promo products category is the one and only advertising medium that allows people to get in touch—literally—with a company brand, logo, or message. That’s why unique tactile experiences like product finishes can add an extra level of differentiation from one promo product to the next, for a truly one-of-a-kind advertising experience. From texturized to polished to satin, there are a number of product finishes that you can choose from when selecting promotional products, including those found on cost-effective and high-use items like pens.

While each product finish offers its own set of benefits and appeal, there is a product finish that has been getting a lot of attention lately. It tends to stand out a bit more, turn heads a little more often, and make people ask time and again: “Why does this product feel so different?”

We’re talking about the increasingly popular soft-touch rubberized finish that can be found on dozens of plastic and metal writing instruments.

Product trend: soft-touch rubberized finishes on promotional pens.

What Creates a Soft-Touch Pen

After product components are molded, the pen is painted or electroplated for its desired product color. Next, a clear soft-touch rubberized spray is applied only to those parts of the pen or item that is intended to have a soft-touch effect. This process allows for a combination of textures and finishes to be presented on the same item.

Select product components of this metal ballpoint pen received an application of the clear rubberized spray, leaving the chrome accents, trim, and clip unaffected. Ellipse Softy with Stylus (item #LNS-C).
All product components of this plastic ballpoint pen received an application of the clear rubberized spray, coating the entire pen from trim to plunger. Scripps Softy (item #PVH).

The soft-touch finish offers a whole new level of creativity in product design, by providing a grip-like texture to a hard surface material without the need of manufacturing a second grip made from a silicone or rubber.

Customizing Soft-Touch Products

What’s great about soft-touch products is that regardless of the starting material (plastic or metal), products can be customized through a variety of decoration processes. From silkscreen to laser engraving to full-color imprints, you and your customers have a number of options to choose from when it comes to selecting the soft-touch product and decoration method that’s right for them. And with the wide success of soft-touch rubberized writing instruments, it’s no surprise that this product feature can be found in more product categories like mini light-ups and flashlight keyrings, and has even been incorporated into ‘softy’ gift sets.

Chroma Softy – LED Flashlight Keyring with a full-color imprint (item #LHY-C).
Chroma Softy – LED Flashlight Keyring with a silver laser engraving (item #LHY).

The Soft-Touch Effect

A soft-touch product finish not only provides a soft-feel or rubberized texture when physically held, but it also affects how the item reflects light and is visualized, giving it a significantly softer, matte appearance.

This Vivano Softy multifunction pen with stylus (item #LNH-C) features a full-color imprint on a soft-touch, matte pen cap.
This Vivano Duo multifunction pen with stylus (item #LWF-C) features a full-color imprint on a polished, glossy pen cap.


“I advise my clients to always look for things that make your promo [product] different. Which is especially important for trade shows where there could be 10 booths offering a similar giveaway.” –Len M.

Virtual Design Boards
If you’re interested in seeing how a customer’s artwork would look on a soft-touch rubberized product, email our team at and request a free virtual mock-up.

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