Making a Great Deal Toy

Deal toys have been around for more than 50 years. They go by many names: corporate gifts, mementos, tombstones, and awards. You probably have one on your desk, or near by on a shelf. At the very least your boss has one, or many. They are milestones, artifacts, bragging rights. There are deal toys to represent the most important financial deals in history. Mergers like Bristol Myers Squibb and Celgene, Dow and Dupont, and AOL and Time Warner. Debt deals like Kinder Morgan and Clear Channel. IPOs like Google, Goldman Sachs and SoftBank Group. They all have one thing in common aside from financial significance, they all have deal toys. So what makes a great deal toy?

The Process

Deal toys vary in material, shape, size and complexity. In general they display transaction details, and focus on the company or industry involved. For the past 10 years Buttonwood has been creating the most creative deal toys in the industry. We have a great team: experienced, creative, well trained and dedicated. We have a process that makes the journey painless, and more importantly fun. It goes like this:

  1. Design Brief After initial contact we start with understanding the project and the target business. We get a good overview, goals, objectives, requirements, budget and schedule. We inquire about and encourage creative input. This gives us a source of truth to fall back on.
  2. Research Using the brief we conduct research focusing on the target, the industry, it’s history and competitors. We research key products, themes and branding. We make observations and develop insights. We do this as individuals and as teams.
  3. Brainstorming Once the research is conducted we come up with as many relevant ideas as possible in a set amount of time. We do this as individuals and as teams.
  4. Design refinement Once we have our ideas, we thin the pack. We cull the herd. Brutally if needs be. We settle on 4 designs and refine them digitally for presentation.
  5. Presentation With clear focus and solid ideas we present our designs to the client. Fresh shiny and in high quality 3D.
  6. Revisions Sometimes we need a tweak here and there. Sometime we need to go back to the drawing board. It happens. Rinse and repeat. A solution is out there and we will find it, intelligently.
  7. Prototype To understand material, scale, and proportion we produce real, tactile samples you can holding your hands. Digital is also an option. We can provide 360 degree views in detail.
  8. Approval / Delivery Final steps, almost there. We review all project details, help you line up internal requisite approvals, and then we move to final order production and delivery. In the end we know how to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.

The Devil is in the Details

We covered the process, now let’s get into the details. This is the fun part, the stuff that makes a deal toy unique and special. All deal toys are different by nature. However they are all made-up of a combination of the following things in varying levels of complexity.

On most images below tombstones have been removed to highlight specific design elements.

Tombstones The “Tombstone” is the transaction details, usually branded and formatted specifically for our clients. From our Lexicon, “Formal printed notice that announces and gives basic details of important financial transactions made by investment banks, real estate and law firms. Examples include: Initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, debt deals, bankruptcies, etc.”

What are you made of?

Black marble base with custom crystal, Custom pewter on clear lucite with black Plexiglas, Log cross section with cut Plexiglas.

There are so many material choices. Crystal, lucite, plexi, wood, metal, resin, aluminum. Materials can make all the difference. Crystal is elegant. Lucite is versatile. Wood is classic. Aluminum has an edgy look. You get the idea. Choose wisely. Our team can help. More on materials in the Buttonwood Lexicon.

Flying Solo

Cut crystal with artwork at back, Faceted Crystal with 3D etching, Custom aluminum

There is something stately about a free standing deal toy. Transparent or opaque, it has substance. It makes a statement with simplicity. They can have inner etched details, color artwork or nothing at all. In the end it’s about presence.

Can you feel the base?

Base with artwork on bottom, Base with mini cars, Wedge base with custom artwork on top

Thick base, thin base, wedge base, shaped base. There are a ton of choices to consider depending on budget. Bases can hold all sorts of things. Sourced objects like replicas. Rectangles, circles, custom shapes. You can put the tombstone directly on the base, or usually on whatever is on top.

Strength in Numbers

Crystals on base, Layered black crystal on base, Crystals on base.

The more the merrier. Having multiple pieces on a base can make a strong impression. Whether equal size, one small on big, layered or custom cut. Your budget is your only limitation.

It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts

Embedded Pewter Plane, 3D etched truck, 3D etched forklift

Clear materials mean you can play with illusion. Embedments in acrylic. Inner etchings and sandwich pieces with crystal. Color refractions too. Ask our experts what works best for your project.

Big Time

3D printed golfer, Various pewter pieces on custom base, Custom pewter statue

If the sky truly is the limit, we can do some really amazing stuff. Metal, pewter, multiple pieces, spinners, detailed product replicas, you name it. We have done a lot of detailed, custom work. If we haven’t tried it, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We will stretch to the limits of a given budget to make your dream a reality. Give us a call we’d love to have a conversation about your ideas.

Buttonwood has been at this for almost 11 years. We love making deal toys. We have multiple team members with over 20 years of experience in the industry. We know the ins and outs, the ups and downs. Give us a call we would love to hear from you.