Commemorative design: Any ideas?

So, say your boss asks you to come up with a creative idea for a commemorative gift to give to a client after an especially gruelling engagement. This gift would feature the names and logos of the three companies who were involved in the project, as well as the logo of the company that facilitated this project, namely, mine. Lastly, the size of the group to whom this gift will be awarded will be indirectly proportional to its price; in other words, the pricier the gift, the smaller the group.

Apart from that, I see a lot of white space out there. This area is filled with cheap crap that betrays just how meaningless the gift-giving tradition has become. There has to be something good in there somewhere, and I need your help to find it.

What are your first thoughts? I’d like try to think out of the box on this one. So many of these things become desk clutter after the initial half-hearted “surprise” of the award has subsided, maybe there’s a creative way to make sure it remains a conversation starter.

Any help, thoughts or even links to previous work would be appreciated.

Thanks everyone!

It’s a good question. The entire area of corporate/promotional gifts is uniformly dull. Ideas I’ve done, received, heard of:

  1. Binoculars, printed with logos. Surprisingly appreciated and useful.
  2. Wine, custom labeled. Japanese seem to swoon over this.
  3. Custom commissioned ceramic art vase.

The most involved commemorative gift I did was recreate a product design in Lego, miniature replica, and gave out kits. Indeed, it became desk clutter, but cool desk clutter. It was alot of effort to redesign the design in Lego, acquire all the pieces, put them together and package each kit. Probably I won’t do this again because of the effort.

I have also made a project scrapbook: scan every sketch, CAD printouts, presentation renderings and bind it nicely. Executives, managers seem to go happy-crazy when they see all the sketches. Also, as it’s a DIY, I would personalize each one with name/title/infamous quote from project meeting.

I like that last idea, and it’s more practical now that there are companies that can bind and ‘publish’ in very small quantities the contents of a blog or collection of type and images. This is one, there are others:

Thanks for the ideas Pier. I particularly like the binoculars, mostly because one can slap on the clever “vision” metaphor to an especially brave undertaking.

To give you an idea of just how stale this area has become, check out this site. As grotesque as it all seems, you have to admit it does speed up the process, doesn’t it? I mean, just think back to the extra efforts those Lego gifts or the scrapbook idea represented, and doesn’t just picking some random lucite block and slapping on some corporate logo sound like a dream?

But that’s the point. Lucite is the fast food of the gift industry: easy and convenient, but empty and without lasting value.

You gave me something to think about Pier. I’m even more convinced that there’s really something to be found in all this. I swear, if I end up slapping a logo on a lucite plaque, someone smother me with a pillow!

I was involved in a similar project a while ago and we sent really nice tea cups and saucers. We have also sent watches several times. Both seemed to be appreciated.

If the project was design related, why not send something designerly?
Buy a cool clock or whatever from the MoMA store, or (cheaper) Chiasso?

I really like the portfolio idea above, how about a framed poster with a single image and the signatures of all involved?

I think CG’s idea for the signed piece is really good.