Techniques and Materials of Deal Toy Design

Trying to come up with a creative deal toy by oneself can be a dilemma. For one, doing this can be a daunting task to no avail. Not to mention, trying to accomplish this can take away from the focus of the business. Also, facing the same predictable suggestions can be redundant and ineffective.

By Bardo333 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Overlooked Inspirations

Because of these issues, business owners/managers could do further research (as with this article) in finding greatly suggestive ideas. There are innovative ways in obtaining a more memorable deal toy, and one sure way of coming up with a more memorable deal toy is by using some overlooked sources of inspiration, such as the following:

  • Playing Off the Project/Code Name of the Deal- a customized and unique deal toy with the project or code name will resonate for years.
  • Deal Toys including Relevant Locations, especially cross-border transactions- from a Lucite deal toy with a shape of a state, country, or city to flags or other national symbols will resonate if relevant to the deal.
  • Basing the deal toy on the transaction type- it can be a Dutch auction, spin-off, swap, or others.
  • Using an Inside Joke or Bond that Resonates with the Team- this will be meaningful for years to come especially when the inside joke or bond is the focal point of the deal.
  • Highlighting the Deal’s Significance- the deal could be groundbreaking, a barrier, or record breaking, for instance.
  • Playing off the Deal’s Distinguishing Feature- for instance, if the negotiation was grueling, a 3-D display of a Sisyphus pushing a giant rock uphill and bearing the logo of the opposing party is distinguishable in showing how grueling and arduous the negotiation was.

With these inspirations and perhaps more, as one’s imagination can take him/her, the inspiration can be presented in different ways that show significance to that specific deal. The deal toy can be presented at a closing dinner, for instance, and different materials can be used in creating the deal toy.

Different Materials for Every Wish

From the classical crystal bowls and Lucite tombstones to 3-D pieces, the sky is the limit of the different materials to use for deal toys. With the traditional Lucite, it has been used since the late 19th century. It’s a classic that is a translucent and clear material. Lucite is the only material in which something can be embedded in it. Also, it’s 98 % recyclable.

The crystal is another classic in which the crystal bowl was the deal toy used back in the Gilded era. It’s now perfect for 3-D financial and etching tombstones into standard shapes. Glass and crystal are the most popular, non-Lucite gifts within the deal making industry. Other than these materials, the newer materials used for deal toys include the following:

Deal Toys in THE NEW PLASTIC – Lucite

Through the progression of technology, deal toys can be made in different types of ways with Lucite. Companies don’t have to settle for the traditional Lucite slabs with a sheet embedded with relevant details of a financial deal. Lucite deal toys can be of different shapes and designs. As a matter of fact, Lucite deal toys can now be made in custom made designs appropriate for construction, consumer retail, defense & aerospace, education, energy & power, finance, food & beverage, global, healthcare, media & entertainment, real estate & housing, sports, technology, transportation, and more. Also, some Lucite deal toys are eco-friendly.

The Effects of the Economy

Another great thing about Lucite deal toys is the fact that there is no restriction on what can be announced on them. After the crash of 1929, the federal government intervened with the Lucite tombstones which was the only type of Lucite deal toy created in that period. The Securities Act of 1933 placed strict requirements on banks in what advertisements they can run. By that time, the tombstone ad was the format that banks and other companies utilized in publicizing financial transactions, like initial public offerings.

The Lucite deal toys’ business has been booming quite well after the hardship of the Great Depression age, even though there was great anxiety in 2012. In late 2012, there was a fiscal cliff when spending cuts set in and taxes increased. However, the deal toy market started back growing as various mergers and acquisitions surged in 2013. According to the investment banking consulting and technology firm, Dealogic, the total US value in mergers and acquisitions for January and February 2013 grew 93 % in comparison to the previous year. Also, normally companies may order at least 20 Lucite deal toys for employees who were involved in the deal.

Other than that, the following are examples of how the Lucite deal toy market has gotten back on track since 2012:

  • GDN, a deal toy company located in Manhattan, stated that orders doubled in January and February 2013.
  • GDN now has deal toys’ orders for six deals that are worth $1.3 billion to over $20 billion.
  • The Corporate Presence, a deal toy company, has been having a significant growth in 2013 in orders throughout the US and abroad.
  • Refresh Creations, another deal toy company, stated that they have seen fewer orders for restructuring and bankruptcy deal toys and more orders for mergers and acquisitions.
  • Big banks still have strict budget regulations, but they are little more flexible in deal toys for some larger deals.

The Bottom Line

The deal toy business is still thriving; however, they are far from the pre-financial crisis budget or mentality. Smaller boutique firms didn’t have severe budget cuts as the big guys. These small companies utilized deal toys as branding tools and as a way to compete with bigger companies. Harsh lessons were taught from the Great Depression Age, and with certain economy fluctuations and nosedives, such as in 2008 and 2012. Therefore, there will be skepticism for some time to come when it comes to regulating budgets.

Short History of Financial Tombs

Many professionals, such as bankers and other financial pros, have been displaying plaques and other commemoratives with engravings of their big company’s deal accomplishments in their offices for ages now. These deal toys are used by the upper echelon in the financial world.

The Transformation of Deal Toys

These commemorative trinkets included objects, such as engraved clocks, crystal bowls, and silver plates. Since the Gilded age, different deal toys were displayed in these financial professionals’ offices. However, deal toys started to change in the 1950s with the introduction of easy to mold plastics. And at that time, the commemorative object market shifted toward the use of Lucite tombstones.

Lucite Tombstones

Lucite tombstones are simply tombstone looking blocks of Lucite that has a sheet embedded on it with relevant details of a huge financial transaction. These details normally were newspaper ads’ reprints on heavier paper. The tombstone ads came from Wall Street executives in papers for the announcement deals until the intervention of the federal government.
After 1929, the Securities Act of 1933 took extra limits on financial companies about the way they can promote themselves. Since then, deal toys were the kind of method that banks and other companies used in making financial transactions public.

Eventually, designers learned to embed clear and printed acetate sheets in Lucite. The Lucite was sold in the 1950s in craft kits which gave home hobbyists the ability to encase mementos in polished Lucite, and coin collectors adopted this technique soon afterwards.

New Possibilities with New Techniques

Additionally, this meant that announcements could be applied in various ways besides the miniature or paper of deal books. And furthermore, Lucite tombstones didn’t have to be a block with these new techniques. For example, the principals’ names and transaction details are able to float in thin air. They could also be various shapes and have various textual details to fit each type of design. In the 1960s, banks and law firms created Lucite that encased tombstone ads announcing new partner classes. And by the late 1960s, the financial companies started to commemorate new partner classes with the partnership announcements engraved in Lucite.

One early form of the Lucite tombstone was cut in the form of the Liberty Bell with a realistic looking crack as a finishing touch. Another early form included two brass balls that are suspended in a clear block. With such toys, it was suggested that the financiers and bankers’ ambitions could be encapsulated in forms suitable to each unique accomplishment.

How These Transformation Influenced Today

Deal toys in these types of forms work like that today. Each piece is meticulously designed in the reflection of key players, the importance and nature of a financial deal, and the essence translating into physical form. Acrylic and Lucite can be poured at room temperature; therefore, deal toys can have practically anything embedded on them. Also, these plastics can be made in tons of shapes, thus giving deal toys the ability of being chameleons. From downright traditional to the hottest design trends, the abilities are now limitless in creating deal toys.