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Who Invented Promotional Mousepads?

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It's easy to forget how many fantastic inventions are all around us when we work in an office every day. Take, for example, the personalised computer mouse mat I use. It's essential for keeping my optical mouse operating at its peak, and because it also features wrist support, it makes my work that much easier. But have you ever wondered who invented the customised mouse mat, or even when they were invented? The answer to both might actually surprise you!

promotional mousemat in use

The History of Custom Branded Mouse Mats

While computers seem like an extremely recent invention, the first computer mouse debuted in a 1968 presentation by Douglas Engelbart (who would go on to become one of the internet's original pioneers). This OG mouse was designed to slot into the keyboard itself, so the need for a mouse mat had yet to arise. By 1969 however, a designer from the Herman Miller office furniture conglomerate, Jack Kelley, had drafted a design for a mouse mat. It wasn't until 1979 that another designer, Armando M. Fernandez, was actually written about in public, meaning Fernandez likely had the first real mass market mousepad concept which was used for Xerox brand products, but not as a general sale design.

personalised mouse mat blog

So Who Sold The First Commercial Mouse Mats?

That would be Bob McDermand's company, Moustrak, in the early 1980's. What makes this achievement even more notable is that the company didn't make its success from plain mousemats, even in the early days. Moustrak knew from the get-go that mouse mats or pads were the ideal promotional tool for businesses looking to get their logo in front of consumers. Moustrak signed deals with huge brands like Apple, LucasFilm,  and Paramount Pictures to sell unique, licensed custom mousemats featuring the Apple logo, Star Wars characters, and much, much more! These mousemats were included with computers upon sale, as well as distributed through specialty stores. Talk about a marketing success story!

branded promotional mouse mats

Why Do People Need Branded Mousepads Anyway?

When you had an old-school steel ball computer mouse, a nice fabric mousemat was perfect because it kept the ball cleaner and allowed for better tracking and accuracy of the cursor on the screen. These days we use optical mice, which don't have the burden of a ball holding them back, but there's still plenty of reasons to use a mousemat when you use them.

  1. Optical mice enhance the precision of cursor movements when used on a flat surface, making them ideal for gamers or designers. This is particularly true of older/cheaper mice.
  2. Optical mice don't work well on reflective or transparent surfaces (like polished wood, sheer plastic, or glass). If your desk is anything like this, then you'll want a mousemat to ensure you don't lose your consistent cursor tracking.
  3. The latest range of mouse pads include wireless charging elements, so you can charge your mouse while you work and never have to worry about it losing battery when you need it most.

So there you have it, mouse mats might have been around for decades, but they're still useful promotional products that people use on a daily basis -- what's not to love?

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