What do you print on your merch?

Do you go for the logo or company name? Do you choose the URL? Maybe a hashtag? There are no...

Do you go for the logo or company name?

Do you choose the URL?

Maybe a hashtag?

There are no rules and there are no rigid right answers but there are plenty of options! So how do you decide what to have printed on your carefully chosen merch?

Deciding what to print on your merch

What are your options for the particular piece of branded merchandise?

The choices might be printed or engraved or on clothing printed or embroidered.

How does your brand identity lend itself to the process?

If your logo has a lot going on in terms of shapes and colours in a confined space, embroidery might not be an option. Equally, the space available on an item could have a landscape take to it that your square logo just won’t fit in without being tiny and illegible. Finally, you might have chosen an item with a certain number of print colours included in the price, it’s definitely worth thinking all this through as part of the process, let’s recap.

Ask yourself:

Is the shape of what you want to print compatible with the merchandise product?

How many colours can you print or use?

What processes are available for branding your product?

Details of the design

Colour matching your merch

From a design and identity point of view, what colour is the item? Some merchandise products can be Pantone matched so you can make sure the colour is bang on brand from water bottles and coffee cups to t-shirts.

Your logo files

Have you got your logo in a format that will work for your piece of merch? That could be your logo on a transparent background or as an EPS to make sure the file is good quality for printing. Check with your designer or us!

Make sure you own whatever artwork you send to print

We all love a meme and images of familiar faces and names but check copyright guidelines if you’re not completely sure.

Where is/are your merch print areas?

You don’t just have to print in one place, have a look at this pen from The Marketing MeetUp:

Source/Image: bravocreative

What else could you put on your merch instead of your logo?

Just like all well-executed marketing activities consider, what is your goal?

What is the message you want to share with the recipients of your merch?

Who is your target audience – is this a staff gift, new client gift or merch for an event or swag shop?

Of course, we all have to consider the budget and if you need a consistent piece that can be used across various functions of your organisation for various reasons, the goal might be brand recognition, but if you’re thinking brand building and community, have a think about these…

  1. Communicate your mission and vision through your merch – that can, of course, be reflected by the product, this might be an eco choice, a high-quality choice, a techy or funny choice, or reinforced by the message you have printed on the item. You could consider mindful messages or positive phrases, or if your brand is a bit cheeky something funny (we’ve all seen the sweary pencils right?).
  2. A Celebration – We’ve all seen limited edition 25th anniversary company gifts, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with marking an occasion with a memorable gift.
  3. Community names – often seen on t-shirts and hoodies, what are your members or community referred to as, or do they choose to refer to themselves? What is it they want to be part of? Just for fun, we found these, have you seen them all before?

We all know Taylor Swift fans are Swifties, get a load of these:

Ariana Grande: Arianators

Lady Gaga: Little Monsters (Lady Gaga is known as Mother Monster and her millions of fans are her Little Monsters!)

Cardi B’s fans are known as the Bardigang

You get the idea!

  1. Catchphrases – seen often for an audio-related brand like podcasts or TV personalities who are known for something in particular, take a look at Chris and Rosie Ramsay’s merch:

From: shaggedmarriedannoyedshop

  1. Cause-related statements – we have seen this from brands recently for raising awareness during mental health awareness week in 2023.
  2. Images and symbols – are there symbols in your brand? Think the panda in WWF or the smiley face and ‘positively lovely’ for The Marketing MeetUp.

Future proof your merch

We are thinking of zero waste. You might think about printing totes with your exhibition stand number on them – nothing wrong with that, just be mindful of the quantities you order as these won’t be as useful when the event is over. Consider making your merch evergreen. You could even create limited editions or ranges and collections of smaller quantities for special occasions, seasons or tiers of membership.

Your marketing plan

Finally, something else to consider is how this fits together with your printed, digital and other merch. Does it gel? Is the merch part of a campaign page with a particular landing page, for a specific event? Will the merch item go in a pack with printed collateral and other merch that it needs to mesh with? How do all the puzzle pieces fit together? Is there consistency? Does it make sense to the end-user or recipient?

Ultimately it’s all about what you want your merch to do. Take a look at our other articles packed with tips and advice, exploring all things merch-related to help you make smart swag choices for your brand.

Is your merch instantly recognisable as a representation of your brand?

📧 sales@initialincentives.com

☎ 02083813300

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Initial Incentives is here to help you and your team achieve your organisational goals through the power of promotional merchandise.

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