10 Things to Keep in Mind When Designing Custom Merchandise

Boy and girl in custom t-shirts

Custom merchandise has always been an impactful and integral part of brand sponsorships and promotions. Traditionally, custom merchandise has helped businesses express their personality, reinforce their brand message, emotionally connect with their target group, and engage with their customers.

However, with the evolution of the internet and the deep incorporation of social media in our lives, designing and selling custom merchandise is not just limited to big brands for promotions anymore. Custom merchandise is a great way for budding or established artists to earn money with their creations. So, here’s a list of points to keep in mind while designing the perfect custom merchandise:

Pick Your Niche

In this day and age, pretty much everything and everyone has an online presence. While this allows everyone to have an outlet for their artistic expression, it also means that you’ll have to fight through the noise in order to be heard.

By narrowing down on your niche, you can craft a tailor-made message perfect for your ideal audience. It’s important as an artist for you to have your niche. This is something that certainly deserves a little bit of extra time and effort on your end. It will act as a guiding light for your future decisions and allow you to make a strong impact within a small community.

Understand Your Target Audience

Remember, your merchandise is like your brand ambassador. Every time your customers use your merchandise, they are gonna remember you and your art. So your custom merchandise must be something that your target audience needs. 

Review your audience profile before finalizing products and designs. How old are your customers? What is their average income? Where do your customers live? Every little demographic detail helps.

Matching your merchandise to your audience is a surefire way to create magic!

Focus on Maximizing ROI

It’s important to have your end goal in mind throughout the design process. What do you wish to achieve by selling your custom merchandise? Do you hope to build your brand value, increase your recognition, or boost sales? It is important to address all these questions in advance.

Figure out your budget, all the places where it can be utilized, and your potential sales numbers. These metrics will truly help you define the roadmap to maximizing your returns.

Design For Utility

Choosing the right products is crucial to make an impression on people. With the right products, you can strike the emotional and functional chord with them. The best custom merchandise is products with great functional features. The more usage your customer can get out of the product, the more likely it is for your brand to stay on top of their mind. Understanding consumer demand allows you to make better business decisions.

Aim For Quality

Never choose price over quality. You might have the best designs or the best marketing campaign, but the sole thing a customer will remember is the quality of your custom merchandise. Sending out low-quality products will associate your online store with low quality as well. High-quality products that offer real value always make the strongest impression.

It is wiser to start with a small customer base but providing them products with the best possible quality. 

Ensure Harmony of Products and Designs

One important thing creators forget is that a design behaves much differently in print than it does on paper. Consider the material, shape, size, and color of the products that will carry your design in print. Be aware of graphic placements, stay away from corners, edges, and seams. Where will the design go on the shirt? Will your design align with the handle of your custom printed mug? 

Keep It Simple

Whether you are creating a customer merchandise design for marketing or selling, the golden rule remains the same, which is, keep it simple.

Overly complicated designs are difficult to read and understand, look cluttered, and it is highly probable that they cause issues in printing. Strip out any design elements that don’t need to be there. 

Grab Attention

The social media universe is crowded and noisy, so picking innovative products and designs is a great way to break through. Choose bright and appealing colors. Make it more interesting than just delivering products in a boring brown box. Include notes with each order, hold events to get customers to engage. Hold incentives for customers who share pictures of your products on their social media handles.

Ultimately, the best way to get attention with promotional items is to be creative and unique.

Plan Smartly Conceived Layouts

A poorly created logo paired with amateur prints and colors can take away from the attractiveness of a product. Boring fonts, jagged lines, and improperly placed designs send across the message that the artist/store owner does not really care enough to pay attention to detail in the making of their products.

Considering that your product quality is what mainly communicates your brand ethos, it’s imperative to plan smartly conceived layouts of your designs.

Sampling is Crucial

Do not trust digital previews of your custom merchandise. Before you finalize your designs and products, a smart move is to request one sample, to begin with. Examine all aspects of the sample that have been discussed in the article until now. If needed, make the desired changes and then, request a reprint. Often, a style that looks good on paper may lack appeal once transferred onto physical material.

 Strong custom merchandise and authentic promotional messaging engage loyal consumers and potential buyers in ways traditional businesses just cannot. Long-term usage and exposure tend to powerfully reinforce the relevance of your product and designs to the end-users.

Your custom merchandise does not necessarily have to be expensively created. It just needs deliberate and mindful planning, creativity, and the target customer groups of the merchandise.

When done right, a custom merchandising business can be used to rake in high sales and give you a platform for proper creative expression as well.