How Bespoke can Branded Merchandise be?
With so many thousands of branded merchandise options out there, we find that there’s a very ‘vanilla’ feel to the majority of what gets produced. If it appeals to you to go ‘above and beyond the ordinary’ – we would like to give you a few ideas about how something even slightly bespoke can be much, much better.
Why do we say ‘vanilla’?
Well, mainly because in general, brands are applied to standard products. The dreaded ‘Your Logo here’ approach which we insist is a massive mistake and gives nowhere near the due attention to those subtle design possibilities that add up to the big picture. The all-important final result should always be that your intended audience will use, wear, keep on their desk, drink out of… and actually be proud of the merchandise you give them.
Show your brand colours
The first thing to consider is colour. What standard colours are available that match your corporate colourways? Printing your brand on a product that’s produced in line with your brand guidelines can make for an incredibly powerful start.
This won’t just help establish your distinct brand style but broaden its appeal and impact. These Seddon notebooks, pens and travel mugs are all standard colours, but they reflect the brand’s accent colours, each one of them depicts a company value, and they look incredibly striking as a set.
And if standard colours don’t match well with your corporate brand, ask your provider what products can be Pantone® matched.
Pantone® provides a universal language of colour and is the definitive standard for brands and producers of branded products. Here is a quick list of merch products you can expect to find that most merchandise firms can Pantone® match:
• Thermal bottles
• Rope-handled carrier bags
• Packaging for your merchandise
Make notebooks amazing
Regardless of the rise of digital apps, tools and software, there is an ongoing increase in the use of notebooks. With notebooks, there are many ways to incorporate interesting, bespoke brand design features. Take this product for example; Combilift helps companies of all sizes maximise the capacity, safety and efficiency of their warehouse and storage facilities with their diverse range of forklifts and material handling solutions.
So for their branded notebook, everything from the cover colour to the debossed chequer plate pattern, the coloured page edges to the elastic strap and pen loop – even the page marker ribbons are beautifully coordinated to the brand.
A pen can be distinct too
Pens and other writing instruments account for a massive part of the branded merchandise market and judging by the growth we’re seeing, probably always will. This means that creating something with real stand-out can be difficult and bespoke clips like these give the option of something special, something that belongs to you and your brand only.
Do you know how you pick up some pens and just feel ‘this writes well’? There are hundreds of high-quality promotional pens available to you so you never need to accept inferior quality. Of course, there are pens available at every budget level and you can personalise pens in a variety of ways; for example:
• Barrel colour
• Clip style
• Button or tip colour
• Print or engraving
• Texture of barrel or grip
And it’s not always plastic pens either; metal pens come at a variety of cost levels and we advocate the concept of ‘less is more’ to ensure recipients receive something of higher value. The result is, of course, they keep it for longer, use it more often and your brand which the pen represents gets even more exposure.
We’re lucky enough to have some clients who relish the idea of how powerful taking the time to create something unique can be. Caorunn Gin in particular is one that comes to mind. For them, we produced umbrellas where the whole canopy was black, with the shaft and the ribs in a bright contrasting red. With this one it’s not so much bespoke in terms of design, the umbrella works as any other does, but what other umbrellas don’t have is this particular use of available colours that have been blended to create something that looks not only on-brand but is a real one-off.
A fascinating video about the sustainability of pens can be seen here.
Designs for a Premium Gin
We’re lucky enough to have some clients who relish the idea of how powerful taking the time to create something unique can be. Caorunn Gin in particular is one that comes to mind. For them, we produced umbrellas where the whole canopy was black, with the shaft and the ribs in their bright contrasting red.
With this one it’s not so much bespoke in terms of design, the umbrella works just as any other does, but what other umbrellas don’t have is this distinct use of available colours that have been blended to create something that looks not only on-brand but is a real one-off
Caorunn’s vacuum bottle is another iconic production, a beige-coloured vacuum drink bottle that has a digitally printed sketch of their iconic Scottish distillery. The style and detail shown in the sketch beautifully convey the antiquity of the Balmenach distillery which was established away back in 1824.
Wear it well
Where clothing’s concerned, you have an increasing number of made-to-order polo shirts and dress shirts available to suit your brand style. Subject to minimum orders, you can have coloured panels and special buttonhole edges, and you can Pantone® match. Woven labels are another special extra that will make any brand look like a global brand when they have their own label.
And when you consider embroidery, we have another blog on 8 factors that improve embroidery quality and you’ll find there are ways your garments can truly be ‘purpose-built’ for your brand, creating a style that exudes the strength of your company and its market position. When it comes to sports gear the options are often even wider because printing options often allow edge-to-edge printing in a 4-colour process.
Wrap it up
Finally, don’t forget about the opportunity your brand has to package your merchandise. Just the fact you supply an item packaged makes it so much more impressive – and there are a lot of quirky packaging styles available. You can look at a sleeve for a writing instrument, a tube for a tote bag and a box for a mug. Then when you have two or more items together you have even more reason to create a packaged set, which offers yet another level of personalisation.
When you are creating a packaged set you have the opportunity to line your box with printed tissue paper – a modestly priced premium touch.
If your aim is to create a range of merchandise that’s designed and created for you, stands out from the crowd and has that eclectic feeling, then there’s no reason not to follow your dream. It’s that sort of care and attention to detail that truly makes a brand great.
If you’re looking for some design, merchandise or packaging inspiration, why not book some time with one of our experts for an initial discussion around your requirements?