Creating effective company merchandise can be a challenging yet rewarding task. Not only does it serve as a branding tool and marketing strategy, but it can also help build a loyal customer base, and even improve employee retention. However, in order for your merchandise to be effective, it must be designed with intention and purpose. Here are JDR’s dos and don'ts to keep in mind when it comes to designing excellent company merchandise:
Do: Keep your target audience in mind
One of the most important things to consider is your target audience. Understanding your audience will help you create merchandise that they will truly value and appreciate. If you're creating merchandise for your employees, think about what they would find useful or enjoyable. For example, you might want to consider designing branded water bottles, jackets, or backpacks; essentially any item that they will get some continued use out of. This can be especially valuable if they choose to bring the item into work, as this can increase employee morale by boosting their sense of being part of a team. If you're creating merchandise for customers, consider what would appeal to them and what would make them feel valued. A customer who receives a high-quality branded umbrella or tote bag will feel much more valued than a customer who receives a low-quality anti-stress squeeze ball.
Do: make it functional
The most effective company merchandise is both visually appealing and functional. Functional merch, such as notebooks, pens, or phone chargers, not only serve a practical purpose but also help promote your brand wherever they're used. For example, if you give away branded pens that write well and look great, people are more likely to keep and use them, which means more exposure for your brand.
Do: keep it simple
Simplicity is key when creating product merchandise. A simple design can be just as impactful as a complicated one, if not more so. In many cases, a simple logo or phrase on an item can be more memorable and easier to recognize than a flashy, cluttered design. This is especially important when designing products that are expected to last and be used for a long time. Quality always comes first with company merch, and keeping a product simple is an almost guaranteed way of ensuring a high standard
Don't: compromise on brand consistency
Maintaining consistency in your branding is crucial, because if your merchandise doesn't align with your overall brand messaging and visual identity, it can cause confusion and dilute your brand's integrity. When developing merchandise, consider what colours, fonts, and design elements are most closely associated with your brand. This will help ensure that the merchandise reflects your brand personality and messaging.
Don't: create items that are outdated
It's important to create merchandise that is both relevant and timeless. Avoid items that may become dated quickly because it isn't in line with current trends or only appeals to a specific demographic; you may end up with outdated or obsolete merchandise on your hands. Instead, focus on products that will remain useful and relevant for as long as possible. However, if you do choose to create trend-locked products such as fidget spinners, please keep in mind that it could be a risky and expensive investment for your company if too much stock is bought while the product interest starts to die down.
Don't: skimp on design or materials
Cutting corners won't help you save money if no-one likes the products. By failing to invest in quality materials, you risk creating merchandise that breaks, doesn't work, or needs to be replaced— which will have the opposite of the intended effect. And by skimping on design, you risk creating merchandise that is visually underwhelming, unappealing, or irrelevant. High-quality materials and thoughtful design will pay dividends in terms of effectiveness, usage, and exposure for your brand.
Designing effective company merchandise may sound challenging, but it doesn't have to be. By keeping these dos and don'ts in mind, you'll create items that serve both a visual and practical purpose. Remember that high-quality, consistent, and functional designs are essential for merchandise that truly reflects your brand values and messaging. If you’d like any assistance or inspiration for your own branded merchandise, we offer excellent merchandising services, perfectly tailoring each product to your business and customers. Feel free to send us an enquiry or browse our selection of promotional products.