One of the best attributes of well-done promo merch is how the product can help the recipient feel emotionally connected to the brand. In order to best capitalize on this, we need to look at the two basic components of promo merch: the product and the artwork that goes on it.
Frequently, a lot of time is spent picking out the right product for a project or campaign. And while that is a worthwhile effort, what often adds value to the product is the artwork, as it can create emotional connections for the person receiving the item. What makes promo merch unique is the artwork; without artwork, it is just a product.
A good way to make sure your promo merch stands out and is appreciated is to focus just as much time and effort into the creation of the artwork going on the product as into choosing the product. This is where creativity, unique decoration methods and use of emotional-connecting imagery makes the product come to life and truly reflective of your brand. The product becomes treasured by your targeted recipients since it is more unique to them, thus increasing the long term use and appreciation.
Amy Pearson, Magellan Senior Graphic Designer, says when thinking about the artwork you will place on your promo item, one strategy to create impactful artwork is to think about what is unique about your campus, business or surrounding area. Are there iconic landmarks, images or buildings? Maybe you are near mountains or lakes that everyone associates with the area. What emotions do you want the recipients to have when seeing the artwork? If you are giving an item to an alum of a college, will there be a warm or fond memory when receiving the item? “The objective is to make it memorable,” says Amy.
In addition, when picking out products consider the following:
- Imprint area – The larger the imprint area on the product, the more opportunity there is to create a memorable and visible impression.
- Marketing card availability – There are a growing number of products that can include a marketing/backing card with the product. These marketing cards allow further opportunities to pass on messaging and add to the receipt experience. Examples of products that have backer cards include lapel pins and adhesive embroidered patches.
- Product color – When picking a product, consider what colors are available for that item and what will work best with the logos and branding. The product color can really make artwork pop and make the whole look cohesive.
At Magellan we have worked on many fun and unique projects that demonstrate the creative artwork that accentuated the product and enhanced gratitude. Here are a few examples:
University of Richmond Thank You Socks – The University of Richmond Annual Giving team leaned into using unique artwork for their annual kickoff campaign that featured an iconic spot on campus with illustrations of a gazebo and ducks. This artwork was included on all parts of the package that donors received, including the full color mailing envelope, thank you card insert and socks. The socks also subtly included their spider mascot on the bottom of the socks. While the artwork was not traditional University of Richmond colors and logos, it uniquely resonated with their donors as a reminder of their campus experience, thus becoming a cherished piece. And the result was a 25% increase in donors compared to the kickoff campaign the previous year!
Titus Talent Strategies – When Titus hosted an event for clients to help build houses in Mexico, they wanted to include promo merch that was useful and appreciated by attendees. They selected various items that would not only be useful on the trip (hat, passport cover, jacket, fanny pack and water bottle), but would continue to be used afterwards as well. Normally utilizing the Titus logo, the team took a different approach by incorporating Live to Give artwork, which was specific to this unique event and served as a reminder of this rewarding experience shared by many.
University of Missouri Alumni Association – For Mizzou’s Alumni Association membership campaign,they developed the theme: “Our Members Make Us Happy Campers!” and selected the perfect promo item to tie everything together: the camper mug. Instead of using the standard school logo for the artwork on the mug, they leaned into their fun campaign camping theme. This took a playful approach, creating a unique product that provided emotional connections and a longtime momento.
Thinking about artwork for your promo merch ahead of time will pay off with a better design and happy recipients! And if you don’t have a graphic designer or art team, turn to Magellan Promotions Graphic Design services to help make your project into something exceptional!