By Alex Econs, Director of ICON Printing, a supplier of fitted and ethically-sourced customised clothing for forward-thinking brands and agencies

Customised merchandise has long been a part of the marketing mix for any business. Not only does it increase brand recognition and build awareness, it can also generate sales. With the number of custom clothing brands currently out there, they now need to go above and beyond to make their design stand out. Brands want to be noticed by the customised merchandise they are producing.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your customised merchandise:

Create an awesome design

Customised merchandise is a way of exposing your brand to a new audience. Include a brilliant and creative design, and the chances are your garments will get more use and wear. Create a colourful design that will engage people and make them ask questions. Something that will stand out and generate interest.

The most successful pieces of branded merchandise are those that have a purpose but can easily fit into someone’s everyday life, especially as research finds that 87% of people keep a promotional item for more than a year1. Be it an item of clothing that easily slots into their wardrobe or a tote bag that can act as a gym or shopping bag. To customers, these branded items are just something they will wear or use; to the brand, it’s a completely organic way of exposing the brand to a wider market.

Research your options

Knowing the type of garment you want to customise is a great starting point. Being open to change is even better. It’s great to know the type and style of garment you are looking for but also to understand that different brands offer the same quality of products at different prices. If you’re working on a budget, you can still get popular, quality ring-spun t-shirts at a really good price.

The type of customisation you are looking for can also have an impact on your choice of garment. Certain materials and shapes can work better for different types of customisation. For example, Embroidery can be used on most garments from polo shirts to fleeces, whereas screen printing produces the best results on garments with a high cotton or polyester content but it can’t be used on fleeces. Let the experts guide your decision so that the finished article looks good and lasts.

Save money with fewer colours in your design

An innovative and eye catching design doesn’t need to involve lots of colours. Too many colours can sometimes take away from the pure creativity of a logo or design. When screen printing a design onto any item, every colour requires a separate screen and ink cost. The price of this can add up, so stick to one, two or three colours. This allows for enough variety within the design, but doesn’t overcomplicate it or make it look too fussy.

Stick to the product you know

As with many customised items on the market, the larger the order quantity, the less each individual item will cost. For example, if you are looking to screen print t-shirts with a design that consists of a number of different colours, you’re better to order a higher quantity due to economies of scale.

There are also advantages of reordering screen printed and embroidered items. With these types of customisation, the first run requires a one-time set up cost. If you order the same design again, you don’t need to pay this. This is great to keep in mind when re-running a successful campaign. Rather than repeating it with a new design, stick to what you know. It’s found that 66% of people can recall the brand on a promotional product received within the last 12 months1. So if the campaign has proven successful, this will also save you money.

Get the right quantity

It’s important to be aware of price breaks when ordering specific quantities of customised merchandise. Ordering a few extra products to get you over a price break can sometimes bring down the overall cost of your order by a considerable amount. Think carefully about how many items you need. If you don’t need a great number of items now but will in the future, it’s more efficient to make a larger initial order. Typical price breaks for customised merchandise are 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1,000 etc.