Merch Design Tips to Get Your Brand Noticed

Crewneck Sweater Mockup Shot In A Studio With Plants

Are you a designer? Actually, it doesn’t matter, as this article is a real-lifesaver for anyone who’s ready to make a buck with their own merch design.

Whether you’re a complete novice just starting your business or an experienced corporation, selling merchandise is just what you need: both for earning some money and for boosting your brand awareness. If you’re ready to take the plunge into this new adventure, but you have difficulty coming up with creative ideas, we’re here to give you a hand. Check out our five awesome ideas to get inspired and create a cool merch design.

1. What’s on Fleek?

To begin with the phrase “on fleek” is no longer on fleek. That is to say, these days it’s vital to keep up with the times and monitor what’s trending. Otherwise, you’ll end up creating something people no longer have an interest in.
For this reason, make sure you know what’s going on in your target audience’s lives. Check out Twitter sayings that are trending, or Google the news, as it is a good source of inspiration. Be careful though with political and social opinions because it’s easy to get a bad reputation and it’s almost impossible to win it back.
As an example, consider using trendy phrases, like it was with the word “woke” and print them on your t-shirt. It’s simple, minimalist, and catchy. This ELLE t-shirt below went viral in 2014 and made some serious waves in media. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch and Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau were only a few celebrities who joined the movement.
Elle Feminism T Shirt Design

2. It’s Not Stealing, It’s Art

There’s a blurry line between stealing, copying, and getting inspired. If you copy something without any additional or new art ideas, it’s stealing. However, as soon as you add new meaning or add some changes to the original idea, it’s regarded as art.
Let’s take a famous “Friends” font. These days there are tons of merch designs that use the “Friends” font for their own purposes. Anything can be written on a t-shirt with this font and get popular. You can even use the popular phrases from TV series or movies, add some new meaning to them, or a new design and voila, it’s a new creative idea.
Crewneck Sweater Mockup Featuring A Skater Man Against A Wall
For this reason, don’t hesitate to examine your competitors’ ideas, get inspired and create something better. As Pablo Picasso once put it, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Certainly, it’s not about stealing the idea altogether. It’s about getting inspired without reinventing the wheel.

3. Use Inside Jokes and Inclusiveness

Make your merch as personalized and customized as possible, that’s the idea. People like to feel special and be part of an inside joke. That is why you should use it to your advantage. Create a design that they can’t get anywhere else.
As a matter of fact, it’s easy these days, as the majority of bloggers have their own catchy phrases, memes, or some inside jokes related to the specific area of interest. Think of such exclusive words and images, and breathe life into them. In other words, add them to your merch design.
Heathered T Shirt Mockup Featuring A Man With Tattoos
“Don’t get upset if you don’t have any inside jokes or cool phrases. You can always use inside jokes from movies, TV series, books and play with them so that they will go well with your ideas,” says James Brown, brand manager at Legit Writing Services.
Just compare the following example of using a catchy phrase from a famous book and movie. We hope there’s no need to tell you what movie it is unless you are a muggle.

4. Humor Is Always a Good Idea

Needless to say that funny merch is always a winning idea, because who doesn’t like a good joke? For one thing, such products will appeal to various age groups as well as various audiences. For another, people like to share jokes, so your merch can become trendy really fast.
Mockup Of A Cool Woman Wearing A Crop Top Hoodie
When searching for humor ideas, make sure the joke is short and simple (and most importantly easy to understand). Some common humor topics include relationships, cats, fitness, food, work, education, tiredness, and various memes. Some may argue that humor shouldn’t hurt anyone’s sentiments or it shouldn’t be offensive. However, in that case, it’s your decision what humor to choose, as you know your target audience better. Still, our advice would be: don’t get carried away as humor is for making this world a better place, not the opposite.

5. Celebrate Events and Milestones

Finally, using events and milestones to find ideas for your merch design is like a gold mine. Birthdays, weddings, New Year’s, Easter, Comic-Con, Mother’s Day, Hanukkah, Friday Night — the list is endless. You can come up with creative ideas for any possible holiday or event.
The good thing about these types of products is that people often get more than one item. For instance, “team bride” items are popular for bridal showers and bachelorette parties. Apart from team bride t-shirts, people may also want hats or tote bags with the same design. When you get an order for these types of items, it usually includes multiple of the same item for as many people as they decide to include in their bridal party.
Bachelorette T Shirt Template With Ring Graphic
When coming up with designs, you can come up with ideas for any family member as well. Think of the types of designs you can create for a mother, father, sister, aunt, granny… You can even plunge into professions and think of professional holidays like Teachers’ Day.
Finally, there is a subcategory here that cannot be left unmentioned — pet merch design. There are cat lovers and dog lovers, as well as cat/dog haters. Just imagine how many ideas there can be using this topic!

Bonus: Where to Use Merch Designs Apart from T-Shirts

In this article, we’ve discussed merch design used for t-shirts. However, there’s more to it. Have a look at other promising products that will go perfectly well with your merch ideas.

  • Posters

Even in the digital era people still like something they can touch. Moreover, posters can be a perfect complement to interior both for homes and various cafes.

  • Stickers

Because they’re quite inexpensive to produce, and as a result affordable, lots of people can buy these. They can become a great additional present for those stationary enthusiasts.

  • Tote Bags

We all say no to plastic bags, so why don’t you create a cool tote bag that can be used for groceries as well as a good accessory.

  • Cups

Tea, coffee, cocoa lovers — can’t live without their favorite cups. That is why it would be a great idea to create merch cups as well. From coffee mug designs to travel cups, there are tons of options that can work for your audience.

Wrapping Up

Whether you have a band, you’re a musician, artist, or a social media influencer, you can offer your followers a chance to support you by purchasing one of the items you designed. We wouldn’t lie to you — coming up with ideas isn’t easy. Still, with a bit of brainstorming, we believe you can discover your ideal design that will truly stand out!
“Creating trendy t-shirt designs was such a breeze thanks to Placeit’s t-shirt design templates!”
Lilian Cao 5/5


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If you've decided to sell t-shirts online, then you'll need some stand-out t-shirt designs to start making some sales. To help you get great designs in no time, check out Placeit's t-shirt design templates! There are tons of styles to choose from, so you'll definitely find designs that make sense for your target audience and that are trendy.

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