Custom products really set your brand apart from everyone else. To me, it’s not about just slapping your logo on everything that moves, it’s about really crafting a cohesive brand identity that effortlessly moves across mediums, from digital to print. Over time, I’ve been stockpiling a list of all of the different things you can get custom-made, to enhance your brand and reach your customers better. If you want to work on designing any of these with me, please get in touch!
Wal-Mart of all places offers customizable photo blankets. The uses they’ve shown here revolve mostly around using your own family photography, but you could also upload your own pattern designs and create your own line of bedding.
Gift Wrap, Fabric, and Wallpaper
Spoonflower has long reigned king of the customizing game. I’ve designed a ton of fabric (all kinds—cotto, fleece, you name it) and gift wrap with this service, and the quality is always on point. If you don’t want to waste time designing your own DIY, they have a marketplace where you can purchase designs from members of their community as well.
A lot of companies make these today since enamel pins have become so trendy, but PinMart seems to be the best. They offer a variety of types of pins (from Die Struck to Cloisonné) and have quick turnaround times.
Books and Magazines
Blurb is the best at producing high-quality books in low-print runs. I used them to produce a run of books from my shit project in 2016. They may feel a little pricey but so worth it.
Make Playing Cards can do basically any custom order for card-shaped things you want. So, you can design the back of a deck of regular playing cards, or you could design your own tarot cards, or you could even design Atlanta-themed trading cards! The prices have all gone up recently, but they’re still pretty affordable. The nice thing about MPC is you can just order one deck at a time.
Almost any kind of apparel
Print All Over Me is this weird service I totally love that will, well, print your pattern or design all over a piece of apparel. From dresses to button-ups to socks and bags, you can be covered head to toe in palm fronds if you so choose. The prices are definitely high and I haven’t experienced the quality, but I’m guessing every piece is custom-made to order, which can hike up the cost quickly.
Boxes and Packaging
I ordered a sample kit a few months ago from Packlane and they outdid themselves—they sent me several different styles and shapes and designs, and had me so excited to design custom boxes I couldn’t even think of where to start. The quality is great, the sizing is flexible, and I love all of the different options they offer.
I usually find it tacky when a company leaves their name or logo on a custom product without permission—but I’m glad The Match Group did or else I would have never found them. They can do matchbooks and matchboxes, in a variety of shapes, sizes, and finishes. They even offer templates for each style so you know you’re getting the design just right.
You’re always grateful to have something to shield hot coffee from your hand, and you may not even think about it when you reach for some kind of weird branded coffee sleeve in the bin of your local shop. Well, if you wanted, that coffee sleeve could have your own design on it, courtesy of the fine folks at Coffee Sleeve Mojo!
Napkins with foil stamping
I came across these napkins in a shop recently with cute foil quotes on them. After hunting around, I figured out For Your Party was the company who produced them. Really nice addition to any gathering, and the online designer gives you a lot of flexibility.
Always a hit, whenever I see these pencils I like to snag as many as I can and hold them dear. You can fit up to 36 characters and the price is per 144, which means you better like what you wrote! Order some custom pencils here.
Imprinted 3-1/2″ Keytags
I know, sexy name for such a fun little piece of merch. Ever get one of these vintage keytags along with your hotel room key back in the day? You can get ’em imprinted just like you remember them, except with your own design and phrasing. They’ll be a hit!
Photo Jigsaw Puzzles
You could use a jigsaw puzzle to announce an engagement, give away at a vendor event, or even just make some for fun to surprise a friend or loved one. It could be a photo, your own artwork, or even a fun pattern! Try out your own puzzling idea here.
I wrote about playing cards up earlier in the list but later I found these super fun trading cards from Printer Studio. They look and feel much more like trading cards than the others did (even down to the halftone printer pattern in the detail) and that makes them so much more fun.
I have this weird affinity for glass mugs—I love the way light shines through when you’re drinking tea, or the way you can watch the creamer flow through coffee. Discount Mugs has a ton of different options for custom glassware, from coffee mugs to pint glasses.
No longer a bastion of frat culture, koozies can keep your beer or your LaCroix cold. They’re even great in the winter for keeping your hands warm. I hang on to all of my favorite ones, almost like a koozie museum in my house. Totally Koozies can do small minimums for pretty agreeable pricing.
If you’re like me (and Mark Zuckerberg), you cover your computer’s webcam just in case. I have a piece of tape on mine, but I remove and replace it so much that it starts to lose the stickiness. Why not instead have a small cover you can toggle on and off as much as you want?
I had a friend who used to make these by hand in high school and added her own quotes and phrases. Fancy Fortune Cookies not only does the classic shape, they can also do different flavors of cookies, gluten free, chocolate covered, and more.
Four Pack Bottle Carrier
Fantastapack makes a ton of crazy types of packaging, but the most interesting option to me was this bottle carrier – like giving out homebrew as presents? Want to spoil a friend with a ton of wine? You can customize the size, add whatever imagery you want, and design what kind of material you want (white, kraft, gloss, etc). They also do small minimums – you can get just one of your design! (although, it’ll cost you – price per item goes down the more you order, which is true of most companies like this.)
Has anyone else noticed cool socks are the new cool ties? I’ve seen so many brands creating incredible socks, from MailChimp to Slack. Sock Club is the best company I’ve worked with on custom socks, because not only do they offer a great selection of customizing options, but they even have a Sock of the Month club. I love wearing the best and most designy socks all year round.
Embroidered Eye Masks
Not exactly the cheapest option on this list (besides custom USBs, maybe), but the point of your swag should be that people hang on to it – getting custom embroidered eye masks from SilkyEyeMask on Etsy is a great way to show your customers you a. extremely care about the stuff you give away and b. have some good taste. Sweet dreams!
Coloring Books (for kids or grownups)
These coloring books are a great way to kill some time offline, whether you’re taking a break during work, commuting, or traveling. There are a lot of ways to make these books (since they’re more about the content and less about the vendor), so let’s chat about your goals and find a vendor who’s a good fit.