Creative Merch Ideas

This video provides ideas for creating merch that goes beyond the typical T-shirt or mug. Items like wrapping paper, textiles, pins, tattoos, and more can create unusual items that are more distinctive.

Selling Art: Tattoos, Deepti Menon
Deepti Menon

Learn about how to match specific artworks to different merch formats so you maximize the visual impact of both merch and artwork. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Lauryn Welch and Cat Huang.

Deepti Menon, Selling at Art Fairs
Deepti Menon

Video Walkthrough

  • Find out what your audience wants, take note of what artworks of yours are the most popular among your viewers.
  • Ask questions & do polls online in your Instagram stories for merch ideas among your audience.
  • A simple yes/no poll can help you determine what artwork to turn into merch.
  • Consider the dimensions of the artwork in relation to the merch item.
  • For example, a square artwork may not look great on a horizontal pencil case.
  • Go beyond “typical” merch, everybody knows about T-shirts and mugs, but there is much more out there!
  • “Unusual” merch ideas: Laser cut items like coasters & puzzles, temporary tattoos, textiles, calendars, pins & charms, wrapping paper, plush, and more.
  • Avoid the same design on too many merch items, it becomes repetitive once your customer realizes you are slapping the same design on everything.
  • Research merch platforms and find the one that works for you.
  • Consider that each platform has a “reputation” for certain types of art or merch.
  • For example, Spoon Flower is known for textiles and patterns, whereas Redbubble is more items like mugs, shirts, etc.
  • To promote merch, build anticipation on social media.
  • Printing local vs. printing online
  • Consider the merch as you create art, or, you might tweak the artwork afterwards so it fits the merch better.
  • Think twice about ordering the merch, print on demand has now made that unnecessary.
  • An art fair is a place where getting the physical merch is necessary.
Selling Your Art: Art Fairs, Deepti Menon
Deepti Menon

Artists Mentioned

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Trent’s Tips

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The huge benefit of print on demand is that you don’t need to stock inventory. Your product is only made when you actually have an order. It is a good option for higher priced products. 

For stickers, it is still hard to make the print-on-demand math work. A lot of sticker shops buy their stickers in bulk and that is why they can sell them so cheaply.

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In theory, I would like to be in that market, but I don’t want to order inventory and manually send out stickers for $1 profit. I think the reason some shops offer stickers is just to increase their sales numbers and rack up some positive reviews.

Trent is a moderator in our Discord server.

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